Sgt. Rock

By John Saleeby
November 1, 2006

"There Never Was A Joker But There Sure Was A Fuhrer"

After all these years it still comes back in my sleep . . . Those endless patrols . . . Wondering who would be the next to die . . . And the moans . . . The moans of the dying . . . And then I wake up . . . Wake up screaming? Naah! I'm not some cornball Vietnam veteran having a flashback, I'm just a guy who grew up reading Sgt. Rock comic books in the Seventies! I wake up, feel really glad that I never had to fight in a war, and go right back to sleep to dream about Betty, Veronica, Sabrina The Teenage Witch and all the other hot chicks in Archie Comics. If only teenage girls had been like that when I was in High School . . .

Sgt. Rock drawn by Joe KubertIn every issue of DC's "Our Army At War" Sgt. Rock led the battle weary Joes of Easy Company into combat against the Nazis and there was only one message to be learned from the experience - "Hey, Kids! Buy X Ray Specs!" If only Sgt. Rock had known about X Ray Specs, maybe that would have made the War less of an ordeal. Yes, that was the True Message of "Our Army At War" - "War Is Hell. And Don't Forget To Order Some Sneezing Powder, Kids!" If only Sgt. Rock had known about Sneezing Powder . . .

War Comics have never gotten the kind of attention Super Hero Comics always have. I guess most Comic Book readers prefer to live in the kind of Dream World where all conflicts can be solved by a Caped Crusader flying around in an Invisible Airplane to dump fifteen megatons of Kryptonite onto Baghdad and . . . Okay, so I get all that Super Hero shit all mixed up - I've always lived in The Real World. And that's a World full of crazy foreigners from screwed up places like Germany, Japan, and . . .  There are a few more but all the War Comics I read when I was a kid were about the Germans and the Japanese. I've since grown quite fond of the Japanese, but the Germans? Fuck em. Years before "Our Army At War" Bill Gaines' EC Comics did War Comics about the North Koreans and the Red Chinese. But "Tales From The Crypt" scared more Americans than North Korea and Red China put together and the Government shut EC down so Bill started MAD. Just like when Wil Forbis pissed everybody off with the skits on our UHF "Creature Feature" show and the Station Manager took away our rubber Frankenstein masks so Wil started Acid Logic. 

It makes sense that EC, mostly remembered for Horror Comics, pioneered War Comics because if War Comics - Full of morbid ruminations on the meaning of Life and Death, frequent visitations from the Spirit World, and relentless blasts of pain, violence, and bloodshed - have anything in common with any other  genre it's Horror. These Comics are all about the Horror Of War - A Horror which ranks somewhere between The Dead rising up from The Grave to devour The Living and an old episode of "Coach" with Jerry Van Dyke. Man, every episode of that show should end with Craig T. Nelson murmuring "The Horror . . . The Horror . . . " on the soundtrack. Pretty grim stuff, but - Hey, it's WORLD WAR TWO!! You want laughs, get shot so you can see Bob Hope when he visits the hospital. You might prefer Marvel's "Nick Fury And The Howling Commandos" War Comic in which they manage to slaughter dozens of no good Nazis while exchanging light hearted comic banter at the same time. Lord, how those Marvel characters love to talk! In some of those Marvel Comic Books they gab so much it's almost like R. Crumb's suicidal brother's " Treasure Island" adaptation where there's so much dialogue he runs out of room for the illustrations. Sorry if that's too obscure a reference for all you non Comic Book people out there. Just don't get all Buddy Bradley on me over it, okay?

More info about "Sgt. Rock "
Back to the War Zone
Article about Joe Kubert's new Sgt. Rock comic.

Wikipedia entry
The online encyclopedia looks at the rockmeister.


At least Sgt. Rock LOOKED like a Super Hero. The US Army Field Uniform of the Second World War was not as snug as - I'll just come right out and say it - the LEOTARDS worn by Superman and Captain Marvel but the Nazis were usually considerate enough to give Rock an oppurtunity to show off how "Buff" he was ("Buff" was originally a German word used to describe how attractive Rock was to Nazi perverts - "Ja, Rock ist BUFF!") by shooting at him with special Nazi Homo Bullets designed to tear up his shirt so then everybody could get a load of his "Pecs" and "Abs" (Another couple of German words used to describe . . . Aw, I'm sick of those creeps!). But I shouldn't be making fun of Rock. First of all, he's a Comic Book character and we should just be glad he doesn't have a Mechanical Robot Arm that fires Anti Tank Shells and a Flamethrower Dick. Second, I shouldn't be making fun of Rock because he'll kick my ass. This guy is such a Bad Ass he can knock Nazi fighter planes out of the sky by picking a bottle up off of the ground and throwing it at em. The man isn't just a Bad Ass, he's a COMIC BOOK BAD ASS!! If we wanted realism we'd go to the Bad Part Of Town, walk up to a crack dealer, snap a clothes pin over his nose, and run away giggling "TEE HEE HEE!!!"

My first issue of "Our Army At War" was the beginning of my studies at The Joe Kubert School Of Cartoon And Graphic Art. Joe Kubert, the artist most widely associated with Sgt. Rock, didn't open up his School until 1976 but I was attending regular classes every day in my room at least five years before that. Everytime a new Sgt. Rock Comic Book came out I'd study every frame of Kubert's artwork down to the tiniest detail, pick up a pencil, and imitate all of Joe's best stuff over and over again until my Mom would come in and go "Whattya doin'? Thirty seven pictures of a Nazi sitting in a hole? Why don't you draw a hole big enough for all thirty seven of the Nazis to sit in together? Even a Nazi likes company!" My Boyhood sketchbooks are full of Fifty Caliber Machine Guns, Spitfire Fighter Planes, Tiger Tanks, and Sheep With Women's Legs Wearing Fishnet Stockings. Yeah, I've got dozens of drawings of Sheep With Women's Legs Wearing Fishnet Stockings in my Boyhood sketchbooks, so what? If I didn't do them trying to draw just like Joe Kubert or Russ Heath why the heck else would I have drawn em?

Joe Kubert has already been recognized as One Of The Greatest Artists Of Comic Book History but, in a World where a Comic Book about the Holocaust where the Jews are mice and the Nazis are cats is considered proof that Comic Books are a "Legitimate Art Form" (Jesus!), Joe Kubert should be a National Hero right up there with the Titan who portrayed Floyd The Barber 0n "The Andy Griffith Show". Russ Heath may have been the best of all the artists who worked on the DC War Comics but that's just the kind of Geek Ass Technical Talk that will lead you to believe that Robert Fripp is a better guitar player than Tony Iommi - Start believing that shit and next thing you know you're in a cocktail party full of shitcakes talking about a Holocaust Comic Book fulla mice and cats and thinking you have arrived at last. And anyway, ever since that National Lampoon thing he did about gay cowboys Russ Heath's stuff kinda gives me the Heebie Jeebies. But Russ is cool. Forbis once met him in a Comic Book store and Heath didn't slap the shit out of him so he must have Nerves Of Steel. 

So, next time you're looking at Comic Books, take a break from that same ol' X Men stuff and check out "Our Army At War". Oh, and let me know if there are a lot of Stuka Dive Bombers flying out of Sabrina The Teenage Witch's Ass in those Comics. I've been looking through my old sketchbooks and if those Comics aren't full of Stuka Dive Bombers flying out of Sabrina The Teenage Witch's it might explain a few things that have been bothering me for a few years.  



John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email -

Dude, partake of some other Motherfucking Masterpieces!

Iggy Pop's "Party" by John Saleeby
With the arrival of the 80's, Iggy Pop turned to one man to resurrect his career: Ivan Kral!
Heavy Metal by Wil Forbis
This animated film from the 80's had more naked alien chicks than you could shake a phallicized laser pistol at.
Scanners by Johnny Apocalypse
Was Scanners a parable about out of control corporations or just an excuse to show exploding heads?
Repo Man by Wil Forbis
Packed with dead aliens, punk rock angst and Harry Dean Stanton in the role of his career, Alex Cox's cinematic masterpiece defined the term "cult film."
RoboCop by John Saleeby
Peter Weller shines as the clanking crimefighter in need of axel grease.
Falling Down by Wil Forbis
The final defense of the angry white male.
Office Space by Wil Forbis
Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead, satirizes the modern deskjob.
Mr. Bungle by Wil Forbis
The maniacal album that inspired tens, even dozens of musicians to become agro/metal/funk fanatics. Remember the clowns!
Body Count by Cody Wayne
Ice-T's hardcore metal group, famous for their ode to cop killin', get their due.
John Carpenter's "The Thing" by Cody Wayne
John Carpenter redefined the horror genre with his study of arctic isolation and shape shifting aliens.

And here's more!


Columns - Features - Interviews - Fiction - Acid Radio - GuestBook Sign/View - Blogs
View for more sin and wackiness!

Email Publisher