Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Night Fights: The Real Fighters

We're comic book fans. We like our heroes strong-hearted, our adventures high-spirited, and our fights big, bold, and bombastic:
Thing versus Hulk

And there's nothing wrong with that.

But tonight I want to focus on a different kind of fighter. A different kind of fight. A different breed of hero. The real ones.
Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe
Cartoons from Up Front by Bill Mauldin (1945)

Sunday is Veterans Day (observed this year on Monday, November 12). Not just a holiday off or a day the banks and post offices are closed. It's a day to remember, honor, and salute America's fighting men and women who have protected and battled...and many have died...for our rights and lives, in our World Wars and other conflicts.
Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe

Much as we'd like to picture it, Captain America and the Invaders didn't win wars. Nor was it muscled-ripped, gung-ho Sergeants Rock or Fury. It was the fighting forces of America and her allies, soldiers like Bill Mauldin's war-weary, unshaven Willie and Joe...the quintessential WWII G. I. Joes. The Real American Heroes.
Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe

In the best traditional of editorial cartooning, Mauldin's "tell it like it is" cartoon reporting straight from the frontline infuriated General George Patton for daring to portray the troops as anything but clean-shaven, well-turned-out, battle-professional soldiers. Mauldin had his champion in Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower, however, who overruled Patton. The cartoons—and Mauldin—were great favorites of the military men and women for portraying the battlefield as it happens to be: grim, muddy, unglamorous, and black-humored.
Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe

Salute and honor these men and women, veterans not just WWII but of all America's wars, on Monday—and every day. They never fought Darkseid or Doctor Doom. They never teamed up with Captain America or the Justice Society. But they fought the good fight.
Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe

Bahlactus's Friday Night Fights.


The Fortress Keeper said...

Well said Bully.

I'm glad you recognized Bill Mauldin as well. I first heard of him through - of all places - Peanuts and later found his work through the library.

He was truly one of the greats.

SallyP said...

Very very nice. Bill Mauldin was a genius.

Philip said...

I don't remember how I discovered Mauldin, but when I did, I instantly recognized just how good his cartoons were. That one with the socks is one of my favorites.

km said...

Bully, you're a good little bull. That was a beautiful tribute.

Mike Haseloff said...

FNF is fast becoming a must-see Bully spectacular! Nice work, chief!