Fanbase Press Interviews Jonathan Sandler on the Recent Release of the Graphic Novel, ‘The English GI’

The following is an interview with Jonathan Sandler regarding the recent release of the graphic novel, The English GI. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Sandler about the shared creative approach to bringing the story to life, what he hopes that readers will take away from the story, and more!



Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of The English GI!  For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the adaptation’s premise, and what (or who) was its inspiration?
Jonathan Sandler: During the COVID lockdown, I was watching a World War II documentary with my children, who were very curious about what they saw. They started asking questions about how the war had affected our family. I was able to tell them that my paternal grandfather had written his wartime memoirs; his story had been sitting on the shelf for quite some time. I then started reimagining some of the scenes he described so vividly in the book. As I’ve always had a passion for graphic novels — and long have had a dream of creating my own one day — I decided to seize the moment. Thus began the journey of turning this at once intimate and momentous story into a graphic novel — now a visual frame-by-frame account, albeit in a condensed format, of his dramatic World War II story.
My grandfather had a unique World War II experience. He was stranded as an English schoolboy in New York at the outbreak of war. He ended up serving in the US Army as an English Jew. I really wanted the story to be retold.

BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artist Brian Bicknell to bring this story to life?

JS:  This was a joint creation. I mocked up every scene and even drew it out myself so I could understand what Brian needed to do. I used images found online from the era to help inspire me. I very much wanted details such as the signs' lettering from the era to give it authenticity.

In particular, I really wanted to evoke the atmosphere of 1940s New York.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums.  How do you feel that your grandfather’s story will connect with and impact readers?

JS: Hopefully, readers of the book can step into my grandfather’s shoes and his experiences in a world that is now gone; from being footloose and fancy free in 1940s New York, to basic training as a General Infantryman and his harrowing experiences as a member of the 26th Infantry of the US Army in France.

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

JS: I have an idea for another World War II story, but it will be some time. I am now enjoying reading other people's work.

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The English GI and your other work?

JS: It is available on Amazon and my website.

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