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Willie & Joe, Vol. 1 Hardcover – April 28, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 650 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; First Edition edition (April 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560978384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560978381
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 3.2 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,292,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* To the generation that lived through World War II, Mauldin’s iconic infantrymen Willie and Joe personified the beleaguered, resigned dogface who won the war. Mauldin began drawing for his division’s newspaper shortly after joining the army in 1940. Three years later he landed in Sicily, and his work began appearing in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes as well as on the home front. His bristle-faced foot soldiers endured life on the frontlines with heavy-lidded weariness and resigned humor. Mauldin’s ink-laden drawings conveyed the harsh conditions the troops endured, although military censorship prevented him from showing the true horrors of combat. While his cartoons were beloved by the soldiers, he frequently ran afoul of the brass, most famously General Patton, who thought that Mauldin’s goal was to “create disrespect for officers.” His battlefield efforts were recognized stateside when Mauldin became the youngest Pulitzer Prize winner in history, and they launched a career as an editorial cartoonist that continued four decades after the war. These two lovingly designed, khaki-green, slipcased volumes collect all 600-plus Mauldin WWII cartoons. They’re an essential complement to editor DePastino’s Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front (2008)—and to every good WWII collection. --Gordon Flagg


“Mauldin’s characters were bluntly honest: War was dirty, absurd, bitter hardwork.” (Todd Leopold - CNN )

“These gritty, existential cartoons—everything Mauldin published during the war that still exists is compiled here—are the real deal and then some.” (Laurel Maury - NPR )

“Mauldin's drawings of his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines.” (Bob Greene - )

“This collection of all of Mauldin’s World War II work stands out…a worthy platform for a series of brilliant strips drawn with a lively hand.” (Rob Clough - High-Low )

Willie & Joe is an extraordinarily compiled and presented tribute to Bill Mauldin, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who chronicled life in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1945. The set is bound in army green canvas and typeset in the font of an old manual typewriter, the kind an army clerk might have used during the Second World War. The collection is a sensory delight, pleasing to touch and beautiful to see. ... For the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, for the man who was once America’s most celebrated enlisted man, Willie & Joe is a fitting, and wonderful, tribute.” (David Mitchell - BiblioBuffet )

“This compilation of his cartoons helps bring Mauldin’s talent and his life at the front lines both to historians and a new generation.” (Samuel M. Baker - ARMY Magazine )

“The cartoonist’s humanistic brush paints a sober picture of war that a newscamera can never achieve. These GIs resonate with real pathos; eachcartoon, however jocular, emanates weariness and resignation.” (James Sturm - Print Magazine )

“[An] amazing and beautiful collection.” (Rick Kogan - Chicago Tribune )

“First and foremost, Willie & Joe are funny. …[I]t's an absorbing glimpse into the day to day life of soldiers while it was happening and the end not known. It's easy to identify with: employees in any capacity gripe about their bosses. But the more specific Mauldin is, the more biting and fascinating his work is.” (Michael Giltz - The Huffington Post )

“Mauldin was arguably the greatest war correspondent of his day.” (Steven Grant - Comic Book Resources )

“Cartoonist Bill Mauldin was a genius at bringing the experiences of World War II home to the moms and dads, kids, wives or girlfriends of the GIs on the front lines in a very human way. ... To my knowledge, none of our wars since has produced a chronicler anywhere near the greatness of Mauldin.” (Wesley G. Hughes - San Bernadino County Sun )

“[A] terrific two-volume collection of the legendary Bill Mauldin's 'GI Joe' cartoons from 'the last good war'... Fantagraphics gives us a comprehensive collection of the cartoons that fellow enlisted man Mauldin created during the war, both for civilians and fellow soldiers alike... [T]his compendium is both a great time capsule, and a fitting tribute to an American original.” (Mark London Williams - The SF Site: Nexus Graphica )

“Many World War II veterans would surely appreciate seeing these strips again, and anyone who studies that conflict ought to be fascinated by Mauldin's unglamorous take on the drudgery, fear and absurdity of Army life.” (David Allen - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin )

“There’s a sad wisdom on virtually every page here.” (Jeff Salamon - The Austin American-Statesman )

“Bill Mauldin was my first artist hero, and Willie & Joe: The WWII Years reminds me why.” (Steven Heller - The New York Times Book Review )

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed reading this book along with his other book up front.
Bill Mauldin was a most notable standout in the cartoon dpeartment while his counterpart in the writing department could be said to be Ernie Pyle.
Robert Badgley
This is an excellent set of books, with a wonderful and informative introduction by Todd DePastino.
R. Stolzer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Eric Galgay on June 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a veteran of the army (1st Bn 75 Inf ) I could relate to the situations that Willie and joe found themselves in.The humor that soldiers see in different situations can be appreciated by soldiers and civilians alike. Mr. Mauldin illustrates these situations very well and has clever captions to go with them. If you ever wondered what army life is like or want to remember some of the situations you as a soldier were in, then take a look at these two books. If you enjoy them half as much as I do then you will be very happy you bought them. Happy reading.
"Rangers Lead The Way"
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. Stolzer on May 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent set of books, with a wonderful and informative introduction by Todd DePastino. The reproduction quality of Mauldin's cartoons is quite good, especially considering the original source material in some cases. One can tell that this was a true labor of love. To see everything in one place is a real treat. Thank you Fantagraphics and Todd DePastino!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert Badgley on July 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you know anything of World War Two,or you want to know,this two-volume set is a must have to add to your library.No,there are no battles to see or learn about or long winded dissertations on this general or that leader.Instead it is a most pleasant excursion into what it is like to be in the military/battle from the viewpoint of the ordinary soldier.Let's make it clear,the author of these "excursions" was first and foremost a soldier like every other,except he had a talent,a prediliction if you will,to see the humour in the world about him.Thankfully others saw his talents also and let him engage them and us with his comments on the human condition through his remarkable series of cartoons.
This set is in two volumes and the first one contains an opening mini-bio of Mauldin by Todd Depastino, who also wrote a more detailed biography in "Life Up Front",a few years ago.This sets the tone and gives you a nice heads up on the man himself and what is to come.Volume one says it goes from 1940-1943 but technically it starts in 1938 and one cartoon from Mauldin's high school days.The material through to late 1940 are cartoons he did for "Arizona Highways".From then on it's miltary life all the way; basic training until shipping overseas in late 1943.Volume Two picks up where One left off in late 1943 where he is in North Africa.He then moves into Europe via Italy and France where it ends mid-to late 1945 as the troops re-enter civilian life.
As the author points out in the beginning these cartoons are all the ones of this period that they have been able to find.There may be more that surface in the future and those will be included in any amended editions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Philip S. Wolf on November 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Horn on July 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My dad was a WWII veteran and I myself am an Army retiree. I grew up with my dad's voice singing the praises of the two timeless WWII Gi's, "Willie and Joe", their equipment, fellow soldiers, leaders and wartime circumstances. The infantrymen of WWII bore the brunt of the fighting, suffering and dying, and this is an earthly, sympathetic editorial in pictures of the empathy Mauldin had for them. A masterful tribute.

Looking thru the first volume, it was fascinating to see Mauldin 'grow' as he and the war both matured. For all the 'glory' there is in war, Bill got the other parts of it ever so right. No fan of the brass - he did a fair job of keeping many of his own views out of the artwork and minimal text. The best of his best will endure the sands of time to portray that generation of soldiers for posterity.

Bill Mauldin has penned a masterpiece that he spent the rest of his life trying to duplicate - but in my humble opinion, with only momentary successes. My father, like most WWII veterans has passed to his great reward - and I also am near retirement from my second career - my military career ended after 27 years in 1996. This set of books honors my dad and all of his generation who kept us free.

I'm unapoligetic as to my fondness for great military memorabilia - and this two volume, high quality publication graces the coffee table of our living room where we entertain. We have many other books for conversation - but this tops the favorites list of my generation of friends and older individuals who we respect and treasure.

My biggest fear is that this collection may be lost on future generations as the wounds and exploits of WWII are fading in the non-teaching of history to our children.
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