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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

30 Reasons to Love Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos

I've run out of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos issues on hand to read. This saddens me. I was having fun annoying Ragnell with plot reactions. This is not to say the series is ALL good. For one thing, it's got a couple of pretty awful moments of racism for all its well-meaningness and occasional attempts to seriously tackle racism in stories. (Which doesn't always go well, but I admire the attempt enough to have originally put it on this list. Then took it off because it's a serious sentiment that doesn't really fit the rest of this list.) The problematic moments tend to be at their worst when the team ends up going to Asia/Africa for a mission, which is thankfully rare.

I think it's mostly a product-of-its-time kind of thing, but it does once or twice get bad enough that I really do feel the need to preface this list with this warning rather than just launch into cheerfully enthusiastic recommendation.

That said, there are many things that I do love about this comic.


Things I love about Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos:

1. Nick Fury vs. German Tank. Come on, I don't need to tell you who wins that one.

2. Nick Fury's propensity for being half-naked.

3. When characters themselves joke about Nick Fury's propensity for being half-naked. (i.e. when Dum Dum Dugan is exploded upon and comes staggering up in rags, and Fury's all "you're copying my style now?" paraphrased of course.)

4. Dino Manelli being Faceman before Faceman ever existed.

5. Letter columns making fun of Nick Fury's propensity for being half-naked.

6. Eric Koenig's on-again off-again nazi-ism. Pick a side, man! :-P

7. Koenig's whole "Oh god, they'll never believe me!" reaction afterward. (Well Eric, maybe if you didn't kidnap your NCO and give him to the nazis without telling him first, people would trust you more! Also the fact that your mournful thoughts at Nick Fury's funeral were that you really wanted to fix him up with your sister is really funny.

-Dude, I love Nick Fury, but you must HATE your sister.)

8. Every time they heavy-handedly emphasize that Reb Ralston is not one of THOSE Southerners. And then he gets to lasso things. :-) Because that's what jockeys do.

9. The gratuitous way pretty much every one-shot Howler dies at the end of the issue. (Though the one with the deserter was pretty genuinely shocking/heart wrenching.)

10. Izzy Cohen's kids.

11. Gabe Jones's fiancee. Whatever happened to her? Isn't he dating Peggy Carter now, or did I just hallucinate that? Still, the fiancee was pretty cool.

12. That one Nazi disguised as a janitor, who has a metal fist, and ACTUALLY SHAKES IT in anticipation of his wrath.

13. Any time one of the Howlers says the phrase "Music to my shell-like ears!" with regard to Nick's ranting. It happens a lot.

14. The fact that Nick really has gotten saner with age.

15. That in the future, Nick's code word to verify to his former comrades that a message is from him is a string of insults and/or curses.

16. That Percival Pinkerton is simultaneously the most absurd American stereotype of a Brit ever, up to and including all the stereotypical slang: "I say, old chap" "Old bean" "Cheerio!", wearing short shorts with a beret and a pom-pom, and constantly carrying around an umbrella that he calls a "bumbershoot" and also the single most badass member of the Howling Commandos ever. Seriously. Including Nick fucking Fury.

17. The guy manages, while hanging onto the hood of a truck, to STEER IT WITH THE HANDLE OF HIS UMBRELLA. Also in the future, he becomes Hugh Hefner. Complete with scantily clad girls dressed as bunnies.

18. Gabe Jones using his trumpet as an offensive weapon. And not by hitting people with it. Though he's done that too.

19. Seeing tiny Jake Fury and realizing he is equally as moronic as a 20-year-old as he is as Scorpio. Seriously. Nick apparently got the ONLY share of brains in that family.

20. The sheer non-entity that is Jonathan Juniper.

21. Nick Fury fighting a fellow non-com to defend poor Private Steve Rogers. (With bonus Undercover Bucky!)

22. Running smack-head-first into Marvel's stretchy rubber timeline when Nick encounters a young "Major Richards."

23. Dum Dum Dugan's wife.

24. Dum Dum Dugan.

25. The fact that the psychologist who manages to save Nick's sanity after a month of convalescence ACTUALLY SAYS: "In spite of what I've done for you, it is I who owe you! For if you hadn't cracked up, your Howlers would never have rescued me."

Which, true. But dude! Harsh! Fortunately it's heavily implied by the last panel that Nick is planning undue and ungrateful violence against the jerk. Go Nick!

26. Baron von Strucker's seeming obsession with putting Nick into half-naked bondage.

27. They blew Pamela Hawley the fuck up. And then brought in a lookalike nazi spy to mess with Nick's head. It's cliched, but honestly I hated her anyway.

28. Happy Sam Sawyer's mancrush on his favorite sergeant.

29. Nick Fury's dad fighting the Red Baron!

30. Nick Fury.


  • At September 23, 2008 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nick Fury's greatest enemy in the war wasn't the Nazis, but shirts, it seems.

  • At September 23, 2008 11:27 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    You realize of course, that Percival IS my favorite Howler.

    Wait...the Red Baron? I thought that was a different war?

  • At September 23, 2008 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Red Baron was WWI, but I think she meant that Nick Fury's father faught him during WWI. Of course, if I'm wrong, then I'm really confused and must ask if any of Marvel's writers were aware of the term historical continuity.

    Why can't modern Nick Fury remember his most dastardly enemy; the western fashions which require men to wear shirts? At least when not doing very physical jobs or working out.

  • At September 23, 2008 12:41 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Willow-Bee is correct. I was unclear. Nick's dad fought in WWI against the Red Baron.

    A surprisingly dapper fellow, our senior Mr. Fury was.

  • At September 23, 2008 6:01 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    31. They were in that awesome Dr. Strange 2-part corssover from the early 80's by Roger Stern, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin.

  • At September 23, 2008 9:56 PM, Blogger Will Staples said…

    32. Its title is Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos. That alone should earn it some points.

  • At September 26, 2008 1:18 PM, Blogger googum said…

    This might be another issue, but I gotta say, Sgt. Fury, isn't as good a comic as Sgt. Rock; but Fury's cooler, more fun, and probably more effective than Rock. After all, what's the casualty rate on the Howling Commandos compared to Easy Company? Hell, I think the Howlers actually picked up some extras...

  • At September 26, 2008 3:24 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    The Howlers ended with one person more than they started. Junior Juniper was killed early on and replaced by Percival Pinkerton. Then Eric Koenig joined up.

    Every so often the Howlers would get a new member, and sometimes that one would die in battle, but not always. I think the football player just lost his leg, the bigot got injured and went home, the deserter got himself firing squadded...

    So I'd suspect you're right about the mortality rate. :-)


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