Historian examines father’s unique artwork

Published 8:46 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023

A child’s imagination can provide a fascinating window to the world. 

So says author Michael Kugler, a professor of history at Northwestern College in Iowa for almost thirty years. Kugler has been studying drawings made by his father in Nebraska while growing up during World War Two.

Sometime before and during high school in small town Nebraska, Michael’s dad Jimmy Kugler (1932-1969) drew over a hundred double-sided sheets of comic strip storytelling. He depicted humanoid animals, “Frogs”, fighting an alternative Pacific War, facing monstrous winged criminals, and generally engaged in darkly humorous mayhem.

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This year, historian Kugler published a book about his father’s artwork, including the original comics as well as historical analysis, entitled “Into the Jungle!: A Boy’s Comic Strip History of World War II.”

The book provides a unique perspective from multiple viewpoints, according to Kugler, including comics, art, child development, popular culture and propaganda and film during World War Two. 

Kugler will speak about his book at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26, in Hull 132 on Longwood University’s campus. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing by the author. 

The program is sponsored by Longwood’s Greenwood Library and the Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy.

For more information, contact Natalie Browning, Greenwood Library, at 434-395-2447.