From the oilve drab volumes that resemble Quartermaster's records books, to the most complete collection of cartoons of Willie & Joe (along with many friends and enemies.) This is the edition that we have all been waiting for. There are over 600 cartoons featured in these two wonderful books that tell the tale of our nation's two greatest Dogfaces...Willie & Joe. From a cartoon lifted from the Phoenix Union High School newspaper of 1938 to their return to New York City in July 1945, this is the largest collection of Bill Mauldin's cartoon work of the wartime adventures of Willie & Joe, that has ever been compliled into one crowning set.
This is an evolution of Bill Mauldin and where he was from 1940 until returning back to the USA in the summer of 1945 as a very different person than he was just five years earlier. Arizona, Chicago, Oklahoma, (now in an Army uniform) Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and finally into Germany. Bill, indeed got around as much or more than Willie & Joe did, many thousands of miles of mud and dirt was logged by all of these soldiers. The entire time Bill was moving, training and getting into trouble he was documenting everything around him that morphs into these wonderful cartoons of Army life during the nation's biggest War ever fought. The style of this cartoon master changes within the pages of this book as Bill was changing from a boy to a seasoned Veteran that was in the middle of the big show.
There is an 18 page biography about Bill's experiences of this period where he was one of the most popular enlisted men in the world. The rest of these 600+ pages are devoted to the cartoons that made him such a famous young man so quickly. There is as much good ol' fashion American spirit as history found within the pages of these two volumes of art. And this is quite glorious to see presented in such a fine manner. These books were produced with heart and two tons of research by the editors.
Of all that sing the praises of Bill Mauldin's cartoon works from Dwight D. Eisenhower to the fantastic author Stephen E. Ambrose, I'd like to add my two cents worth and say that: "Up Front" was one of the earliest books I ever saw and enjoyed (and I could hardly read the words as I was still in Kindergarden at the time) and Bill was one of the main reasons I started to enjoy books as a part of my life. Bill Mauldin, is important to my life, and this document of his wartime experiences is a great piece of American Folk Art, that anybody will enjoy. This is a fantastic set of great cartoon history.
My highest rating,