Back in July I told you about Fantagraphic Books’ plans to release a collection of Bill Mauldin’s Willie and Joe cartoons from the World War II years. The book is now available for pre-order. You can pre-order it at Amazon for only $40.95 (regularly $65) and has a price guarantee that if they ever drop the price between now and when it starts shipping, you’ll only be charged the lowest price.
Bill Mauldin entered World War II at age 18 in the 45th Infantry Division. It was then when he created two characters Willie and Joe who became the faces of American infantry men fighting overseas. According to Wikipedia, Bill even managed to tick off General Patton who summoned Bill to his office and threatened to throw him in jail for “spreading dissent” with his cartoons. Bill won the Pulitzer Prize at age 23 in 1945. He won his second Pulitzer in 1959 as an editorial cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He moved to the Chicago Sun Times in 1962 and drew the iconic cartoon of the statue of Abraham Lincoln weeping into his hands when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. He retired from the Sun Times in 1991.
This is a very cool book collection and I’m glad Fantgraphic Books has put it together. I can’t wait to get it.
The book description over on Amazon:
“The real war,” said Walt Whitman, “will never get in the books.” During WW II, the closest most Americans ever came to the “real war” was through the cartoons of Bill Mauldin, the most beloved enlisted man in the U.S. Army. Here, for the first time, Fantagraphics Books brings together Mauldin’s complete works from 1940 through the end of the war. This collection of over 600 cartoons, most never before reprinted, is more than the record of a great artist: it is an essential chronicle of America’s citizen-soldiers from peace through war to victory.
Bill Mauldin knew war because he was in it. He had created his characters, Willie and Joe, at age 18, before Pearl Harbor, while training with the 45th Infantry Division and cartooning part-time for the camp newspaper. His brilliant send-ups of officers were pure infantry, and the men loved it.
After wading ashore with his division on the first of its four beach invasions in July 1943, Mauldin and his men changed – and Mauldin’s cartoons changed accordingly. Months of miserable weather, bad food, and tedium interrupted by the terror of intense bombing and artillery fire took its toll. By the year’s end, virtually every man in Mauldin’s original rifle company was killed, wounded, or captured.
Order it up now as that consolation gift to yourself for the not getting everything that you wanted.
Hat tip: Drawn!