Friday, August 07, 2015

War Is Hell (But Necessary) 20

Chapter 20

This all culminated in what many considered Chapman's best (and most negative) masterpiece.  It appeared in Battlefield #2 and was drawn by Jewish artist Paul Reinman.I accidentally showed this last saturday as well, but here it is with commentary. On the Saturday I have posted another Chapman story from the period before this one.

Using all the tricks in his book, Chapman examines the cruelty of the communists in the Korean war.

He compares them to other cruelties, in other wars, such as (most famously) the plight of the jews in the concentration camps.

He uses headlines all the way through, but cleverly asks the question if we should believe them at the end of the story. If we should, what would be the answer to these new atrocities? Should it be the same way we ended the Second World War, by throwing an atamic bomb on the enemy?

I believe this story goes to the heart of what drove Hank Chapman as a writer. He was not a liberal, he had lived through a war and knew how necessary it could be. But he also knew how terrible it could be and by showing that he may have made the most anti-war and off-putting comics of his time.
I am still looking for evidence that the army banned these books, because I can't believe any army would want their soldiers to read them. In the end his logical approach leads him to a conclusion even he thought was horrific. I don't know if throwing a boms was commonly discussed in newspapers at that time (I certainly haven't found any proof of that), but suggesting it in a comic book story takes an author who is either very talented or very driven. Most probably, Hank Chapman was both.

1 comment:

Diego Cordoba said...

I do have the Battlefield reprint (one of those in the Marvel Masterworks series), and saw this story, and others by Chapman. It did strike me as rather preachy, but after reading your entries this past week, I've reconsidered my opinion on Chapman, who I didn't know.

Now I'll have to re-read all those Chapman stories again.

Thanks, Ger, this has been a really inetresting entry (I think I already mentioned that earlier).