When the Wind Blows

Publisher: Penguin

Review

Set in the 1980s, Jim and Hilda Bloggs are your typical couple, of later years, living in rural England.

When warned of a nuclear strike, they return to a 'wartime spirit': storing water, building shelters and painting windows white. Surely if they keep calm and carry on following government guidelines, everything will be all right in the end?

This graphic novel is an important social and historical document, which - although of its time - still gives us pause over the ethics and efficacy of nuclear weapons.

However, it is not for the faint-hearted. The ending gives a sucker punch that some younger readers may not feel ready to process.

The powerful effect is testament to Raymond Briggs' words and visuals.

Jim and Hilda's affectionate banter is completely believable. Their long marriage is drawn perfectly with small, warm panels, crammed into the page and bursting with life.

This makes it all the more heartbreaking when the bomb intrudes on their existence, in double-page spreads. It's even more horrifying when the couple's faces, and home, get gradually bleached of their colour and cheer.

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