Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Really Hairy Marine

"You Can't Pin a Medal on a Gorilla" was written by Bob Kanigher and drawn by Joe Kubert. Featured in Star Spangled War Stories #126 (April-May 1966), it gives us one of the most gloriously goofy cover images in the history of the medium. The accompanying story is just as goofy and just as fun.

Pinky Donovan is a former marine and animal trainer who travels around with a gorilla named Charlie and puts on a show for the troops, involving Charlie dressing as a marine and fighting the "Japanese."  When Pinky is called back to active service, he figures that's the end of the act.

When Pinky and his unit are attacking an enemy-held island, the ship transporting Charlie is torpedoed. Pinky figures that definitely ends the act.

But he's wrong. Charlie survives and makes it ashore, where he joins Pinky's unit and uses the skills he learned in their act to help fight the Japanese. Pinky is delighted, but the C.O. is convinced that Charlie will eventually panic and run for it. In fact, the C.O. takes out his aggravation over the whole thing by repeatedly busting Pinky down a rank--sending him from sergeant to corporal to private before the story ends.

But Charlie sticks with it, eventually helping the platoon climb up some cliffs to destroy an enemy gun emplacement. Charlie is a hero, by golly, and even the C.O. is impressed by this point.

The story isn't clear on whether Pinky gets his rank back.

This story ran during a time when Star Spangled War Stories was running the War That Time Forgot series. So this issue gave us a brief break from dinosaurs.

Normally, that would be annoying. You can never have too many dinosaurs. But a trained ape using skills obtained doing a U.S.O. show to defeat the Japanese? Well, you can't really object to that either, can you?

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