Rodge Glass is the Glasgow based author of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Dougie’s War, which deals with a Scottish soldier returning from Afghanistan who faces his own very personal battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With his upcoming Edinburgh Book Festival discussion about War and Comics, I thought I’d catch up with him and discuss the making of Dougie’s War.
‘Dougie’s War’ is your first graphic novel. How did the project come about, and why did you decide to use the comics form?
Adrian Searle approached me with the idea. He is Head of Freight, a really smart graphic design company who have moved into publishing recently with Freight Books. Adrian gave me my first publication in 2004 and he’s supported my work ever since. He was working with various charities to build awareness of issues to do with PTSD and noticed that in my second novel, Hope for Newborns, the main characters were three generations of an army family where there was a great deal of inner mental conflict. In that book there was an unclear sense of who the goodies and the baddies were. Also, a struggle which was really more about the war after the war, rather than the war itself. So he asked me to write Dougie. At the time I’d just finished a huge draining project, Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography and wanted a complete change. Also, I wanted an excuse to read comics and throw myself into another world. I’m glad I did.