Saturday, September 26, 2009

Comics: Willie & Joe

I was at Half Price Books today and was looking through the comics section and I saw this cool, brand-new, slip-cased two-volume set: Willie & Joe: The WWII Years by legendary comic artist Bill Mauldin.
It is a very attractive set: Hardcover, cloth bound in khaki-green, and quite sharp looking. I instantly started drooling over it (thank heavens I was alone at the moment). It was really impressive and -- I must admit -- expensive looking. Furthermore, it was the only copy on hand and it was still in its shrink wrap. Alas, I was certain it was out of my price range, yet nevertheless I picked it up and got a wonderful surprise. It was only $19.95! Less than 20 bucks. That couldn't be right. I quickly looked for the regular price and, sure enough, it was listed at $65. That definitely seemed like a fair price for such a slick looking product. Ah, but I was in Half Price Books, and it's not uncommon to find an amazing deal tucked amidst their dusty shelves.

So, needless to say, I grabbed it. And, to sweeten the deal, I got another 10% off with my faculty ID! (I mentioned that discount to a friend the other day and his eyes opened wide: "You mean you get a discount if you're a teacher?" I assured him that was true, and that it even works when they are having other sales and promotions.) So, all in all, I walked out with the books for about $18 and a smile on my face.
The sweet deal is not the reason I'm excited. This is a great book. It's almost 700 pages of great comics, many of which have never been reprinted before. And they are FUNNY. I've laughed out loud a dozen times since I opened it. Bill Mauldin really knew his stuff, and this is a worthy treasury of his work.

My two favorite strips:

Page 79
Willie tells Joe: "Joe, yestiddy you saved my life and I swore I'd pay you back. Here's me last pair o' dry socks."

Page 154
Joe is talking to a corpsman: "Just gimme a coupla asprin. I already got a Purple Heart."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put on some Andrews Sisters and big band music and finish reading about Willie and Joe.