My latest piece, joining among others Bill Ayers (on dinner with Tucker Carlson), Amiri Baraka (on the evil of charter schools), Aram Saroyan (on Diane Arbus) and Scott Spencer (on the Allman Brothers) is up at www.firstofthemonth.org. (If your screen claims "Not a Valid Address," like mine does, don't believe it. Your search engine will prove it a liar.
Here's my opening:
My Uncle Manny, a doctor, was at the Battle of the Bulge. When he came home, he lived with us on 46th Street. After he moved out, he left behind a collection of German beer steins and some books. He never talked about the war in my presence, and only one of those books pertained to it: the cartoonist Bill Mauldin’s Up Front.
When I was older, I would wonder what my uncle and other vets thought of us kids, armed with cap guns, storming the Omaha Beaches of our driveways, seizing the Mt. Suribachis of our front steps. I had not looked at Mauldin’s book for nearly 60 years, when Willie and Joe: The WW II Years (Fantagraphics. 2011) fell into my hands. [Up Front had held 160 of Mauldin’s cartoons, amidst 30,000 words of text. Fantagraphics offers 700, nearly all a page in size and half from his Willie and Joe period.] What, I wondered, had led my uncle to welcome Mauldin into his civilian life? Why had he chosen that volume with which to burnish his memory?
Causes Bob Levin Supports
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, ACLU, PEN, Berkeley Emergency Food & Housing Project.