Easy Company (comics)
|First appearance||Our Army at War #81 (November 1959)|
|Created by||Bob Haney (writer)
Ross Andru (artist)
|Type of organization||Military unit|
|Leader(s)||Sergeant Frank Rock|
Ice Cream Soldier
Little Sure Shot
Easy Company is a fictional comic book World War II US Army infantry unit led by Sgt. Rock in stories published by DC Comics. The group first appeared in Our Army at War #81 (April 1959), and were created by Bob Haney and Ross Andru.
In the stories, the unit saw action in every combat zone in the European Theatre. Unlike actual units, the unit has at least one African-American member, which was in defiance of racial segregation policy of the Army at the time.
In the graphic novel Between Hell and a Hard Place, Sgt. Rock explained that he gave nicknames to Easy Company men because during battle, they would be required to do things their civilian identities might not be able to live with; once the war was over, the nicknames could be left behind once the soldiers resumed their civilian lives. This accounts for the proliferation of unusual character names in Easy Company over the years.
While the characters of Sergeant Rock and Easy Company no longer appear in a monthly book, they from time to time appear in other DC publications with stories that take place during World War II. Most recently, Easy has appeared in two comic book miniseries: Between Hell and a Hard Place (2003), The Prophecy (2005), and The Lost Battalion (2008–2009).
"The Combat-Happy Joes"
Core members of Easy Company included:
- The Skipper - Easy was always commanded by an officer, usually referred to by Rock as "the skipper" and holding the rank of captain or lieutenant. At least one company commander, a "retread," was shown in the rank of major.
- Sergeant Frank Rock - the "topkick" or senior NCO of "Easy Company", with the Rank of "Master Sergeant". Rock was a steelworker from Pennsylvania who enlisted in the US Army the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was later promoted to sergeant after the Battle of Three Stripe Hill, in which he held off a German attack single-handed after they killed everyone else in his unit, earning him the nickname "the Rock of Easy Company". He was usually depicted carrying a belt of .50-caliber bullets over his shoulders despite the company's lack of heavy machine guns. Rock supposedly died "from the last bullet fired in the last battle on the last day" of World War Two, but retconned continuities have him survive the war to later become a General.
- Bulldozer - Rock's second-in-command, holding the rank of Corporal. Notably large and strong. Real name: Horace Eustace Canfield. (An earlier character named Sergeant Nichols first had the nickname "Bulldozer.") Bulldozer is usually seen using a machinegun or an automatic rifle.
- Wildman - A history professor from Colorado before the war, noted for his bright red full beard. His nickname derives from turning into a "Wildman" when engaged in battle. Real name: Joseph Shapiro.
- Jackie Johnson- an African-American trooper and ex-heavyweight boxing champion, whose character was an amalgamation of Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. Notable as one of the first non-stereotypical African-American characters in comics.
- Little Sure Shot - An Apache sniper who always decorates his helmet with feathers. Real name: Louis Kiyahani.
- Ice Cream Soldier - A small soldier whose nicknames derive in part from being at his best in combat during cold weather, and in always being "cool in combat". Real name: Phil Mason. In stories post-2000, his nickname is further shortened to "Ice."
- Four Eyes - A bespectacled soldier and ironically, one of Easy's best sharpshooters.
- Zack Taylor Nolan - Easy's original bazooka man. He lost one arm in combat, but returned for a final mission.
- Long Round and Short Round. Zack's replacements on the bazooka, always working as a team.
- Canary - A soldier known for always whistling in any circumstances not requiring silence.
- Worry Wart - A solid soldier, constantly worrying about whether his number was almost up.
- Hot-Head - a flamethrower operator, nicknamed "Hot-Head" because of his temper, his red hair and his weapon. Real Name: Sean O'Grady
- Beanpole - He carried the 30 cal. machine gun for Easy Co. even though he was the skinniest member of the Company.
- Farmer Boy - He refused to let the war stop him from doing what he was born to do.
- Junior - He lied about his age to enlist in the Army. Real Name: William West
- Lonesome - A simple farm boy before he joined Easy Co. Just wanted to get the war over with so he could return to his family and the harvest.
- Nick - Real Name: Nick
- Sunny - He earned the nickname "Sunny" because he was always smiling. Real Name: Samuel S. Gordon
- Tag-a-Long - He got the nickname "Tag-a-Long" due to his shadowing Sgt. Rock's every move to include following Sgt. Rock into dangerous solo missions. Real Name: Thomas
- Wee Willie - He was called Wee Willie because of his small size.
- Tin Soldier- He was an actor who became a soldier. Real Name: Randy Booth
This does not include anonymous replacements and one-time characters who are frequently killed off in the stories. Easy Company's Lieutenants, when they appear at all, are frequently killed off within the first few pages. Letters columns in the 1980s included a roster of all characters introduced into the series; several dozen character names were listed, including some anonymous soldiers.
In other media
The Easy Company have appeared in the episode of Justice League entitled "The Savage Time." Vandal Savage was rewriting history, utilizing futuristic weapons sent by his future-self, and the Justice League went back in time to stop his conquest. When Green Lantern John Stewart became separated from the rest of the team and his ring ran out of energy, he met up with the Easy Company, which was made up of four members (Sgt. Rock, Bulldozer, Wildman, and Ice Cream Soldier). After telling the unit that he had military experience as a U.S. Marine and proving his valor against Bulldozer, Sgt. Rock allowed Stewart to temporarily join the unit, complete with standard uniform and weapon. The Easy Company eventually found the hangar where Savage kept the Jet-Engine ships and provided cover for Stewart as he boarded the ship where Savage was. Sgt. Rock was voiced by Fred Dryer and Bulldozer was voiced by Ted Levine.
- Robert Kanigher (w), Joe Kubert (a). "Battle Tags For Easy Company" Sgt. Rock Digest v3, 18: 3-18 (Feb 1982), DC Special
- Robert Kanigher (w), Joe Kubert (a). "A Penny for Jackie Johnson" Sgt. Rock Digest v3, 18: 33-46 (Feb 1982), DC Special
- Toonopedia: Easy Company
- Fred Hembeck: Sgt. Rock and Easy Company
- Medical Review of Our Army at War #160, discusses racism and the character of Jackie Johnson
- The Racial Justice Experience: Diversity in the DC Universe: 1961-1979