Gung Ho! How to Draw Fantastic Military Comics

    (Watson-Guptill, 2006)
™ and © 2006 Watson-Guptill

War—what is it good for? Well, for one thing, it’s an absolute gold mine for comics artists. So, naturally, along comes a guide that focuses on depicting the main actors of battle: soldiers, weapons, and vehicles. Borrowing the same template as the other titles in Watson-Guptill’s ever-expanding “how to draw” series, many artists contribute page–by–page color portraits of American armed men, women, and machines ready for combat.

After giving a brief background on the history of U.S. war comics, drawing perspective, and bodily proportions, the plan of attack hits everything from handguns and police dogs to stealth bombers and snowmobiles. It concludes with a multi–step demonstration of how to plot, pencil, ink, and color an assault scene.

However, the tone of this boot camp is more G.I. Joe than Jarhead, as fantasy figures with super–hero physiques pull rank over realism and the sidebars of technical specifications. More cursory handbook than in–depth manual, it glorifies and cherrypicks the U.S.–centric gadgetry, leaving the more studious student to consult other photographic sourcebooks.

— Oliver Chin

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 Steve Miller