Jonas Madden-Connor

Ink Paper Thought

Grave Wounds

Los Angeles-based graphic designer and cartoonist Jonas Madden-Connor is working on the graphic novel Grave Wounds. The work entails a pulpy vampire story that also deals with race relations in the United States and the author’s own search for an artistic voice.

Jonas Madden-Connor

Jonas Madden-Connor

Madden-Connor presented the novel’s first chapter at the Forecast Forum in June, 2019; the second chapter will be unveiled at the Forecast Festival in April 2020.

Set in Europe during World War II, the story’s protagonist is an African-American GI, Private Oscar Dewcrott. He’s plotting to desert the service. He’s heard about other African-American GIs who made it, and he thinks he could also run away, perhaps to recently liberated France. As a black man in America, what future does he have at home? He feels sick when he imagines the end of the war, which seems nearer every day. His chance comes when his squad is separated from their main unit and lost in a backwater village that’s not on their map.

Jonas Madden-Connor at the fourth Forecast Forum, Berlin 2019. Photo: Camille Blake
Jonas Madden-Connor at the fourth Forecast Forum, Berlin 2019. Photo: Camille Blake

Before he can make his escape, Oscar and his squad stumble onto a German army battalion in the woods. A battle ensues, and everyone on both sides is killed except Oscar and a German soldier, Emil Haas. The two awake side by side in a room in a castle, to which they’ve been brought to recuperate. When the two men discover that their hostess is a vampire, they must work together to escape.

“I love the subtle complexity and patient storytelling in Madden-Connor’s work,” said Anders Nilson, who is mentoring Madden-Connor. “I’m excited to accompany him over the next nine months as his work unfolds into a finished book.”

Ink Paper Thought: mentor Anders Nilsen and mentee Jonas Madden-Connor

In early November 2019, the two met in New York for a condensed work-stay, hosted by Karen Green, Curator for Comics and Cartoons at the Butler Library, Columbia University. There, they also had access to the rare book and manuscripts archives as they discussed the further treatment of the novel’s plot.

Don’t miss Grave Wounds as webcomic.