Sgt. Rock. Artist: Joe Kubert.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1959
Creators: Robert Kanigher (writer/editor) and Joe Kubert (artist)
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Sgt. Rock of Easy Company isn't one of those characters that are created in a flash of inspiration. He just sort of grew. "Rock"-like characters had been appearing in DC Comics'

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… war titles, edited and frequently written by Robert Kanigher, now and again during the middle and late 1950s; and "Easy Co." is just a generic name for a military unit, using the military-style "Able, Baker, Charlie, Delta, Easy" etc. alphabetic designations. It came together in Our Army at War #81 (April, 1959), in a cover-featured story titled "The Rock of Easy Co." — almost. In that story, the sergeant's name was "Rocky".

That story, which was written by Bob Haney (Metamorpho, Teen Titans) and drawn by the team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito (Metal Men, The War that Time Forgot), kicked off the series in which "the" Easy Co. of DC Comics, and its leader, Sgt. Rock, gradually took shape. The main shapers were writer/editor Kanigher himself (who also had a hand in the creation of such diverse series as Rex the Wonder Dog and Knights of the Galaxy) and artist Joe Kubert (Hawkman, Viking Prince).

Rock (first name Frank, it later turned out) slowly emerged as the title character of the series, with Easy Co. as a set of subordinate characters. He remained on the covers and in the lead position in Our Army at War for years — in fact, he became DC's all-time longest-running World War II character. When DC started doing annuals in the '60s, Sgt. Rock's Prize Battle Tales was the only one with a war theme. The Vietnam adventures of his younger brother, Larry, were spun off into another DC war comic, Our Fighting Forces. They even starred Sgt. Rock in Showcase #45 (August, 1963), an apparent prelude to giving him his own comic (as Rip Hunter, Challengers of the Unknown and several others from earlier issues of Showcase had gotten). Apparently, tho, they decided he was best left right where he was.

He crossed over with other DC war characters (The Haunted Tank, Johnny Cloud and Mlle. Marie) in The Brave & the Bold #52 (March, 1964), and then into the superhero world in the 84th issue of that title (July, 1969), in which he met Batman. He returned several more times during the 1970s to have physically demanding adventures with Batman, never mind the fact that in stories taking place in the "present", he must have been at least 50 years old.

By the late '60s, Rock's name on the Our Army at War cover was larger than the actual name of the comic. This state of affairs continued until 1977 when, with its 302nd issue (March of that year), the title was finally changed to Sgt. Rock. It continued another 11 years, ending with #422 (July, 1988). By that time, DC had dropped all its other war comics and was concentrating almost exclusively on superheroes. Nonetheless, a few months later, the company inaugurated a series of Sgt. Rock reprints, which ran until 1992.

Even today, DC hasn't completely abandoned the character. In fact, in recent DC comics, where an evil plutocrat had become the U.S. president (imagine that!), Rock, now at least in his 80s, and a general, ran the Pentagon. And back in World War II, a new Sgt. Rock graphic novel, by Kubert and Brian Azzarello (Hellblazer), was published in 2004.


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Text ©2003-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.