In one issue you received a letter that equated
the Vietnam veterans to Nazi death camp guards.
In your response you said, ďIt is people like you
that made the Vietnam vetsí homecoming the shame it
was.Ē Do you think the public has since
changed its mentality in regard to soldiers.
Whereas now when people are against a conflict it they
understand it is the government and not the soldiers
they should be demonstrating against.
I think the mentality has shifted but I think the
mentality has shifted because of the Vietnam vets and
the people who fled the Vietnam War, and the people
who went to Canada, being reintegrated into the
population. I donít think you can help but
have a change in the way people look at things when
you put a couple hundred thousand people who were
involved in that situation back into the
population. They have families and they talk to
people and so on. Itís an attitude that was
wrong at the time and now itís changed because the
people who were wrong have come back into general
As a comic book writer and also as a Vietnam
veteran, do you feel comic book writers should have a
responsibility to portray soldiers in a certain and
moral light, and not fall upon stereotypes?
I donít know if thereís a responsibility to do
that. I think that writers of all kinds have a
responsibility to be even-handed. Not all
soldiers are bad guys, not all soldiers are good
guys. You kind of portray it that way. If
you look at the Sgt. Rock comics where heís a
hero, and everyone in an American uniform is
essentially a hero, I donít think that was right
either. I think you need a balance.
Keep in mind that most comic book writers,
especially these days, are young guys. Sam
Glanzman and I may be the last two comic guys left
with extensive wartime experiences. Maybe a
couple others. So theyíre writing from what
they read and what theyíve seen in movies and
TV. Thereís going to be a kind of skewing of
perceptions. I donít think thereís anything
you can do about that. All I would like to see
from a readerís point of view is balance.
One of the things that bothers me about the comic
industry these days, and even the Buyerís Guide
which I read regularly, is that very skewed towards a
liberal view of the world, which Iím not convinced
is the right view.
You also worked on a Dark Horse series called Medal
of Honor. What was the story behind that?
Basically they contacted me and asked me if I would
be interested in doing it. It started off
because the Medal of Honor Society and Dark Horse had
reached an agreement where the Medal of Honor Society
would make all the stories of the Medal of Honor
winners available to us to use. And, in return
for their participation in the profit side of things,
would also see that the book was sold in PXís and
military reservations. So we went ahead under
those circumstances. Actually, it was kind of
interesting doing the research for that book and I
would have liked to have done more.
But as time passed it became apparent that the
Medal of Honor Society wasnít really meeting their
obligations. We had a few problems with widows
or relatives of some of the people we were trying to
do stories on telling us we werenít allowed to do
it. Which is something that weíd already had
clearance on from the Society. So that was the
real reason that we ended up canceling the book
because (a) we lost a big part of our perceived sales
because they never got us into the PXís and military
reservations, and (b) because we were having copyright
problems that we hadnít anticipated.
How many issues was it supposed to have gone
It was an open-ended series. It was never
supposed to be limited. I actually wrote about
16 issues of stories with about 14 issues actually
drawn. I think 12 came out, and one was put
inside Dark Horse Presents in one format or
another and the others are either finished or
unfinished in the artistís possession at this point.
Joe Kubert worked on some of them, correct?
Joe Kubert did a cover. Some of the artwork
was actually brilliant. Simonson did a nice
cover for me.
Kubert actually met or knew one of the people
featured in the book.
Yeah. And I met one or two of them.
I also did a Flying Tigers project. The
history of the Chennaultís Flying Tigers, which was
a fully-painted book by a guy named Naperstak, who was
a Popular Mechanics cover artist. The guy
was a brilliant artist. And we did it for the
guyís who did the Turtles, Peter Lairdís
company. They went out of business before they
were able to publish it because the artist took
forever. Itís too bad because I got to
interview a bunch of the Flying Tigers and I thought
the story worked out pretty well.
Not too many people know about the Flying
Now? If you go to an air show, pretty much
everybody. If you talk to somebody in high
school, I figure pretty much nobody. I think it
would have found an audience, but I think it would
have been a typical audience these days for that kind
Do you think there is a market for
history-themed comic books? Most of the comics
coming out now still revolve around superheroes.
I donít know. I donít know what the
future of the comic book industry is, generally.
I know that some of the projects that have been done
that are not superhero books have been
successful. But theyíre downsized from the
superheroes. Iím not sure you can do a project
like that for a big company today and be successful
because Iím not sure they can promote it
properly. I think if you do it for a smaller
company, or do it independently, you have a better
But again, the way the comic industry is, and the
way the numbers keep dropping, Iím not sure. I
think the industry is going to have to change
somewhat. Because I donít think weíre in a
time period now where people read for enjoyment.
Itís not an entertainment field anymore.
Youngsters donít. They play videogames or they
watch TV. And I donít think comics have
reacted well to that. I think weíve lost an
audience. We lost a generation when the
speculator phase went on. I think that might
eventually kill the industry. I hope thatís
not the case. I hope they find a way to come
back. But at the moment, I just donít see
anything happening where you can get the right kind of
audience for that kind of book.
Do you think movies are more conducive, at least
at this point in time, in telling war or history
I think the current generation of youngsters, the
12-18 year old if you will, are conditioned to
looking at a screen and having it tell the story,
rather than to turning a page and telling the story
inside their own head. So I would have to say
With the launching of Marvel's new mature
audiences line, if given the opportunity, would you
still be interested in doing a one-shot or a mini that
featured Ed Marks going back to Vietnam? Or any
story that looks back on the main characters?
I'd love to do anything of the sort -- I have a
Mark's return story laid out and ready to go. It
would be fun to go back that way, although I don't
think Iíd like to go in the real world.
Finally, are you working on any current comic
No comics at the moment -- Iíve done a couple of
novels (Blood Relations for Harper/Prism and Call
To Battle for White Wolf) and am currently working
on a children's book.
Slush thanks Doug Murray both for his participation
in this interview and for his service to our
country. Be sure to check out last year's
interviews with Doug Murray, Dan DeCarlo, Will Eisner,
and Joe Kubert.
Interview with Will Eisner
Interview with Joe Kubert
Interview with Dan DeCarlo
Interview with Doug Murray
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