The comic, “Mister Marine Corps” comes from the 1952 publication Marines #7, a compilation of news, photojournalism, and comics printed by the US Marine Corps. The central character, “Mr. Marine Corps,” is Lou Diamond, is an aging Marine whose legend precedes him. This “Marine Hall of Fame” feature seeks to bolster the mythology that surrounds him, by publishing the exaggerated and fictional reports of his exploits. He was a veteran of the both World Wars, and is repeatedly depicted as being in better shape than the younger soldiers.
Lou’s athletic ability plays a big role in this mythology. First, in a departure from the battle-centric imagery throughout the piece, an early scene shows him on a baseball field, adding, “…some claim he was fifty years old when he pitched a one-hit shutout for the Quantico Marines some time in the twenties.”[^] The conversation between Lou and a teammate encourage his prowess as a pitcher and the team’s overall success. His competitiveness, along with his masculine bravado, soon comes into play on the battlefield. Despite his age, the narration reads, “…he proved his right to the title of the greatest mortarman in the world.”[^] Another man in Lou’s unit remarks that he has taken out fourteen buildings, and bets that he will not be able to hit the fifteenth building on the first try. Lou is so sure of himself that he places a bet, and adds that he will “…drop the shell right down the chimney.”[^]
This “Marine Corps Hall of Fame” comic was clearly intentioned to set a picture of a legendary hegemonic male, one that sets an unreachable precedent, but encourages Marines to attempt to live up to his standards. Here, the use of his athletic ability and confidence, as well as his physical stature even in advanced age, is one of several factors that contribute to his idealism. These skills and abilities are not simply outlined, but are backed up with very specific examples which showcase his abilities.