Mountain Comics #38 – Sgt. Rock #406

Rob welcomes Friend of the Network Captain Entropy to discuss "Angels with Black Wings" by Robert Kanigher, Adrian Gonzales, and The Kubies, from SGT.ROCK #406!

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10 responses to “Mountain Comics #38 – Sgt. Rock #406

  1. I’m always happy to see A new episode Mountain Comics has been downloaded to my phone!
    I also did not read many of DC’s war comics. My younger brother was a fan, especially of The Blackhawks. Mostly because they tended to be single issue stories, and it wasn’t necessary to follow the book from month to month.
    G.I. Joe and The Nam were the “war books” I did eventually follow, and by that time they were pretty much the only ones being published. I highly recommend the first 4 years worth of The Nam title. It followed the tour of duty if specific characters in “real time”. The 12 issues cover a year of service for that storie lead character.
    I n veer read these issues of Sgt Rock, but I do indeed remember the full page ad that ran through DC’s other books. I sldd as I remember how naïve I was back then, thinking that the civil rights marches were no longer necessary, and that racism and inequality were just about stamped out. I may as well haa as be believed a man could fly.
    I didn’t know the story of The Tuskegee Airman until HBO did a movie about them in the late 80s. A truly amazing group of service men you gave everything they had.
    The laying along with the subscription game, in 1985, I’d have chosen: DC Comics Presents, Star Trek, & Justice League if America. I loved the team up books, Star Trek was a comic I didn’t see on the spinner racks, and it always drove me nuts when I missed an issue of JLA, which I often did. Finally my choices for Super Powers figured would have been (and actually were) Batman, Green Lantern & The Flash. My 3 favorite DC heroes at the time.
    Thanks again for another trip back in time.

  2. Another great episode! I vividly remember the ad for these issues of Sgt. Rock, but Rock and Easy Company never made their way to the spinner racks where I lived. I guess, like Joe Kubert intended, Rock didn’t like to mingle with the super heroes.

    I loved hearing Captain E’s stories of his time in the service. I appreciate his service and his willingness to share his unique experience on war comics. He’s always a joy to hear on the FW network.

    I loved your Joe Kubert critique story, Rob. Nothing like a living legend just dashing off a great cover to make you shrink in your shoes.

    I wonder how Joe Kubert and John Romita Sr. feel knowing their kids have continued their legacies. I have to imagine they feel as much or more pride in the accomplishments of the kids as their own.

    1. Sean, thank you for your very kind words. The first time I podcasted with Rob, I told him how honored I was to be joining the august company in his terrific roster of guests. I mentioned you by name as an example.

  3. Very much enjoyed the conversation, gentlemen!
    I was never much of a war comics reader back in the day – I think one of the few war comics I occasionally bought off the spinner rack was G.I. Combat when it was a dollar comic. I never bought a single issue of Sgt. Rock’s regular series, but I did have several digests in which the good sgt. either headlined or, if it was generally war-themed, at least had one story featuring him and the Easy Co. And I always liked those stories quite a bit (of course, the fact that they were usually drawn by Kubert probably helped).

    All that to say that I regret never having these particular issues. I remember only learning about the Tuskegee Airmen when I was in my 20s (not long before I learned about a similarly overlooked facet of WW2 history: the Soviet Airwomen who also engaged in aerial dogfights with Nazi aircraft). Hats off to the entire crew at DC for dedicating two issues to them. And thanks also to Capt. Entropy for sharing some of his knowledge of them as well.

  4. Super episode! I loved Sgt Rock and the Weird War Tales as a kid because my brother gave me all his comics. Seeing Nazis blowup and get shot at made a lasting impression on me. My dad was German and was 5 years old during the war. So we had interesting conversations to say the least.
    In any event – I wasn’t taught about the Tuskegee Airmen in school either and I wish it’s such an iconic story. There could have been a comicbook stories just about them.

    Great work!

  5. Great discussion gents. I remember the ads fort these books, but I wasn’t a “war comic” guy much. Just from the discussion, and the art shared, I totally get Rob’s notion that these could be “educational comics” created through a co-op with the some forward-thinking organization to spread the word about the importance of the Tuskegge Airmen. Doesn’t make them any less entertaining or poignant, I would imagine though.

  6. I also remember the house ad pretty vividly. Enough to make me think I would buy the book if I saw it. (I never bought war comics.)

    Alas, never did run into them so I was thrilled to see that you covered this. And great discussion with Captain Entropy.

    Might try to find these in the wild now.

  7. Impressive podcast most impressive. I am glad to hear Mr. Kubert wanted to share this story. And to talk about those brave men that served during World War II. I understand the sentiment, but sadly some teachers don’t even know about these points in history. I remember when I was in high school and I brought out to one of my science teachers about the Japanese and German American interment’s here in the US. He had no idea they even existed. I later brought up in front of my reading teacher she of course was wiser and knew more about the world. She did explain the difference between those interment camps and the ones that the Germans had. So as sad as it is some history teachers don’t teach them. Because unfortunately some people don’t know about them even those that are teachers. Not only are the Soldiers of 1511 Tuskegee Airmen 99th Flying Training Squadron . Not taught, but until I was doing research for a character I called American Corsair I didn’t even know about the 92nd Infantry Division or the 93rd Infantry Division 761st Tank Battalion . Which were also African-American divisions.

    We learned about Buffalo soldiers from the Civil War. The 92nd division being a part of that, but we did know that particular designation. The unfortunate fact is history classes will bring up certain men and women there is a particular freed slave who became a spy for union that we learned about but we won’t learn about these things. In fact until recently I did know about the 442nd Infantry Regiment made up of Japanese Americans or the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion. That one scene and Sgt. rock’s comic where the trigger-happy soldiers didn’t recognize the one red tails guy could’ve probably been even worse for someone in these two divisions. After all he has to quickly explain who he is and show his flag. And hopefully realize he’s American. And then he finds out about those interment camps while he’s helping to save the country. There were papers that out there so they could tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese. But, for the average G.I. at that time they are trying to learn to distinguish between those born in Japan fighting for their nation and their fellow GIs that are Japanese Americans on a glance would’ve probably been not the best situations.

    So yeah those Japanese-American soldiers were for a heckuva time. These were very important moments in history. And I’m glad that Mr. Kubert decided to publish this issue. And I’m glad that the Tuskegee Airmen . Are now getting the recognition they deserve. It is cool to hear that these works real stories. As for them being sprinkled in. That was kind of the way the book was done. When they introduced new characters. The first time rock goes to talk about the men of easy Company. He has some framing device first talking to someone and he goes through the origins of each member of the squad. From wild man onward. So this was just the way they were written. Truthfully I’m glad they were done in ones. One of the many reasons I got out of collecting modern comics. Was the never ending freaking stories. I literally bought a few trade paperbacks. They didn’t even finish one freaking story. And there was that one thing Trinity I think it was called. That was like for telephone book sized books. And the story didn’t and by the third one. And I was like okay I’m done.

    If I pay for 22 page book I want the beginning middle and read once in a while a two-parter is fine. But, if I wanted to read a novel I would buy a novel and probably pay half the price I paid for these modern comic books. I may need help to get me into buying paperback books. Since I could buy the Dresden files will get the freaking story. And not just a chapter a month that time. And I paid less money for the paperback. Go figure. I’ll is like Sgt. rock. When I was a kid I got into G.I. Joe because I had a big military family. A lot of people in my family had served. I like Duke but he was not quite right. While rock seemed more like how someone could be. Why in the middle of one of these battlefields. He seems like the more scuffed up version of Duke. So he became one of my favorites. What I can find an issue of Sgt. rock. Until I found out about the comic book stores it was difficult to find the issues of him.

    Having to dig through the different 7-Eleven’s and whatnot. Superman was everywhere. And I had a sub to Batman as a child. But, Sgt. rock wasn’t exactly everywhere at the time. I need up getting a trade paperback of rock in a World War II Museum of all places. They had a gift shop. Couldn’t tell you why this comic was there. But, it was. I haven’t read these two issues. Though they seem pretty cool. I too would get the tracing paper fixes that Mr. Kubert or someone would do on my homework when I took the correspondence course for the Joe Kubert school. They always helped a lot. Back to this comic it seems pretty cool. And I’m glad that they mentioned the heroes that were the Tuskegee airmen. Speaking of African-American pilots. The action for storyline has a character named rollout. Who is also an African-American pilot. They can be found where they have the action for stuff. I have no connection with this but, I kind of like the toy line. And every so once in a while I reviewed them on my YouTube page. And sometimes I do Bashing of different figures I make up. No connection to them.

    And I will also make my own vehicles that fit these things. Well, throwing different vehicle parts together. Though I hear they’re going to make one of their own at some point. And any rate I enjoyed hearing about this comic. I’m sorry I missed this issue of Sgt. rock. I have enjoyed a lot of his comics. I do disagree with Mr.Kubert. I like and count the stories of Sgt. rock in modern comics. That are after the war. Still that’s just my personal way of viewing the character. His after all his creation. At any rate can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

    1. Liz Anne, thank you for this thoughtful comment. You covered a lot of territory. I really appreciate you bringing up so many minority combat units. The Japanese-American infantry unit was featured in a Sgt Rock mini-series called The Lost Battalion. Like you said, it was tricky being East Asian and American in a combat zone.

      When I was talking about a continuing story, I’m thinking eighties style Roger Stern or Paul Levitz stories, not modern deconstructed roll-on-forever stories. I mean complete stories in one issue with the occasional two-parter and always running sub-plots that sometimes turn into the main plots.

      Thanks for your support. I’m new at this, but thrilled to be allowed to play. Take care.

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