C’était la Guerre des Tranchées /It Was the War of the Trenches (1993) is a French ‘comic’ book written and illustrated by Jacques Tardi and dedicated to his grandfather who fought ‘in the trenches’ (a French euphemism to talk about the First World War). The book is an accurate depiction of the life on both sides of the Western Front, recounted through a multitude of mainly French soldiers’ letters, and is well known for its graphic representation of WW1.
“They’re shooting men… This is normal, because it’s the war of the trenches which has been going on for three years now… …the most surprising is that there are still traces of life left in these holes, with all so many shells they’re dropping on so little ground.
Those men have dug trenches, made shelters in the earth and learned to live in the mud like rats. These ones are French. Facing them, it’s the same thing, but the trenches are better organized because they are German. The French say ‘les Boches’ when talking about their enemies, out of contempt, hatred, or perhaps stupidity, because this is indeed what this is about about when one is talking about war.”
It was made of shiny, bright pink plastic with a Little Mermaid sticker on the front, and I carried it with me nearly every single day. My lunch box was one of my first prized possessions, a proud statement to everyone in my kindergarten bubble: “I love Ariel.”
(Oh, and it held my sandwich too.)
That clunky container served me well through first and second grade, until the live-action version of 101 Dalmatians hit theaters, and I needed — needed — the newest red plastic box with Pongo and Perdita on the front.
I know I’m not alone here — I bet you loved your first lunch box, too.
Lunch boxes have been connecting kids to cartoons and TV shows and superheros for decades. But it wasn’t always that way.