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WARNING: This comic will put hair on your chest. And give you a scrotum, if you’re scrotumless. – The Dirty Dozen

December 20, 2011

Sometimes in December, as Christmas cheer threatens to devour you, you have to poke your head up above the surface of the Yuletide pool that you’re wallowing in and get your bearings. The sugary year-ending glurge, with its toys, good will towards men, and sappy jewelry ads (“Give the one you love something she’ll always remember, and that your wallet will never forget…”) needs to be broken, especially if you’re of that half of the Earth’s population with more testosterone than estrogen. GET YOUR GONADS BACK, MEN.

Well, have we got an adaptation for you. Yes, there was a Dirty Dozen comic, and it’s every bit as machine-gunningly, grenade-tossingly, Nazi-blow-uppingly magnificent as the source material. MACHISMO TRIUMPHANT.

The Dirty Dozen was of that vanished breed of unabashedly male films, movies that, if they were people, would spend their leisure hours smoking, drinking whiskey, whoring and playing cards. “They don’t make ’em like that anymore” applies (somewhat sadly) to this genus of entertainment. Nowadays if they were making a Dirty Dozenish flick, it’d assuredly have at least one female character — preferably ethnic — with overbearing sass and enough one-liners to verbally castrate the men around her.

I love women, and I don’t want to sound like a pig. But sometimes, like Yoko, they can ruin something scrumptiously y-chromosomed, something great. And The Dirty Dozen was something great. Men used to have places in houses (climb up on my lap and let grandpa tell you a story…) called “dens,” places that smelled of leather and pipe smoke, that had the feel of tweed, and these were places where higher octaves, whether they be female or child, were not allowed. Now dens have morphed into man caves, and I’m not sure that they’re quite as exclusive. I get the feeling that most man caves are frequently appropriated by better halves and gaggles of lady-friends. “Let’s watch Bridesmaids on the big screen!”

The Dirty Dozen is a den. An incorruptible one. IMPENETRABLE.

Lee (voice deeper than God’s) Marvin. Charles (this ain’t over…) Bronson. Jim (run your ass over) Brown. Telly (Players Club International) Savalas. Ernest (I can’t believe he’s still alive, and I’m ever so happy that he is) Borgnine. And more. ‘Nuff said.

The comic is a faithful adaptation of the story, with its riotous assemblage of military convicts turned elite strike force. All the manly notes are gloriously struck. Here’s Telly Savalas as Maggot going crazy as the Dozen storm the Nazi castle (otherwise known as THE WORST GODDAMN POSSIBLE TIME TO LOSE YOUR SHIT):

And here’s Jim Brown, using his all-time great NFL skills to zig and zag and drop grenades on some Nazi generals and party-goers:

One of the best things about this book is the solid work done by artist Jack Sparling on the likenesses. There aren’t many chances for us to see faces like Savalas’s and Marvin’s and Bronson’s rendered in comic form. And Borgnine’s:

RIGHT DOWN TO THE GAP IN HIS TEETH, PEOPLE.

This comic breaks no ground. It does not push the art form to unexpected heights. But, thanks to its unabashed guyness, it far outshines its adaptation kinsmen, the Lawrences and Alexanders of the world. It can recenter you on your guy axis (no pun intended). It can wash away some of the Christmas saccharine.

Mission accomplished.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 21, 2011 2:26 pm

    Great review — I feel better already!

    Doug

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