Good news for Books in Review II readers. A second edition of Vietnam veteran Vernon Grant’s Stand-By One! has just been published ( Little Creek Press, 40 pp., $9.95, paper) and his wife Betsy Grant is now on a book tour with her late husband’s cartoon collection. Grant’s cartoons are familiar, but they are as descriptive and humorous now as when he drew them in 1969.
Last November, in a review of Grant’s Point Man Palmer, I wrote: “Cpt. Grant received his Army discharge in 1968 after his tour of duty in the Vietnam War. That’s when he began publishing his cartoons and graphic novels. Stand-By One!, published in 1969, presents panels in which Grant occasionally inserts himself in his depiction of a soldier’s routine in the field, off duty, and in stand down.”
The characters in these humorous and ironic situations include PFC Goonfunkle and other soldiers in foxholes, on patrol, during R & R, and after coming “back to the world.”
These un-numbered pages contain drawings revealing typical and quirky scenes such as troops identifying a rescued Vietnamese villager wearing a Ho Chi Minh tee shirt as having been “re-educated” and four officers standing at an entrance to the “Hanoi to Saigon Subway.”
One combat scene shows two soldiers under a ” rocket attack,” except it’s raining down copies of Playboy magazine, C Rations, and a television. The caption reads: “It looks like they’re running low on ammunition.”
Another carton shows a Vietnam veteran sitting with his date in a restaurant. He says to the waiter: “A beer for me and a Saigon Tea -er- a coke for the lady.” Grant has also drawn tanks with bayonets affixed and a soldier in counseling with a Chaplain in which they both wear Mickey Mouse ears.
The best way to appreciate these cartoons is to see them together in Stand-By-One!, an affordable last-minute holiday gift. Betsy Grant’s website is http://bvgrantstudio.com