The Invisible War

An interview with ‘The Invisible War’ reader, Cassia Stol (age 12)

How would you describe 'The Invisible War' to someone who had not seen or read it?

It’s a graphic novel about a woman from WWI. She is a nurse to all the injured war victims in a hospital, but the real story is about the war inside her body, as there were many diseases and infections you could contract. Funny and intelligent, this comic is for all ages.

What did you learn about history from reading 'The Invisible War' ?

Both nurses and soldiers had it really hard back then, the nurses had so many injuries to tend to, and most had brothers fighting and the soldiers saw so much death of friends, brothers and comrades.

What did you learn about science from reading 'The Invisible War'?

The body works in so many amazing and wonderful ways, and they have so many different ways of defending us from the billions of bad bacteria and disease.

What did you learn about women in 1916 from reading 'The Invisible War' ?

They were slightly discriminated, in the fact that they weren’t allowed to be doctors, even though they would probably do an amazing job. They were also expected to do all the making of beds, sweeping, etc.

Who are the micro-heroes of 'The Invisible War'?

The tiny viral heroes are the centre of the story, while the battle on the outside is happening, the one on the inside is just as fierce. They fight, they conquer. These little guys are amazing and the creators make it incredibly fun.

Do you think differently bacteria or viruses after reading The Invisible War?

You will walk away from this book knowing a whole lot more about your body, and the things inside it. To think that there are trillions of little soldiers living inside you is awesome.

How is reading a graphic novel about WWI and microbiology different to reading a text book about these topics ?

This graphic novel is fun and exciting, while really educational. It teaches you how similar the fight on the inside and outside really are, and is a really great read. Loved it.  

Who should read 'The Invisible War'?

Everyone and anyone, but I really think it would blow the mind of any science-loving nerd.

Have you read the reference section at the back of 'The Invisible War'?

Yes. The real-life pictures at the back show you just how real it is, all the while letting you relate to the little bits and pieces that are based off the real deal.

Can you comment on the ending of the story?

 I think the ending was very real and a bit sad, it really puts into perspective the anterior life we live.

 Please write any other thoughts about your experience reading 'The Invisible War'.

 I really loved this book -  it’s a mixture of history, anatomy, microbiology put all together and made interesting and AMAZING!

What people have been saying about The Invisible War...

Set on the macroscopic and microscopic level, The Invisible War is a revolutionary approach to cross-curricular learning (science & history)...and contains a wealth of extension material.”

Judges Report from the 2017 Australian Educational Publishing Awards (awarded Most Outstanding Resource of the Year)

“A candidate for the first truly modern, 21st century graphic novel”

Dorion Sagan, author

“What a great way to learn some pretty extensive science”

David Suzuki, scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster

A “touching, harrowing story ...rivetingly interesting”

Ian Warden, The Canberra Times

"I found it strikingly original and surprisingly riveting, and though the yuck factor is high, that's exactly what will draw children in to learn about both World War I and microbiology."

Jane Sullivan, The Age/Sydney Morning Herald.

“The Invisible War provides detailed and clever insights into what life was like before modern medicine. The use of a graphic novel format to tell this historical human and medical story is very effective. That it presents an historically accurate portrayal of life for service personnel in world war one, as well as factual medical science at the time is commendable. This media, in its static or digital form, is suitable for the year nine target audience. The supplied resources are developed to a high standard, encouraging the students to develop higher order thinking skills while engaging with the content. The resources would be great to support meaningful integration of science and humanities in classrooms. I think The Invisible War: a tale on two scales, would be a fascinating resource for students and teachers alike.”

Fiona Trapani, Lecturer in Science and Biology Education, The University of Melbourne.

"It's wonderful to see a book written for youth tackle the complex subject of viruses and the human microbiota in such an entertaining way. No bacteria is left unturned in this book, and the explanations in the Appendix about ideas, phrases and concepts covered in the story (there are numbered circles that appear throughout the story, and these correspond to the information in the Appendix) add to the understanding of the often complex processes and information presented. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about the human gut, microbiology, viruses, cross infection and WWI Western Front history."

Reading Time blog, The Children's Book Council of Australia.

Media Release - April 18, 2016

The Invisible War – an ANZAC story like no other


The Invisible War is a ground-breaking new comic book created by a team of Victorian artists, scientists, writers and historians. Aimed at both teenagers and adults, the story combines stunning artwork and cutting-edge science to take readers on a unique journey into the human body. The Invisible War is set in 1916, partly around the muddy trenches of World War One, and partly in the mucus-lined trenches of a nurse's large intestine. It describes a vast, unseen world populated by bacteria and viruses, where microscopic battles between ancient enemies are waged on a daily basis.


In the lead-up to ANZAC Day, The Invisible War is available as a FREE digital download for all Australian teachers from The creators are also running a campaign to raise funds to publish a print edition of The Invisible War through crowdfunding site, Pozible:


Book creator and independent publisher Dr. Gregory Crocetti describes the inspiration behind the book “Bacteriophage (bacteria-eating viruses) are the most prolific life-forms on Earth, and the most effective predators known to science. We wanted to tell a story about these viruses, and highlight the fascinating role these mysterious creatures play in shielding our bodies from infection by bacteria.”


The book creators worked closely with Australian microbiologist Dr. Jeremy Barr whose pioneering research into this animal-virus alliance describes what is now being called ‘a second immune system’. Dr. Crocetti adds, “understanding more about our relationship to these viruses is especially timely, as antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasing concern across the globe.”


Writer Ailsa Wild explains, “we decided to set the book in World War One, where diseases like dysentery often caused more deaths than bullets and bombs. But we wanted to tell a war story from a completely new perspective. The virus is an unusual choice for a major character and it was really fun to work directly with a scientist to imagine their personality and invent their unique voice.


While most war stories are told from the point of view of male soldiers, Ms. Wild describes the choice of a nurse as the central character, “our main human character Annie, allowed us to talk about the experience of war in a different way, to acknowledge the role of women in World War One and learn more about their untold stories. In fact, the novel is dedicated to nurses everywhere.


The Invisible War is published by Australian art-science collaborative, Scale Free Network, with funding support from the Victorian ANZAC Centenary Major Grants program, Creative Victoria, the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Partnerships Australia through their MATCH program.

A complete pdf version of The Invisible War is available for review upon request.

High-Resolution images from The Invisible War are available to download here.



Dr. Gregory Crocetti (creator/publisher)        0403 733 628   gregory (at) scalefreenetwork (dot) com (dot) au

Ailsa Wild (writer)                                            0432 851 932   ailsamaywild (at) gmail (dot) com

The Invisible War crowdfunding campaign was supported by Creative Partnerships Australia.



The creation of The Invisible War wouldn't have been possible without the generous support from: