Hellion for Hire: SGT ROCK'n Round The Christmas Tree

I’d like to take a moment for thank everyone for all your wonderful words of encouragement regarding the “Sgt. Rock – The Lost Battalion” Hard Cover.  Everyone involved worked very, very hard to bring you as best a collection as possible, and we all appreciate your support! I’ve received several emails from folks telling me that they were just as sad seeing it end as I was -- and that too is very appreciated.   

That said, I’m pleased to announce to you all the “Return of Sgt. Rock” – as everyone’s favorite soldier appears in this week’s DC Holiday Special 2009!

 

As you know, I had such a swell time working on Sgt. Rock that I pleaded to do another story, and by the grace of God, DC editors Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman obliged.  

Just like “The Lost Battalion” this story is inspired by actual events that occurred to a real veteran, 501st PIR (101st Airborne) 1st Sgt. Donald L. Deam on Christmas Eve, 1944.   It also serves as homage not only to 1st Sgt. Deam (who sadly passed away in October of 2008) but also to Chuck Dixon and Russ Heath.  “A Peace On Earth” isn’t the first Sgt. Rock Christmas story set in Bastogne during the apex of the Bulge, that distinction goes to Mr.’s Dixon and Heath masterly crafted a wonderful Sgt. Rock story, “A Christmas Carol” that was published in the DCU Holiday Bash II (1998).  Their story tenderly shows a side of Sgt. Rock not often witnessed as it’s an intimate portrayal of the man behind the stripes, and focuses on just what the strain of three years of combat can do on the most iron of men.  Again, it’s just wonderful and takes place on Christmas Day, so I hope both see that my putting “A Peace On Earth” on Christmas Eve reads like a nice “prequel” to theirs, and if both are read together, fit pretty nicely.

Here it is in striking black and white and thank you Chuck and Russ for the inspiration!

Since I’m a reference fanatic and wanted everything to be as “correct” as possible, I once again called in my friends from the reenacting community, and as before, they preformed above and beyond the call of duty.  My good buddies Jim Michaud and Jim Vereline lent me whatever authentic (and irreplaceable) equipment and weapons to outfit Rock and the German NCO he encounters near Bastogne on that frigid Christmas Eve.  Next, Mike and Domo Falcone took time out of their busy schedules to and came down to New York from the Constitution State on a balmy September weekend to, (after a nice evening of dinner and Scotch) lend their services as the aforementioned World War II enemies.  It really was a fun weekend -- well it was for me at least, as I didn’t have to suffer through 80-degree heat beneath quilted winter wear as even my son William wanted to get into the act.  He went so far as to dress up as Batman and terrorize the local Burger King after the photo shoot brandishing an Air Soft MP40 with his “Sgt. Rock” and “Uncle Domo”!

I also need to mention something that will serve as nice Christmas present to any lover of historical fiction or just plain ole’ great art and story telling, -- History Graphics Press’ Civil War Adventure, a 150-page graphic novel telling tales of The War Between the States by Chuck Dixon and Gary Kwapisz.

Uncovering the voices of those who suffered, survived and even triumphed over the darkest period of the United States, this important graphic novel series is a welcome addition to schools, libraries, and your own bookshelf.  Hands, down, Dixon and Kwapisz'  "Civil War Adventure" is most entertaining "history lesson" I've ever had! The first edition sports 144 pages and is only $14.95 plus $3.00 shipping and handling.  So please take a moment and check out their website, I assure you won’t be disappointed!

Well now it’s back to drawing “Jonah Hex” for Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey!  I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more news, artwork, and a new “Hero of the Day” segment.  Until then, then, stay safe, and pick up the DC Holiday Special 2009.  Though I haven’t read many of the stories myself, there was one that perticualarly stuck me light a lightning bolt of genius.  It comes from Beau Smith and Gary Kwapisz, and stars none other than, believe it or not, “B’Wana Beast!  DC too, felt the story to be so powerful that they saw fit make it the finale’ of the entire book!  I was really pleasantly taken off guard by its originality, action and understanding behind the meaning of Christmas. Give me more B’Wana Beast!!!!

Oh, one final note.  There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t receive an email from the readers of this column enquiring about purchasing some original artwork from “Sgt. Rock – The Lost Battalion”.  Well, in the spirit of this Holiday Season, I’ve decided to part with one of the covers from the series, so if you’re interested please check out this link:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=350288490651&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

I really don’t sell much of my artwork, so I hope the low price will reflect my deepest appreciation for all the support to the series and my career in general – plus it’ll help me by my wife Deborah something really nice for Christmas!

So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and I’ll see you in a few weeks!

Billy

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