Friday, January 22, 2010

The Only Good Hero Is A Dead Hero

Friday Comic Book Day.

I mentioned earlier that I like the early fifties Timely war titles for their absolute bleakness. If I was a sergeant in an actual war, I wouldn't want my soldier to read these depressing stories. Never more so than in the first couple of issues of Battlefield, the first four of which were actuall 5 pages and had five or six stori in each issue. Number two had Hank Chapman's 'documentary' Atrocity Story, which asked the question (given the horrific methods of the Chinese army, which were taken from the newspapers without questioning if they were true or the result of some sort of propaganda) if it was justified to throw an atom bomb on Korea to end the war before more innocent people had to suffer. Issue number three had four stories with the main hero dying or suffering in some sort of horrifying way and te fifth story was no picnic either. I have chosen three of those stories, for their art as much as the contents. The last one is by George Tuska, whom I hope you will agree did a lot of remarkable work in this period, the second looks to be to be ondoubtably be by Werner Roth and the first may be by Al Hartley, although I am open to other opinions.


Daniel [] said...

What I find relatively remarkable about these war comics is that they present an ongoing or recent war in a fairly grim way, with some of the American soldiers exhibiting flaws through most or all of their stories. In the '60s and early '70s, at least in the stories that I read, American soldiers were almost always presented as heroic, and the exceptions would almost invariably have become heroic by the end of the stories.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Yes, indeed. If I were in any way rsponsible for soldiers in battle, I wouldnot let them read these comics. The early Atlas war tales are full of samples like this, some even worse. There's one with a soldier who gets stuk on his own bajonet and ecides to shoot himself with the weapon rather than be taken hostage, there's one about a mother getting a letter about her dead son... no pleasant stuff.

Mykal Banta said...

Ger: Great stuff. Great post. -- Mykal