The comic “Tarawa,” which opens The United States Marines No. 3, details the ability of the US Marine Corps to take Tarawa, a heavily fortified collection of islets, with impressive speed. Throughout the comic, the Marines were credited with fearlessness, courage and aggression. One panel shows two Marines charging over a hill, bayonets attached.[^] This imagery by itself conjures notions of heroism and aggressiveness, but the comic adds more to this understanding of aggressiveness. The caption reads, “Everywhere the Marines were eager to advance faster than was believed safe…”[^] While one Marine behind them is cautious, shouting, “Stay down, you guys!” another looks on, adding admiringly, “They go anywhere, those Marines!”[^] Here it is not enough to simply state that Marines swept through the islands quickly; the author explicitly states that Marines willingly threw caution to the wind. They were eager to go at an unsafe speed, and were hailed as heroes for it.
The comic again expressed this daring sentiment following the Marine successes at Tarawa. One of the comic’s closing panels reads, “And so, seventy-six hours after the invasion began, Tarawa fell. The conquest was completed so quickly, as one observer said, because the Marines were willing to die unflinchingly.”[^] The willingness of the Marines to die is again credited with the speed of success, this time much more explicitly. Risky behavior and a lack of concern over one’s own well being is honored and celebrated.