Willie & Joe
The WWII Years
Publication Date: April 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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During WWII, the closest most Americans ever came to the war was through the cartoons of Bill Mauldin, the most beloved enlisted man in the U.S. Army. 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. With their heavy brush lines, detailed battlescapes, and pidgin of army slang and slum dialect, Mauldin 's cartoons and captions recreated on paper the fully realized world of the American combat soldier. Their dark, often insubordinate humor sparked controversy among army brass and incensed General George S. Patton, Jr. Presented in a deluxe, beautifully designed two-volume slipcased edition of over 700 pages, this tome is edited by Todd DePastino, Mauldin 's official biographer. Willie & Joe contains an introduction and running commentary by DePastino, providing context for the drawings, pertinent biographical details of Mauldin 's life, and occasional background on specific cartoons (such as the ones that made Patton howl).