Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let's quaff a root beer with Bill Mauldin

Born today in 1921, two time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Bill Mauldin would have been 88 years old today.

Himself a decorated infantryman (he was wounded at Anzio), he began drawing cartoons for The Stars and Stripes, often centering on two soldiers named "Willie and Joe".

I don't pretend to know a lot about this member of "the greatest generation", but I do have a feeling for the important contribution he made to us humans.

In the propaganda thick war years, Bill wrote and drew a cartoon for the grunts that were doing the work. The jarheads and squids and wingnuts and dogfaces that were out there on the front lines getting shot at and getting dirty, who were away from the Hollywood war bond drives and parades.

He wrote and drew what the guy who just wanted to go home was experiencing. And was doing it just for the boys over there.

Here's some "Willie and Joe" strips.

Showing his recognition and appreciation for what Bill did all those decades ago, Charles Schulz paid tribute to him in his own strip "Peanuts". Himself a veteran of WWII, Schulz would, every year on Veterans Day from 1969-1999, send Snoopy to Bill Mauldin's house to "Quaff a few root beers and tell war stories.".

Thanks Bill for making an impact on the little guy.

We appreciate it.

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