Tuesday, August 26, 2014

“To kill, Drill Sergeant!” Virgil Partch military cartoons

I wrote this post in 2006, and with a couple of edits I am presenting it again.

Vip (Virgil Partch) was a cartoonist who was popular from the 1940s right up until his death in 1984. He did the “Big George” comic panel for national syndication for years, and filled up magazines with his bizarre cartoons. He was a master of grotesque line, as well as some pretty funny captions.

Last night I went through a couple of his old cartoon compilations, Water On The Brain (1945) and Armed Farces (1968). Some of Vip’s best subjects were military. I’m showing you some of my favorites.

The above cartoon reminds me of my basic training days and learning to use the bayonet. I planned on never getting that close to anyone who was trying to kill me, and especially with a bayonet. So I went through the drills half-assed. The drill sergeant had his routine down pretty well. After one ragtag attack by our platoon on the bayonet practice dummies, he screamed out, “YOU MEN DON'T LOOK LIKE YOU WANT TO KILL SOMEBODY! YOU LOOK LIKE YOU WANT TO MAKE LOVE!”

For some reason that hit me real funny and I started to snicker, then broke out into a big laugh. His response to that wasn’t to thank me for appreciating his good humor, but to put me down for 50 push-ups.

He also did a call-and-respond riff by yelling, “WHAT IS THE SPIRIT OF THE BAYONET?” and our answer back (we were coached, of course) in unison, was, “TO KILL, DRILL SERGEANT! TO KILL!” I was pissed off over the 50 push-ups. I stuck in an extra word, so what came out of my mouth was, “TO KILL THE DRILL SERGEANT! TO KILL!”

Despite Vip’s creativity, he wasn't above swiping from himself. The top cartoon is from 1945, the bottom from 1968.

The final cartoon is pure, vintage Vip. That's one tough sarge!

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