Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Army At War #104

In honor of Veteran's Day, I thought I'd pull out one of my older war comics (March 1961). As I have discussed in the past, Sgt. Rock was the undisputed star of Our Army at War; eventually the comic was renamed after him. No surprise, the crusty old Sarge isn't much on dames:

His men speculate that perhaps he'll feel different when he falls for a girl, but others doubt that he'll ever love anything more than his sub-machine gun. Later, the kid mooning over the photo nearly gets killed trying to win a medal for his Millie; only Rock's quick thinking saves the youngster.

Then, in the midst of a battle, Rock spots a live grenade in the trench with him and the guys. He rips off his helmet and covers the "potato masher". When he regains consciousness:

Pleased to meet you Nurse Jane, but don't call me 'Honey'. Turns out that the enemy has made a breakthrough and the hospital he's in is now in German-controlled territory. The two of them evacuate the hospital, and although Rock insists that he's headed back to the front lines, Nurse Jane isn't leaving him. And amusingly, as she outranks him, he cannot insist. Rock holds off the enemy with her help until Easy Company makes it there. And then Sarge really gets embarrassed:

Comments: A fun little story with terrific characterization for Nurse Jane. I don't know if she ever returned, but I'd love to see her again. Story by Kanigher; as usual, the terrific artwork is by Kubert.

Incidentally, Nerdy Bird has the latest on the long-rumored Sgt Rock film, which apparently is not going to be set during World War II. I concur with her assessment:

I'm no Sgt. Rock expert but isn't that like, oh I don't know, the entire point of the character?

The second story, My Rival, the Jet, tells of an odd romantic triangle, between Army nurse Sally Bell, her boyfriend Bill Gage (a Korean War aviator), and his plane, (named by its previous pilot) Suzie. Sally is jeaolous of the plane and hopes for it to be destroyed while sparing Bill's life. But when word comes that Suzie's been hit, Sally prays for it to save Bill. But when it does, she's still upset:

But when Bill's in danger again, Sally prays that Suzie will bring him back safely. And in the end:

Comments: The rivalry between Sally and Suzie is a little silly, but I found the ending very effective (if predictable). GCD credits the script to Bob Haney and the artwork to Irv Novick.

The third story is Combat Racket. A rookie infantryman can't stand the noises of war, but his Sarge has some advice:

While on patrol, they hear the sound of a gun bolt behind them, and firing at the sound, they kill two snipers. Then they hear the hissing of two "potato mashers" (grenades), and bat them away with the butts of their rifles. The Sarge puts his ear to the ground and hears the rumble of an approaching tank. Then they duck as a mortar shell whistles overhead. And in the end:

Comments: A simple and very effective little story by Hank Chapman, with art by Russ Heath.