The Healing Commandoes
Friday Comic Booklet Day.
Today, I wanted to surprise you all with the contents of a small booklet done by Al Jaffee in 1945. It is called Howl While You Heal and was published by the Army and Navy Department of the International Commitee of the Young Men's Christian Association. A small booklet with black and white gags that was given out to wounded soldiers. I already knew he created cartoons in the war, as one of his cartoons was reprinted in the Best of Yank book produced after the war. But I had never found anymore than that one. Mr. Jaffee told me in a private e-mail that he had worked for a 'convalencance unit' near Billings Field in the war and had produced 'several small books', so I was very pleased to find "Howl" on e-bay recently. It was credited to a Sgt. Abraham Jaffee, instead of Al Jaffee, as we know him now. Wether that was a misprint or his official name, I don't know. I hope to find out more in the upcoming biography (offered in the Diamond catalogue last month and appearing soon: http://www.amazon.com/Jaffees-Mad-Life-Mary-lou-Weisman/dp/006186448X). Just before I wnet to France, the booklet arrived on my doorstep and I planned to share it here after my Jack Kirby run.
But in preparing the information for this post, I saw that one of my regular visitors here (and in fact the man who inspired me to create my own blog with his impecaably run The Horrors Of It All horror comics blog) had already published the contents of the complete book on another of his blogs in July. Congratulations, Steve!
So what I will do now, is reproduce some of his scans and provide you with a link. I urge you to go and have a look, if only for the rare period feel of the gags. Many later cartoonists and comic strip artists worked on their camp newspaper or in one of the information services while they were in the army. I have shown here some of the rare work of Harvey Kurtzman, but there is much more. I have a run of Kurtzman's never seen Pvt. Brown Knows, some of Will Eisner's earliers strips and even a satirical article for the army and rare stuff by Jack Sparling, Fred Ray, Walt Kelly and Hank Ketcham. Other collectors I know have material by Jack Davis, Joe Kubert and Dick Ayers. I also have collected many funny samples of artists who did not go on to careers in comics or cartoons, but clearly could have. The whole subject is worth a book, or maybe a pretty long article somewhere.
But I keep putting it off. There is still more to be found and in some cases, I even have to get a few questions answered about the stuff I do have. I plan to use Ken Quattro's excellent The Comics Detective website to mobilize other fans to go and find more information, but up till now it remains one of the most unfinished and daunting projects on my roster.
But at least this booklet is complete and I can show it here in it's entirety. Again I thank Steve for his scans and hope they will amue you as much as they did me.