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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Special: An Alarmingly Violent Christmas with Sgt. Rock

With all the talk of holiday traditions over the past few weeks, there may be some of you out there wondering how Sgt. Rock, the toughest man in comics, spends his Christmas.


...It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

Sliding under your tree just in time for Christmas '86 comes "The Shining Star," by Robert Kanigher and Andy Kubert, and if there is a sweeter phrase in the English language than "A Christmas Combat Classic," I have yet to hear it.

Our story opens with the Rock of Easy reminiscing about a letter he got from his father during World War I, where Sgt. Rock Senior details his involvement in the Christmas Truce of 1914, which--not to get too sappy with my love of the holiday--still remains one of the most geniunely moving true Christmas stories of all time. Unfortunately for Sgt. Rock, this is World War II, which is how he ends up in Northern Italy on the lookout for Nazis.

And then, from the town, there arose such a clatter...

That Rock sends the bazooka to deal with the matter!

And that, I promise you, is the most Night Before Christmas parody you ever need to worry about from me. Best to be moving on.

As you might expect, the sudden arrival of a Nazi tank--which crashes out of a church on Christmas, just in case you forgot what kind of evil we're dealing with here--means that it's time once again for Easy Company to beat the living hell out of pretty much everybody, which plays excellently if you hum "Good King Winceslas" to yourself as you read it.

Whichever jaunty tune you choose to think of while seeing Little Sure Shot smack a Nazi with a rifle held like a baseball bat, it all ends with Sgt. Rock deciding to wander off into a snowstorm by himself, which you'd think they'd cover in Boot Camp. Clearly, this man is an army of one.

And that's when Giuseppe, Maria, and the donkey show up.

We can all see where this is headed, right? Maria's pregnant and thanks to the Nazis, there's no room at the inn, so they turn to Sgt. Rock, who leads them to a nearby manger cave, standing guard and sending Little Sure Shot in to help with the birth because--as he tells Rock in one of the funniest lines Kanigher ever wrote--"Indians have kids all the time."

Rock gets so caught up in worrying about Maria, however, that he doesn't notice the German patrol creeping up on him until the last minute, and while I'm reasonably certain that he could take out eleven enemy soldiers with a few well-placed snowballs under normal circumstances, Rock offers to surrender if they'll keep the poor couple safe. The Nazi sergeant doesn't believe him, though, and he and Rock are about to blow each other away when the baby finally gets around to being born and starts crying, which--while the worst possible thing to happen in a movie theater or restaurant--comes in surprisingly handy on the battlefields of the Second World War.

Thus, It's A Christmas Miracle!, and the Germans decide to let Rock and Sure Shot go peacefully, marking the only time in the history of DC Comics that Sgt. Rock didn't solve a problem by shooting it, punching it, or blowing it up. Although from what I can tell in the story, everybody just leaves Maria, Giuseppe, and their brand new infant in a cave in the middle of a blizzard two miles from where soldiers just blew up a tank, which, now that I think of it, doesn't seem very cheerful at all!

Seriously, Rock: How about a little follow-through next time?


Blogger LurkerWithout said...

You know this all reminds me that I've got an issue of the Savage Dragon somewhere, wherein Santa kicks the Easter Bunny in the painted eggs. Plus of course the recent Battle Pope reprint that has the Jesus vs. Santa fight...

12/20/2006 4:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have trouble seeing the Christmas truce as anything other then an anti-statist parable, because the boys in charge worked hard to crush it, lest their lands were swept up by the scourge of peace and the terror of mutual good-will.

Honestly, if anything, it just makes WW1 all the more depressing.

12/20/2006 4:19 AM

Blogger Sean Carter said...

Wow! That was a fun read. Hey Happy Holidays. Peep into My Blog for some unique and interesting Christmas related info.

12/20/2006 4:22 AM

Blogger Diamondrock said...

Actually, there is a "Church of the Nativity" in Bethlehem that is built over a *cave* that some say was the spot Jesus was really born.

Take away from that what you will...

12/20/2006 5:58 AM

Blogger Brett said...

"Indians have kids all the time."

That Sgt. Rock don't miss much. Of course if it had been somebody else with him he would have said "New Yorkers have kids all the time." or whatever it took to stick the poor schlub with the job.

12/20/2006 6:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read an interview with Dan DiDio yesterday, and when he mentioned the possibility of Sgt. Rock returning to monthly comics, I actually danced a jig here at work.

AND I'm not even Irish!

12/20/2006 7:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Humbly submitted, another Christmas Combat Classic, featuring Santa Claus fighting Nazi Battle Robots!


12/20/2006 9:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, if Dan Didio is looking to make a new Sgt. Rock series, he's going to leech all the fun out of the concept like a lamprey.

12/20/2006 9:41 AM

Blogger SallyP said...

Boy howdy, those Nazis do know how to spoil a good Christmas. Geez, even Darkseid wouldn't do that.

I can only assume that once it was Boxing day, Sgt. Rock tracked down those Nazis and fixed their little red wagon.

12/20/2006 10:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, no nazi-beating with an ammo belt?

12/21/2006 12:44 AM


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