Friday, February 27, 2009

Bill Mauldin:up front

I’m always amazed by all of the amazing cartoonists I’ve never heard of. Sometimes they come out of nowhere and blow you away. This week I had the pleasure of stumbling across Bill Mauldin, a cartoonist who’s probably most famous for his portrayal of infantrymen in World War 2 through his characters, Willie and Joe.

Bill Mauldin Apparently felt guilty that he was able to get out of combat by drawing cartoons so he drew these cartoons for the front line soldiers doing the actual fighting and dying and as a result some of them are inside jokes of the you had to be there nature. He wrote a book, Up Front, that explains what the average soldiers on the front line were like and what they were going through which really helps to inform the cartoons which are presented throughout the text.

Along with the humor he was able to capture the grim and cynical side of the everyday routine of a soldier. Some of the cartoons are even anti-war, anti authoritarian or pessimistic to a point of almost demeaning the soldiers he was portraying which is stunning since they were made for the army newspaper, Stars and Stripes. I think more than anything, these cartoons were honest, celebratory and sympathetic of the soldiers and that's why they're so powerful.

Oh yeah, and the drawings are beautiful.

These are really amazing cartoons. There's so much I haven't said that I should, regardless, Check em' out.

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