22 October 2013

Some Bill Mauldin finds.

Bill Mauldin(1921-2003) was a cartoonist during and after World War II, most famous for his creations "Willie and Joe", which first appeared in the 45th
I'm not qualified to speak of Mauldin's life history as others have done , but I have found a vintage magazine, showcasing his work.

Mauldin insisted on drawing his wartime cartoons in the field.  Unlike many domestically produced cartoons or propaganda pieces, there is very little depiction of the enemy, silly, threatening or otherwise such as in the Disney film "Education for Death".  Nor is there a lot of "wacky" humor, a-la the "Private Snafu" shorts, or "New Yorker" style drollery.

     In fact, the life of a soldier comes off as depressing and mundane.

 Rumor has it that Mauldin's gags ticked off more than a few officers, but the army saw fit to publish them, anyway.

   War, the soldier's plight and lifestyle have been examined and depicted for as long as human history, but more often than not, from the outside, with an editorial perspective. 
  Perhaps the reason that Mauldin's wartime work has endured is the simple honesty. 
  In the afterward to the magazine, Mauldin wrote of his fellow soldiers:
     "They've aged 15 to 20 years, have beards, their eyes have bags underneath, and they wear a dopey expression because they need a lot of sleep . Some of them are getting bowlegged and flatfooted from hiking too much. The poor guys have changed so much that I hardly recognize them". 

  I guess that's why he drew the pictures, because sometimes, there are no words.