Friday, November 11, 2011

The Fury Of War!

I celebrated Veteran's Day this year a little early when I picked up a long awaited (by me anyway) Essentials volume featuring Sgt.Fury and The Howling Commandos. This black and white basic collection gathers up the first twenty-three issues of the original run along with the new story from the very first annual which placed the squad in Korea.

There is at once a fantastic and realistic element to these stories. The romance of war is clearly on display as Comics Code approved violence is all you can expect, but the spirit of men depending upon each other in war is all too evident. The Commandos are distinctive, even stereotypical, but they are more than the sum of their parts. They offer a no-nonsense look at the war through the eyes of guys who were there, as well as some pie-in-sky shenanigans for folks who find the actual dreariness and starkness of war too oppressive to qualify as entertainment.

DC did war comics better than Marvel with iconic characters like Sgt.Rock and Enemy Ace, and Charlton did more realistic war comics than anyone with Willie Schulz and The Iron Corporal among others, but no one did more fun war comics as those at Marvel by Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers and Stan Lee.

Have a reflective Veteran's Day one and all.

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