(A main character on his way to join the main ensemble of characters in of the story)
One of my main plans for the continuation of my comic is to introduce the character Riley, the newest member to join the recon squad Warbeast Battlefront. In comparison to the rest of the main characters of the story, Riley is inexperienced with war among many other young recruits, he has been suckered in by exaggerated propaganda that puts more focus on glorifying the victorious side of becoming a soldier and demonising the enemy as much as possible. This is where I intend exaggerate how classic war propaganda can influence people in the wrong ways, such as portraying the enemy as a villainous cartoon when in reality countless opposing soldiers can be just as humane as everyone else. Yet portraying them in this manner supposedly gives more encouragement to join the military to protect your country. In the case of Riley, he believes that the alien force known as the Xikaeda are inferior savage monsters that want to threaten humanity’s way of life and that they are superior in every way thanks to the latest technology and weaponry that the military has to offer. In reality though no one knows that the majority of Xikaeda soldiers have been sent to fight against their own will.
Since this is a graphic novel, I decided to show how this influences young men to join the military by illustrating a mock propaganda poster to join the military, followed by a series of pages introducing Riley as he embarks on his first day as a new recruit where he briefly meets an amputee soldier just before he joins his own squad, along with other amputees and shell-shock victims who are to be sent home. To create this mock poster I decided to take inspiration from a mixture of existing war propaganda posters and sources that satirises it:
By today’s standards posters like these would be considered over the top and offensive to some but the time period that the story is set in a retro futuristic world that takes influences from WW1 to post-WW2, the stereotypical war propaganda posters from these times happens to be one of them.
However instead of creating a mock poster to demonise a country, it will instead demonise the fictional Xikaeda Plague. Yet at the same time due to the growing trend of internationalism in this story, the posters also glorify unity of multiple nations to create a superior military force.
By exaggerating these traits for a mock propaganda poster I also intend it to reflect on the opinion that “war makes fascists out of all of us.” In the case of the world of Obliteration, instead of a fascist nation we have a fascist planet that’s been influenced by the government to think with this arrogant mind set to simply encourage as many people as possible to join the military.
Later in the story, these influences on Riley make him learn the hard way that the Xikaeda should not be underestimated and his new squad mates, who have learnt to not be easily influenced by this teach him to respect your enemy regardless, before they take advantage of your arrogance on the battlefield.
On a personal note, my take as an aspiring designer is to question how you want to influence people who view your work.