Like many of his generation, Jerry Grandenetti fought in the Second World War. In fact, his pursuit of higher education at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute was funded by the G.I. Bill.
Such experiences lent war comics drawn by Grandenetti and his peers an edge that perhaps could not be matched today. Many of these men, after all, faced the triumphs and horrors of armed combat first-hand.
(It will be interesting, however, to see how veterans of Afghanistan and the Middle East conflicts convey their experiences as they hopefully re-assimilate back into society.)
Although scripts for early war comics were often jingoistic and heavy-handed – outside of Harvey Kurtzman’s books for EC, few comic-book publishers were willing to delve into the realities of armed conflicts until the mid-1960s – the visuals often told tales that went beyond the words written on a page.
The following story, posted in honor of Veteran’s Day, was published when anti-war stories were beginning to gain greater prominence in comic-books. Although “The Well In The Desert” has a nice O.Henry-esque twist at the end, the real star of this story are Grandenetti’s pencils and inks, which truly convey the desperation felt by soldiers thrown into life and death situations.
The tale originally appeared in Fight The Enemy #1 (Tower, August 1966). The art is by Jerry Grandenetti; the writer is uncredited.