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Comic Book Heroes That Used to be Vietnam Veterans But Now Aren't

In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Today, we look at comic book characters that were once Vietnam War veterans and are now, well, you know, not.

Comic books tend to work on a sliding time scale, so that everything takes place over a sort of generic ten year period (DC caused some bizarre fluctuations when they compressed the typical 10 year time scale to 5 for their "New 52," which left us with some absurd degrees of timing that have mostly been ignored post-Rebirth). Because of that, a lot of comic book creators try to avoid specific references to historical events, so as to avoid fixing characters in time. However, that obviously is not always the case and we have had a number of characters be established as Vietnam War veterans. So for those characters, eventually their history needs to be altered. For instance, the youngest Vietnam War veteran alive in 2018 would have to be around 63 years old. That is just way too old for a typical comic book superhero.

The most famous Vietnam War veteran in comics is clearly the Punisher, who even starred in a number of issues of Marvel's comic ABOUT the Vietnam War, 'The Nam.

When the Punisher debuted at the end of 1973 in Amazing Spider-Man #129 by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, he mentions to Spider-Man that he is a Marine and Spidey expresses surprise that Punisher is fighting HERE instead of, well, you know, Vietnam...

It wasn't until the Punisher's fifth appearance (written by Conway and drawn by Tony DeZuniga) that we got confirmation that he fought in Vietnam, when he encounters an old war buddy...

In 2011's Punisher #4 (by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto), the change was finally made, via a profile piece that reporter Norah Winters was doing on the Punisher...

Obviously, this is only in the regular Marvel Universe. Garth Ennis has his own Punisher MAX universe where he continues to tell new Punisher war stories set during or around the Vietnam War.

Flash Thompson went to go fight in the Vietnam War in Amazing Spider-Man #47 (by Stan Lee and John Romita)...

I am not POSITIVE when the Vietnam War aspect was officially retconned out, as it played a major factor in Flash's history well into the 1970s (he met a girl while over there and she came over to the States and they were an item for a while), but it definitely was retconned out in Amazing Spider-Man #574 (by Marc Guggenheim, Barry Kitson and Mark Farmer), where Flash loses his legs while serving in Afghanistan...

When Jason Bard debuted in Detective Comics #392 (by Frank Robbins, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson), lots of men Jason's age were fighting in the war and receiving wounds like Jason did, making it an interesting way to introduce a character at the time...

Post-Crisis, Jason was a Gotham City police officer, as seen in Batgirl: Year One #3 (by Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez)...

He was later shot in the knee by Killer Moth (in Batgirl Year One #6), leading to him retiring and becoming a private investigator...

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