Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Stereotypes Of Death

In the ongoing maelstrom of jingoism that is the world of British War Comics, a man's character and nationality can be judged by how he dies, particularly with regard to how he screams. A British soldier is stoic, brave, so invariably breathes his last with a relatively dignified ‘UGH!’ or, if surprised, an 'AAGH!'. Often, the shot British soldier has the time and presence of mind to say 'I'm hit!' or 'They've got me!', practical and informative to the end. This also applies to our heroic ANZAC forces.

As valued allies, the Americans are afforded a similar dignity, but cultural difference and the natural flamboyance of the Yanks is reflected by adding a few more a's or g's.

Germans die harder, especially proper Nazis. Their customary ‘AARRGH!’ or 'UURRGH!' indicates three things: firstly, the guttural nature of their language, secondly, that their death is more painful and, thirdly that even as they die, the Germans are still inherently arrogant – the ‘AARGH!’ is an indignant shout of surprise, of outrage. This is particularly useful for really bad Germans: it gives the reader immense satisfaction to know that, for this enemy, the end is nasty and unexpected and runs very much contrary to their plans.

The Italians usually surrender before they get anywhere near being killed, but invariably whimper ‘Mamma Mia!’ at the first sign of trouble. 

The Japanese soldier is always treated as almost sub-human, a fanatic, either a mindless kill-bot determined to die for the Emperor or a cruel, sword wielding torturer. These ‘men’ die like animals, and their last noises are high pitched, slightly incomprehensible screams of terror like 'AAEEIII!' or ‘AIEEEE!’. This also applies to Arabs and Turks, and anyone falling to their death.

Fearlono, who has killed men of every creed, colour and country of origin says that all of the above is a load of rubbish. In his extensive experience, dying men simply shit themselves and fall over, and no-one around here dares to contradict him. 

1 comment:

  1. Britain's post-WW2 junior status to the Americans was furiously rejected in the 'Warlord' comic strip 'Union Jack Jones' wherein a super-charged (but laconic) Tommy is serving with the US marines for some unlikely reason during the island-hopping Pacific campaigns against the Japs, showing the Yanks how it's done whilst wearing a big Union Jack on his US-issue helmet. Highly symbolic.