The forms taken up by French comics in the Offenstadt brothers' wartime weeklies echo other representations of the Great War produced behind the front lines, including the music hall, popular imagery and illustrated newspapers. The Offenstadt brothers' picture stories, which staged comic operas starring soldiers and conformed to French propaganda instructions, were a hit with soldiers and civilians (including children), aside from some offended Catholic critics. This essay contextualises their success, focusing on the reception of the comics, particularly those by Louis Forton.
In the early 1580s religious propaganda was used extensively and
ferociously to inform (or misinform) that sector of the English public
that had access to such works about events involving a number of
Catholic priests and sympathisers and their opponents. This period
saw a major episode of crisis over counter-Reformation Catholicism,
exemplified by the mission to England headed by Edmund Campion,
and the consequent arrest, torture, trial and execution of Campion
and his associates. Numerous texts were produced from a variety of
perspectives to intervene in the representation of these men, their
motives, the treatment they received, and the danger they may or may
not have posed to Protestant England. The propagandist texts with
which I am concerned range across the various possible positions on
these and other Catholic priests.