I have enjoyed a lot of the historical comics that have been published over the last decade immensely, whether it is Mary and Bryan Talbot's graphic novels about the French revolutionary Louise Michel, or Kate Evans' book about the Polish-German communist Rosa Luxembourg, or even the late, great Spain Rodriguez's graphic autobiography of the Argentine revolutionary, and honorary Cuban, Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
What more could a former bookseller, whose principle published comics have been a series of short strips consisting mainly of gags aimed at Scottish stoners a decade ago, possibly add to magnificent illustrated tomes of this nature? After all, there are many (non-illustrated) books about these revolutionaries and others in the English language.
If you have looked at this blog before you will know that I have a particular fascination with uncovering art (including comics, music and film) that lies outside the mainstream of western culture. The Cold War years certainly shut us off from a lot of art and culture which only cheaper travel and the Internet has made (theoretically) more accessible. Yet despite being able to travel freely to countries of the former Soviet Union for thirty years, most people in the west remain oblivious of the culture of the east, effectively shut out by the invisible barriers of language. Add to this the fact that if the entire culture of a civilisation is routinely written off for by western pundits and historians as mere propaganda for a century, you create a situation in which people in the west aren't even aware of what they are missing.
The first installment of Going East is about a Canadian musician who emigrated to East Germany, and seems to remain completely unknown in Canada and the wider western world because he sang in German and any books that have been written about him are only published in German. I hope it inspires some people to find out more art they may have missed out on. I assure you, its the merest tip of the iceberg.