The Understandably Unknown Soldier

Super heroes often forget they've got their underwear on outside their pants, but they don't usually forget the actual pants themselves. Which makes "The Unknown Soldier" really stand out:

I know in Australia they have a military uniform that involves shorts. I can understand that, because let's face it, Australia is hot, folks. But I can't think of a single country that dresses their soldiers in Speedos. Although if there is one, I bet it's a banana republic, because then they could call their uniforms the banana hammocks.

Anyway, can you really blame this soldier for being unknown? He was probably all ready to stand proudly in front of the troops as the very model of a brave American WWII soldier, only to finally see the uniform in all its bare-legged, buttock-baring glory. Whereupon he immediately demanded a mask. And entry to the Witness Protection Program should he ever become Known.

(From "Our Flag Comics" number 3, 1941.)

20 Responses to The Understandably Unknown Soldier

  1. “With these sexy legs I won’t be Unknown for long!”

  2. Elephant Boy

    “Let’s see what those Hitlerjugund boys think of THESE!”

  3. Doughboys everywhere are squeeealiiing..!

  4. @kingmonkey: THAT is one badass cover! Now I have to buy them! Darn you, monkey king!

  5. Joe Kubert was a stud.

  6. “Weird War Tales” was a far better comic.

  7. In my opinion.

  8. This post brings up a question I have often wondered about (which probably indicates that I don’t have enough to think about, but no matter): Is there a name for that little underwear thing that so many superheroes wear on the outside of their pants? I mean they couldn’t just say, “I’ll be right with you, Superman, as soon as I put on my . . . little underwear thing,” could they? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Oh, and jeez Louise, America’s greatest hero could at least put on some freakin’ pants, fer cryin’ out loud!

  9. I looked up The Unknown Soldier comic on Wikipedia (source of all truth and knowledge) and the article said that Our Flag Comics lasted for only five issues (Gee, I wonder why).

  10. I always saw the underwear section being sown together with the pants, or am I wrong? Whenever I’ve seen Superman or Batman’s outfit draped over something or hanging in their hideouts, the brief and leggings stay together. They could just be categorized as a single pair of tights with distinctly colored areas. If you need to categorize such an outfit.

    I suppose the Unknown Soldier’s not having pants could be a desperate attempt at making the design more superheroic? If you give him pants than the only difference between this and a soldier’s costume is the lavender (really?!) eye mask and the lack of buttons. Plus as long as he’s in shape, I’m not complaining. I’d hate to see 400 lbs of America spilling out of that thing.

  11. Me, Myself & I

    What I’m wondering is what’s going on with Fugly at the bottom left corner. Shouldn’t he have legs showing there hanging down from his raised but?

  12. DiCicatriz wrote:

    I always saw the underwear section being sown together with the pants . . . Whenever I’ve seen Superman or Batman’s outfit draped over something or hanging in their hideouts, the brief and leggings stay together. They could just be categorized as a single pair of tights with distinctly colored areas.

    That’s certainly possible. I’d never thought of that. It may just be one of the great unresolved mysteries of the universe.

  13. I’m not gonna say a thing. Wouldnt want to harsh any sexist hertero buzz here LOL

  14. I didnt know my country had a army uniform with shorts. to ad to what DiCicatriz, 11, was saying has anyone evernoticed that Captain America is drawn with his underwear on the outside but they’re just the same colour???

  15. @kingmonkey: I have that issue of The Unknown Soldier! Actually, it’s a re-print that my mom bought while standing at the K-Mart check-out counter (in the convienent 3-issue bag). That cover of US skiing along like a Finn tossing dynamite at the Commies. Sgt. Rock and Jonah Hex and Creature Patrol (Wierd War Tales) were all there.

    I love the nods to the WWII comics, but at the same time, wow… very disturbing antics. But, hey, laugh at your enemy, psyche them out.

    With that, my nephew is heading to Afghanistan. I say that not to brag, but I hope he is safe and there will be an end to those monsters.

    And Jeff, Joe Kubert, good call.

  16. Surely this wasn’t a colorist mistake right? I mean back in the day after a comic was colored and printed, wasn’t it expensive to go back and change the color and do more prints? I’m sure they saw it and said, “What the hell… run with it! No one will notice!” lol!

  17. You’re right Wesley, this was a coloring mistake (albeit it lasted the entire issue). In later issues his pants were colored in the same as his tunic. But it’s more fun this way.

  18. Are you sure that was a ‘coloring’ deal, Jeff? I’m having fun imagining this soldier (5 stars on chest -> VERY high-ranking brass, even if not what the stars imply) marching into the Quartermasters’ office, slamming both fists onto the table, and uttering just three simple words to a very-frightened Quartermaster Sargent.

    “Uniform pants. Now.”

  19. Calypso Rain

    has anyone else noticed the kid in the background who is not wearing a costume or an army uniform?