Saturday, July 7, 2012

Foreign Favorites: Ernie Pike

In 1957 writer Hector German Oesterheld and artist Hugo Pratt created their war reporter, Ernie Pike, for  Argentina's magazine, Hora Cero #1. It is loosely based on the real-life reporter Ernie Pyle, who was killed in Okinawa in 1945 and made famous by William Wellman's motion picture, The Story of G.I. Joe, with Burgess Meredith in the title role. Pike acts as a narrator initially in the stories, but later is more involved in the tales that don't follow real battles, but share personal stories of tragedy for unknown soldiers created by the author. From a misunderstanding with the writer, Pratt drew the face of Pike that of Oesterheld, and since he had drawn so  much of the storyline already, they decided to just keep the character as it was. Hugo's style, unpretentious and fast, concentrated on the everyday life and death struggle of military life with its muck and mire. Originally focusing on World War II and the Korean War, Oesterheld later came back with stories of Vietnam and a more critical approach to the U.S. involvement. Without regard to the cause for which it was fought, the author used war comics to reflect his personal dislike for war itself. After a few stories, Pratt left for Europe as Argentine artists Alberto Breccia and Francisco Solano López continued in his loose style with Ernie Pike being widely reprinted in Italy and many other countries.


No comments: