Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sgt Fury #31

Of all the series that Marvel published during the 1960s, Sgt Fury is probably the one that I have read the least. Well, except maybe for Patsy and Hedy. So when I found a small batch of issues on Ebay in reader grade, I snapped them up. This story starts out with the Howlers prepping for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Izzy earns a demerit for being too casual about his task:
The main plotline picks up when Captain Sawyer (aka Happy Sam) appears, just in time to head off to London for an important meeting. While there, the brass tells him the key date:
While there, Sawyer notes an aide who appears to be just a bit too interested:
There is something in the nature of fiction that tells us that these types of concerns are never "just your imagination". Although the aide does not hear the target dates for the invasion, he does find out that Sawyer has been informed. He quickly departs and radios the information to der Fatherland:
Now, in reality, the date of the invasion was not as important as the location. The Germans knew as well as the Allied generals that D-Day had several practical requirements: calm seas, high tides, and a full moon for illumination. The latter two virtually guaranteed the invasion would come on June 5 or June 6, or the invasion would have had to have been put off for a full month. As it happened, the weather was bad on the night of June 4, forcing the postponement of the mission to June 6, when the Allied meteorologist (correctly) projected better weather. On the other hand, the locations of the assaults were a closely-guarded secret and would have been worth quite a bit to the Germans. One of the logical spots was the Pas de Calais, the closest spot between England and France. As it happened, the Allies chose the Normandy beaches instead, but it was vital to keep this confidential so the Germans would be forced to defend both areas. The Germans kidnap Happy Sam (presumably named, like Happy Hogan, for his morose demeanor), but not without quite a fight:
The Germans attempt to torture the information out of Sawyer, but he refuses to divulge anything more than name, rank and serial number. So they try to trick the Allies into believing he has spilled the beans:
As you can see, the Howlers have picked up a British commando (apparently nicknamed Pinky, ouch), who talks straight out of central casting, with a lot of "cheerio" and "blighter" and "pip-pip, old bean" along with the obligatory brolly. No surprise, the Germans also toss around terms like "verdammt," "dummkopf" and "schweinhund". To be fair, Hollywood wasn't much more subtle in their stereotypes in WWII movies in the 1960s either. Anyway, the Howlers take the message to the brass, who apparently believe as Fury does, that Happy Sam would never tell. The general gives the commandos a chance to rescue their C.O., but warns them that the bombers will be shortly behind, as the information Sawyer has is too crucial to risk. Meanwhile:
But Fury and his men land virtually on top of Gestapo HQ and shortly:
The rest of the story virtually writes itself; they free Captain Sawyer, get away in a tank just before the bombers obliterate the Gestapo building, and are shortly headed for the English Channel. I enjoyed the plot, and I especially like the characterization for Happy Sam, who refuses to give up the date of the invasion. The tale was an early Roy Thomas outing, illustrated by Dick Ayers and J.Tartaglione.

1 comment:

frasersherman said...

Trivia note: According to Alan Moore, Stan Lee once claimed during a discussion of gay characters (and the lack of) in comics that Pinky was comics' first gay character. Moore wasn't convinced.