Although war stories have long been a part of the comic book world, far too often the U.S fighting man has been portrayed as little more than a faceless pawn or a 2-dimensional caricature. Sometimes the wars they fought and died in became mere backdrops in the dopey desperation of selling just one more comic book.
To be sure, some war comics genuinely tried to portray soldiers and the wars they fought in with some degree of accuracy, empathy, and appreciation...but sadly, the vast majority of them fell far short of that. Let me be the first to admit I've enjoyed some of these crazy takes on war, but whenever Memorial Day rolls around, I realize just how stupid alot of that stuff was...and feel a bit ashamed for allowing it to obscure the true heroism and sacrifice made by so many fighting men.
So, on this Memorial Day, I need to remember these soldiers not as green plastic toys, dinosaur-hunters, or buffoonish cartoons...but as real people with real histories who gave everything they had.
For those seeking that same sort of clarity, I heartily recommend picking up War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars. Featuring the letters of actual soldiers from the Civil War through the conflicts of the 90's, they offer some great insights into the lives (and deaths) of the American fighting man.