Skip to comments.TUCCI BRINGS SGT. ROCK BACK IN "THE LOST BATTALION"
Posted on 09/16/2007 8:10:47 PM PDT by Stonewall Jackson
With his regular ongoing title cancelled 20 years ago, Sgt. Rock returns to DC Comics in 2008 in the six-issue mini-series, "The Lost Battalion," written and illustrated by Billy Tucci ("Shi").
In a somewhat ironic twist, CBR News spoke with the Eisner-award nominated creator on the sixth anniversary of 9/11 about the iconic military figure - a connection not lost on Tucci.
"Above all else this is a human story," said Tucci of his factually-based Rock story. "It's based on actual events and I've worked very hard crafting around the truth. I want to pay homage to the men and women who have fought for the United States and paid the ultimate sacrifice."
Tucci disagrees with the notion that a World War II story featuring Sgt. Rock may not resonate with today's comic book reader when media outlets like CNN tell real-life war stories every day.
"As for CNN telling real life stories of soldiers, I haven't seen it," said Tucci. "I know Robin Meade has a small video salute to those serving, but to me CNN doesn't cover our troops unless they are killed. Then it seems that they skew it into a political angle and not one that celebrates the person's beliefs and life. That said, the real heroes of the events have been largely ignored and their story must be told.
"Since it's so early, I cannot give away too many details about my story but I will in due time," Tucci continued. "When I first wrote the story it brought tears to my eyes. It's that powerful."
John Milius, who co-wrote the screenplay for "Apocalypse Now" with Francis Ford Coppola and wrote and directed "Red Dawn," provides some dialogue and creative guidance for "Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion" while Mark Sparacio ("Heroes for Hire," "Green Lantern") will be painting the covers from Tucci's pencils.
Tucci revealed the six-issue mini-series won't be numbered in the traditional way and may provide more bang for the buck than most books it competes with during its run, as well.
"The events [in the six issues] take place over seven days. Each issue won't be numbered but rather titled by day," explained Tucci. "For example, #1 will have Day 1 printed on the book's cover. I'm dying to tell the story, but again, must be vague at the moment. It looks like the issues will also be 30 pages each, but that hasn't been solidified as yet. It would be great to have 30 pages, though."
Originally created by writer Joe Kanigher and artist Joe Kubert, Frank Rock first appeared in "G.I. Combat" #68 in January, 1959. The story was written by Bob Haney.
"It was the only comic I read as a kid," said Tucci. "Joe Kubert, Robert Kanigher and Frank Redondo [who provided inks] are my heroes!"
In 1977, the name of "G.I. Combat" was changed to "Sgt. Rock" and the title enjoyed 11 more years of publication until #422 in July, 1988.
Tucci says the fact Frank Rock is an ordinary man is reason why he has remained a popular character for comic book readers for nearly 50 years.
"He has no powers and does not flaunt his capabilities with garish costumes," said Tucci. "He doesn't want to be where he is, but he does his job. He's an ordinary United States Infantryman, and that alone makes him incredibly extraordinary."
According to Tucci, the story takes place in October, 1944.
"It is after D-Day and Easy Company has been transferred to the 36th Division," said Tucci, who revealed many of Sgt. Rock's long-serving supporting characters will return for "The Lost Battalion" including Bulldozer, Wildman, Ice Cream Soldier, Little Sure Shot, Tag Along and "a bunch of others."
Tucci said originally he and Milius approached DC in June of this year about turning a script Milius wrote in the 1980s for a proposed film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger into a comic book series.
"It's an amazing script," said Tucci. "But since Joel Silver owns the script we couldn't do it. Dan Didio asked me if I had another pitch and I said, 'Oh yeah!' I wrote up a two-page pitch and John loved it. I then sent it to DC and in a matter of hours of me meeting Dan Didio for the first time it was approved. Mike Marts was assigned the editor. I then wrote an issue by issue/ page by page treatment of the series. Again, John loved it, had a few notes, I agreed, changed them and sent it off to DC. They seemed real happy with it. My wife, my harshest critic, but staunchest supporter, thinks it's the best thing I've ever written."
That's saying a lot considering his creation "Shi" has been nominated for multiple Eisner awards.
While "Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion" is taking up most of his time, Tucci is also working on some covers and is currently writing the second draft of the screenplay for a "Shi" film.
He also has a color edition of "Zombie-sama!" going to press next week, which he hopes readers will pick up while they wait for Day 1 of "Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion."
I hope Tucci does this wonderful character justice.
I thought you might be interested in this.
Yes—same here. At age 53, I may be hanging around a comic book stand once again.
Sgt. Rock was/is great...but...
Sgt Fury & His Howling Commandos are IT.
Sounds a lot better than the PC girly-manification they are planning for G.I. Joe!! Hope Sgt. Rock stays tough and manly!!
Russ heath was always more realistic in appearance and fact. A Tiger tank looked like a Tiger tank and no amount of hand grenades ever took one out in a Russ story.
Still I'll pick up the comic and give it a chance to revive my younger days.
DC Comics released a collectors’ edition of the Haunted Tank last May. It is for sale on Amazon for a little over $11.
Thanks ... I didn’t know that. I’ll check it out.
There’s an error in the story. It was not “G.I. Combat” which changed its title to “Sgt. Rock” in 1977, but rather, “Our Army at War.”
Budabudabuda! - eat lead Commie ( or fill in your favorite bad guy) pig. My roomie at my first assignment was called Sgt Rock, former Marine and a hard as rock kinda guy.
Thanks, I hadn’t noticed that. Sgt. Rock and Easy Company were the main characters in “Our Army at War”, while Sgt. (later Lt.) Jeb Stewart and the Haunted Tank were in “G.I. Combat”, although there were a number of crossovers over the years in which Easy Company served with the Haunted Tank.
When I was a kid I thought Sgt Rock was the greatest character ever. Years later I looked up one day... and realized that I had become Sgt Rock.
I am really, truly shocked that Dan Didio is going to let DC do this. This sounds like the artist tilts a little to the right (we know John Milius does), and that kind of viewpoint is nonexistant at DC, where writers like Judd Winick are busy killing off white heroes to “diversify” the DC universe. This is the company, after all, that started a major publicity campaign for their new lesbian Batwoman character. I can’t imagine this Rock project is going over too well with the rest of DC’s people.
Henry Gyrich: There are only two options here, gentlemen...We turn heroes into soldiers or soldiers into heroes. There's no room for in-between.
The Gauntlet: Permission to speak freely, Mr. Secretary?
Gauntlet: Soldiers are heroes. Say something like that again, Sir, and I will rip off your @%$# and @%$# down your @%$#. Is that clear?
do you actually mean that sarge WON’T be donning a blue helmet????
Back when I was probably six years old, I enjoyed Baron von Hammer too.
Sgt Rock of Easy Company where nothing is ever easy. HOORAH! - It’s an Army thing.
Your pic shows an M4 Sherman. the “Haunted Tank” was an M3 “Stuart” tank, hence the tie in with the ghost of the Confederate cavalry commander JEB Stuart.
As the Haunted Tank fights from Africa to the European Theater of Operations, the crew goes through several M3 tanks. Arch is killed saving them from an exploding German tank (G.I. Combat #162) and is replaced by Gus Gray, a soldier the crew had met just days earlier. Later in the war, Slim is also killed in action and is replaced by the older veteran Bill Craig, (G.I. Combat #244), whose son Eddie also joins the crew a few issues later (G.I. Combat #251), taking over the loader's position and allowing Gus to act as a second gunner.
Following a disastrous mission (based on the Task Force Baum incident), the crew of the Haunted Tank spend time in a German prisoner of war camp. Finding a "tank graveyard", they use the wreckage and spare parts to build themselves a new tank, the "Jigsaw Tank", and fight their way back to the Allied lines.
The Jigsaw Tank is eventually replaced by an M4 Sherman tank that sees them through to the end of the war. Despite a story that involves the ghost of General William T. Sherman being assigned to the tank once the crew switches to the Sherman, General Stuart's ghost continues to watch over the crew till war's end.
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