Robert Fisk: War comics have left us a bloody legacy
IN the late 1950s, my father would drop by Reynolds' paper shop in Maidstone High Street to buy pipe tobacco for himself and comics for me. War comics, 64 pages of pocket-sized violence in which heroic Brits shot, stabbed, strangled or bombed Germans and Japanese. 'Skyraiders', 'Burma Patrol', 'Stalingrad', 'Sons of Glory', 'Armoured Punch', The 'Burning Sky', all avidly digested by 12-year-old Robert.
There on page five of 'One Man's War' was a boastful Rommel in 1940, telling his officers that the French army had collapsed. "Excellent," says one of them. "And those British dogs will be wiped out."
A Tommy shoots down a Stuka with a rifle as the pilot rants: "Cringe beneath the Luftwaffe, you English ... AAAAGH!" "Those British pigs have used up their ammunition," another Nazi cries. "Sweep this English offal into the wadi," shouts a soldier in the Afrika Korps. "Grind the English pigs into the dirt," orders a German officer after D-Day. "Donner und blitzen! It is the Americans! ACHTUNG!"