By John L. Daniels, Jr.
In the late 1960s I had an action figure named Captain Action. The figure had different costumes to portray as your favorite superhero: Batman, Aquaman, Buck Rogers, the Green Hornet, and yep you guessed it, Sgt. Rock.
I remember in the 1970s DC comics had super-sized their titles and called them “DC Spectaculars” with 100 pages to an issue. Of these, I collected the The Brave and the Bold, where Batman teamed up with various superheroes and with their combined efforts, they saved the day. One of my favorites was the team-up with an unlikely DC character named Sgt. Rock. The Sarge (what men of his company would call him) had no super powers, no costume, no fancy gimmick; he was just a plain old soldier fighting for his country.
Who is this hero named Sgt. Rock, why is he such an icon among the baby boomer comic book readers?
I was curious about what others thought of this comic icon, so I asked two of my friends Neil Philip and Mark Jenkins who were Sgt. Rock readers during the bronze age of comics.
I liked the Sgt. Rock comics for a number of reasons. The artwork was great compared to other comics of the time (particularly Kubert's distinctive style), the story lines were compelling, and the characters of Easy Company were easier to identify with than costumed superheroes. I also grew to like the slightly surreal/supernatural tone that the later comics in the series had.
— Neil Philip
I think I started reading Sergeant Rock because of the Russ Heath artwork. I thought it was very dramatic and realistic down to the tiniest detail. I may be wrong, but I think Joe started the series, then Heath stepped in and drew it for a while, then it was back to Joe. Anyway, once started, I kept reading for a while, gradually picked up older ones, when I could appreciate Joe's artwork.
I don't know, I just got a kick out of reading them. Sergeant Rock would get wounded a lot. He can't have anything left in his shoulders, or sides, or thighs, because those areas were always patched up at the end of every other story seemingly.
After posing this question to my friends, I thought why not ask the great one himself, Joe Kubert!
I asked Mr. Joe Kubert a few questions concerning his longtime association with Sgt. Frank Rock and here is what he had to say:
John Daniels: Mr. Kubert, what attracted you to the character
Sgt. Frank Rock?
Joe Kubert: Bob Kanigher, who was my editor, was also the author/creator of Sgt. Rock. His writing was graphic and compelling and instilled an interest in me to illustrate his stories and the character of Sgt Rock.
JD: You have drawn and written many tales of Sgt. Rock and Easy Company. Is there any particular story that stands out?
JK: Yes, I have written some Sgt. Rock stories. The one that stands out in my mind is titled: “Stop the war… I want to get off.”
JD: Mr. Kubert, you are
an icon in the comic book industry; do you feel that the character Sgt.
Rock is one as well?
JK: The term ‘icon’ is a difficult one for me to handle. Sgt. Rock, to me, is a proven product. How else could he have lasted as long as he has?
JD: Mr. Kubert, how does it feel to be working with your
sons Adam and Andy on the return of Sgt. Frank Rock and Easy
JK: Absolutely great!
JD: Mr. Kubert, I have been a fan of yours for years; my first introduction with your work was in the bronze age of comics in the 1970's. With characters like the Unknown Soldier, Enemy Ace, I even read Tarzan, Son of Tarzan and Tor. Are we going to see any more revisiting of these characters by you and your sons anytime soon?
JK: I've a number of projects in the offing, but, too soon
to mention at this time. But there's a good chance that one of the
characters you've mentioned will be seeing print in the foreseeable
JD: Thank you so much Mr. Kubert for taking the time to answer a few questions for us at Comiccritique.com. You are truly an icon and a mentor to others in the world of comics.
JK: Thank you for the interest in my work. Outside of the
personal pleasure I get from doing these stories, the fact that others
enjoy them adds a great deal more gratification.