Today is Veteran’s Day and About Comics publisher Nat Gertler wrote to let us know about a book he just put out that’s pretty appropriate to preview: Vic the Vet, a once popular strip about a homecoming WWII vet by an actual veteran. Be forewarned, some of the humor speaks to an earlier sensibility. I’ll let Nat explain the rest:
The World War II Veteran Who Told His Tales In Cartoons
Once American servicemen had won World War II, they came home, turned civilian, and (thanks to the government-funded program known as the GI Bill) turned into college students. One such soldier-turned-freshman was Gabe Josephson, a Purple Heart recipient who had fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Gabe’s new battlefield was Syracuse University, and he turned his struggles there into a series of singe-panel cartoons called “Vic the Vet.”
Launching in 1946 in the campus paper, the Syracuse Daily Orange, “Vic the Vet” showed Gabe’s stand-in Vic dealing with being an ex-soldier in academia. The cartoons are a humorous picture not just of the special viewpoint of a veteran at school, but also of the fashions of the moment, the war between the sexes, and campus life in general.
“Vic the Vet” proved popular enough that in 1947, Syracuse University Press put out a book collection of the strip. That collection has been out of print for well over half a century. Specialty publisher About Comics just released a new 70th anniversary edition which features not only all the cartoons from the original collection, but two additional cartoons as well as annotations for readers who may not get all of the references from the era.
As for Gabe Josephson, he went on to have a career as a cartoonist and illustrator, including freelance work for such clients as Disney, Sesame Street, and the New York Times Book Review.
Vic the Vet: 70th Anniversary Edition (ISBN: 1936404656) is a 108-page black-and-white 6″x9″ paperback with color covers.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.