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  1. #1
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    Default Why have the comic book writers not bothered to research on the military?

    Why are the comic book writers not familiar with the military?

    I read quite a lot of old comics from the past and seldom the new comic books in the present.

    I have recently read some issues of an old comic book called Captain Atom (1987). It appears that the writer cary Bates is completely unfamiliar with the United States Air Force ranks. First of all, Cary Bates referred to airmen as soldiers, when there are airmen in the Air Force, there are marines in the marine corps, sailors in the Navy and soldiers in the army. Some airmen had their rank mentioned as "corporal". But there is no 'corporal" in the United States Air Force enlisted ranks. The Air Force equivalent to corporal is Senior Airman. A supporting character in the Captain Atom book named Goslin who is referred to as "Sergeant". Just sergeant without another title. Sergeant also doesn't exist in the United States Air force. Air Force has Staff Sergeant, Technical sergeant, master sergeant, senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant. The Air Force equivalent to sergeant is "staff sergeant". Bates used the words "two-star general" and "three star general" instead of major general and lieutenant general.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...nlisted_airmen

    In the Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover comic, Hal Jordan said to Kirk that they have the same rank. Air Force captain and Navy captain are two different things.

    In a suicide squad comic, Colonel Flag was mentioned to having been in the Navy SEALs. Again, colonel is not a navy rank.

    Even the creators like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby who served in the US military, kept confused about the US military ranks and insignia.

  2. #2
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    Because some are lazy?

  3. #3

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    It's probably the result of ignorance and mistaken memories rather than a lack of research. A writer might not know to research that air force captains and navy captains have different ranks, and an artist might misremember an insignia.

  4. #4
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Perhaps no more than five to ten percent of comic book readers served or serve in the military (just a wild assed guess on my part), so writers can basically get away with whatever they want, safe and secure in the knowledge that the majority of their readers either wouldn't notice the discrepancies, or wouldn't care one way or another.
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  5. #5

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    For every one of those examples, there's someone like Garth Ennis or Larry Hama out there.

    Take the good with the bad, man.
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  6. #6
    Extraordinary Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    The recently passed Sam Glanzman was a great comic - military historian.

    Kirby knew the military, having served in WWII

    Eisner published a magazine for the military fr many years.

    Kubert wrote and drew many realistic military comics.
    There came a time when the Old Gods died! The Brave died with the Cunning! The Noble perished locked in battle with unleashed Evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust!

  7. #7
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    It's probably the result of ignorance and mistaken memories rather than a lack of research. A writer might not know to research that air force captains and navy captains have different ranks, and an artist might misremember an insignia.
    Yeah, but it wasn't like there wasn't encyclopedias back then for them to use. I can remember as a kid 40 years ago going through the military ranks and being surprised that a Navy (or Starfleet ) captain was the same as an Army colonel.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    It's probably the result of ignorance and mistaken memories rather than a lack of research. A writer might not know to research that air force captains and navy captains have different ranks, and an artist might misremember an insignia.
    That's true, How many comic book artists can identify the enlisted rank insignia of the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps, and US Army?


    Quote Originally Posted by worstblogever View Post
    For every one of those examples, there's someone like Garth Ennis or Larry Hama out there.

    Take the good with the bad, man.
    Garth Ennis is especially familiar with Luftwaffe ranks including Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel), Oberst (Colonel), Major (major), Hauptmann (captain) and Fähnrich (officer candidate) in his books "Enemy Ace War in Heaven" and "Thor: Vikings".

    Larry hama served in the US Army during the Vietnam War.

    I would like to mention another writer good with the U.S. military ranks. I remember Grant Miehm and his Impact Comics's Legend of the Shield. He not only knew the US Army ranks like Staff Sergeant, Sergeant First Class, Master Sergeant, Sergeant major, second lieutenant, first lieutenant, brigadier general and major general, but he also even depicted US Army insignia accurately, even though Miehm was Canadian. Makes me wonder if Grant Miehm served in the US Army.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby101 View Post
    The recently passed Sam Glanzman was a great comic - military historian.

    Kirby knew the military, having served in WWII

    Eisner published a magazine for the military fr many years.

    Kubert wrote and drew many realistic military comics.
    I also recall Stan Lee and Larry Lieber served in WWII and Korean War respectively. Stan Lee was a master sergeant (E-8) in the US Army Signal Corps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Darknight Detective View Post
    Yeah, but it wasn't like there wasn't encyclopedias back then for them to use. I can remember as a kid 40 years ago going through the military ranks and being surprised that a Navy (or Starfleet ) captain was the same as an Army colonel.
    In the past without internet, anyone could go to a library and find any books for research.

    Quote Originally Posted by WestPhillyPunisher View Post
    Perhaps no more than five to ten percent of comic book readers served or serve in the military (just a wild assed guess on my part), so writers can basically get away with whatever they want, safe and secure in the knowledge that the majority of their readers either wouldn't notice the discrepancies, or wouldn't care one way or another.
    So the writers considered research a waste of their time, because they think the readers were ignorant.
    Yeah, it seems like the writers don't mind insulting the readers' intelligence.

  10. #10
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    I'll tell you what irked me more than writers getting military rankings wrong, and that was comic book artists who used to never draw genuine looking, real world guns. While these days, you plainly can see the difference between an M-16 and an Uzi, a Colt .45 and a Colt Python and an H & K MP5 and a Desert Eagle (especially in Punisher books), back in the day, say a generation or more ago, that wasn't the case, and that used to bug the hell out of me.
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  11. #11
    DC Comics Forum Mod The Darknight Detective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zetsubou View Post
    In the past without internet, anyone could go to a library and find any books for research.
    Yep. Did it enough in my lifetime before 1996.
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  12. #12
    Fantastic Member dimo1's Avatar
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    While I agree to do your research, you should keep in mind that the stories were churned out to bring food on the table. Nobody gave a thought about accuracy in most cases as comics were a throw-away format.

  13. #13
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    It bothers me more when they get basic facts of science or history wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPhillyPunisher View Post
    I'll tell you what irked me more than writers getting military rankings wrong, and that was comic book artists who used to never draw genuine looking, real world guns. While these days, you plainly can see the difference between an M-16 and an Uzi, a Colt .45 and a Colt Python and an H & K MP5 and a Desert Eagle (especially in Punisher books), back in the day, say a generation or more ago, that wasn't the case, and that used to bug the hell out of me.
    Rob Leifeld has never drawn a realistic gun. Heck, his sci-fi guns don't look like guns...they look vacuum cleaners or something.

  15. #15
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    I do know Harvey Kurtzman prided himself on doing research and getting the basic history correct for his war stories.

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