Peter Eickmeyer and Gaby von Borstel

It’s Still Quiet... An article about a new graphic novel based on "All Quiet on The Western Front"

Posted on centenarynews.com on 21 September 2014
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The legacy of one of the First World War’s best known pieces of literature has been re-imagined in a stark new way. Article by CN writer Christopher J Harvie.

Becoming available in May, 2014, a graphic novel based on the classic anti-war book “All Quiet on the Western Front” has already sold through its first printing and was being issued in its second edition within its initial three months of release. The book was arranged by and features the artwork of Peter Eickmeyer; his earthy watercolours bring a soulful depth and are a vivid visual companion to the famous story. It had long been Herr Eickmeyer’s goal to bring his artistic and graphic design skills to an interpretation of the novel, and was supported in this venture by the institute which bears the name of the author of “All Quiet.”

Remarque Peace Centre

The Remarque Freidenzentrum (Remarque Peace Centre) opened in 1996, a joint venture of the University and city of Osnabrück with funding from the Foundation of Lower Saxony. The Centre contains a permanent exhibit dedicated to the life and work of Erich Maria Remarque who was born in Osnabrück in 1898 and gained international renown for his novel of WWI which was first published in 1928. With permanent and travelling exhibits coupled with archives designed for access by academics and laypersons both, the Remarque Centre is in full support of school projects and education towards cultural peace research and peace mediation.

The Centre’s Director, Dr Thomas Schneider informed me of the plans to reflect upon the centenary. “Until September 21,” he stated in an email, “we have an exhibition on the genesis, publication and discussion of ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ in the Weimar Republic in 1928/1929, presenting for the first time, the entire manuscript of the novel. Starting September 25 we will present an art project by Frank Wolf and Harald Reusmann on propaganda material of the First World War such as postcards, posters.” 

The Centre has also published a revised edition of the novel, with commentary in 2013. In March of 2014 new editions of Remarque’s other works were released, including “another version of ‘All Quiet’ with an extensive material appendix on the genesis and publication of the novel.” The Centre also organises and participates in several seminars of WWI and the media.

Success

Herr Eickmeyer, also from Osnabrück, who collaborated on the graphic novelisation with his wife, Gaby von Borstel, has had a great amount of success so far in the release of the book in Germany. Public readings, book signings and exhibits of the original artworks all helped in its terrific reception. In June it was named “book of the month” by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR, ‘North German Broadcasting’). I was informed through an email interview that “There are plans for our graphic novel to be translated in other languages” including English, but this had not been negotiated as yet with any UK publishers.

Show on the Road

An exhibit, installed by Herr Eickmeyer himself of his watercolours opened in San Francisco, California on the 22nd of August at the city’s Goethe-Institut. It is scheduled to be part of the “extensive cultural program around ‘100 years of the First World War’” until September the 22nd. Plans for further exhibitions in North America are in the works, but have not been finalised. Herr Eickmeyer informed me that this coming November his art will be displayed in the Albstadt Gallery in Germany which also holds the largest collection of works by Otto Dix; perhaps the best known German artist of WWI. It is easy to see the profound influence of Dix’s art within Eickmeyer’s and the two collections would compliment each other well.

In 2015 there will be further exhibits throughout Germany and at Aix en Provence in France.  As yet, no announcement has been made on UK installations.

Image from the book (with permission of the artist):