Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sgt. Rock Special #1: "Another Time, Another Place"

Download Sgt. Rock Special #1

Created by DC's resident war correspondent, Robert Kanigher, and drawn by Joe Kubert, Sgt. Rock as we know him first went into battle in Our Army at War #81 (April 1959).

The stories were set during World War II and Sgt. Frank Rock was topkick of a platoon called Easy Co., also known as "the Combat Happy Joes of Easy." He and his men did the majority of their fighting in the European Theater of Operations. Kanigher's idea of combat owed as much to movies and John Wayne as it did to research, and Rock's gang had the same colorful mix of men as might've been found in an MGM epic of a decade or so earlier. Among the personnel were Wildman, Bulldozer, Ice Cream Soldier, and Jackie Johnson, a black. Kanigher fudged on Johnson, giving Rock the only integrated platoon in World War II.

The adventures were gritty, grim, sentimental, and full of Technicolor heroics. The sergeant related most of the battle reports himself—"Here's a war story that'll tear at your heart... or my name ain't Sgt. Rock." Kubert did a commendable job of illustrating the Easy tales. Russ Heath also drew the feature. The sergeant's name eventually began appearing on the covers in larger and larger letters. Finally, with issue #302 (March 1977), the magazine was retitled simply Sgt. Rock. It held on longer than any other war comic, surrendering at last in the summer of 1998. The sergeant re-upped for the Sgt. Rock Special that reprinted his earlier combat adventures for a twenty-one issue run from 1988 to 1992.

Bob Haney
Pencils and inks:
Neal Adams
Tatjana Wood

  • from Our Army at War (DC, 1952 series) #240 (January 1972) (Pictured inset).
  • in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest (DC, 1980 series) #12 (August 1981).
  • in Sgt. Rock Special (DC, 1988 series) #1 (1988).

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