Graphic Content – Frontline Combat

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
51/501Title: Frontline Combat
Creator: Harvey Kurtzman
Years: 1951-54
Country: USA

As I said last time, it was about time that I covered a war comic for this list. Since it was my husbands turn to pick, I ended up reading this series from the early 1950s whose cancellation was due to reduced readership following the end of America’s involvement in the Korean War.

In each issue the aim is to tell four ‘real life’ stories from the front lines of war. A lot of these were moreorless contemporary with the bulk being based in the, then current, Korean War and most of the main focuses are American. However, there are times where the comic goes historical with figures such as Julius Caesar and Geronimo getting their own stories.

When reading this you get a sense of a strong sense of patriotism (which sometimes threatens to cross the line into jingosim) on behalf of the writers. One story, involving Japanese-Americans very much came close to making me roll my eyes just a little bit.

It’s also not easy to read some of the stories that start to go into stereotypes of East Asians and Native Americans – although I have to keep reminding myself that this comic is 65 years old.

To be honest, for the first issues of this I did find it to be an interesting, if slightly, heavy read. However,  after the seventh issue, I began to tire a bit of the same narrative tricks. The historical stories helped to extend the shelf-life a bit, but I would not have been able to read more than the 15 episodes of the original run.

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