A look at Comic books and the Military
The Sad Sack.
Comics and the Military.
It seems to go hand-in-hand. First, we have seen the military influence on such movies as THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA with John Wayne. How about THE CAINE MUTINY with Humphrey Bogart? These are classics that you can catch on TCM at any given moment. Then, the military came on TV and expanded its reach.
I remember in the '60's seeing such TV classics as Rat Patrol, Garrison's Guerrillas and Combat! I used to be fascinated at the war stories on those TV series. You knew that the good guys were going to win in the end, but every so often, someone would get shot or killed. Then, I also, remember how TV would poke fun at the military with shows like SGT.BILKO, Gomer Pyle-USMC and McHale's Navy! Such classics like this is hardly seen in this day and time, but you might catch some episodes on youtube.
In the comic book world, it was no different. On any given day, when you read the local daily newspaper, you'll find a Beetle Bailey comic strip on just about anywhere! It is humorous how this private tries to outsmart the Sarge by avoiding work. Sometimes, he would be successful and sometimes he would not. He was brought to the TV as a cartoon back in the 60's and it was hilarious!
The Sad Sack is another comic book that has been around. For years, you would feel for this guy, not making rank. If you never read a Sad Sack comic book, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It is guaranteed to bring laughter to your life. This comic book character was brought to the movies by Jerry Lewis acting as the Sad Sack! So, as you can see, the Sad Sack has been around.
War comes to the comics.
In June of 1959, Sgt Rock was introduced in ARMY AT WAR issue 83 from DC comics. Written and drawn by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert, it got to be a popular comic book. Commanding Easy Company, He and his men fought countless battles with the Nazis. His real name was Frank Rock, whose father was killed in World War I! Rock's favorite saying was-"Nothing's easy in Easy company!"
Sgt Rock, in one story, got killed along with the rest of Easy Company during the end of World War II. It is believed that Rock got killed with the last shot fired at World War II, but don't write him off. He has appeared in Earth Two, alive and having survived the war. Working as a covert agent for the government, he went to a couple of dangerous missions. Sgt Rock, also, has appeared on cartoon episodes of the Justice League of America and the Brave and the Bold.
Even the Movies want to cash in on THE ROCK. For years, there has been talk about doing a movie on SGT ROCK. Bruce Willis was being considered for the lead role, but it has been pushed back. Will we ever see a SGT ROCK movie? Only time will tell!
Sgt Fury and his howling commandos.
Marvel comics, World war II and beyond.
This is one of my favorite comic books. Sgt Fury and his howling Commandos were a great team! I liked it because it mixed fiction with reality. His real name was Nick Fury and he grew up in Hell's kitchen in New York City. Joining the Army with his best friend, Red Hargrove, Nick Fury was no stranger to tragedy. Stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Nick lost his friend Red when the Japanese launched an attack in that area.
He, eventually, winded up in the 1st attack squad under Captain "Happy" Sam Sawyer. He commanded a team of soldiers that loved a challenge and welcomed a fight. Being the top notch commandos, they would engage in bar fights! Their names would strike terror in the hearts of the Nazis and Adolph Hitler! Their signature shout-"WAHOO" would resonate thru many a story!
While stationed in England, tragedy once again, visited Sgt. Fury. Having fallen in love with a British nurse by the name of Pamela Hawley, Nick thought that his life was going to turn around for the better. Unfortunately, fate had other plans, as she was killed as a result of an air raid. These stories and more added to the legacy of Marvel----Mixing reality with fiction!
Sgt Fury saw more action in Korea. His superiors were so impressed with him that he got promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. In the 60's, Marvel had a brainstorm. With the James Bond films that were popular in the movie world, they had Nick Fury as Agent of Shield. Now, a Colonel working with the United States government, he was sent on top secret missions. On some of the stories, you could see fancy technology that was amazing for that time.
Even the cartoons have seen their share of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. On an X-Men episode, you see a brief cameo in which they appeared. Also, on the recent Captain America movie, you see them on a couple of scenes. On the latest Avengers movie, you see Nick Fury protrayed by Samuel L Jackson. As you can see, we will probably see more of Nick Fury in the future!
Sgt Fury and Sgt Rock are just the tip of the iceberg. Marvel had once published a comic book on Vietnam, while DC had published THE LOSERS AND THE HAUNTED TANK! Charlton comics had a few war stories, but alas, could not compete with the likes of DC or MARVEL, who had that market sealed. Along with comedy in the military, the influence of the comic books is impressive. These stories will, always, remain as part of America's history and if you have a chance to check it out, it will be worth your time!
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