Initially published in the ’80s in two volumes, A Sailor’s Story is the memoir of acclaimed comic artist Sam Glanzman in graphic novel form. Both written and illustrated by Glanzman, it details his life during World War II, serving aboard a destroyer.
Just a year after Pearl Harbor, Glanzman joins the Navy as soon as he turns 18 and is sent to serve on the USS Stevens. We get to see the fighting they do and the attacks that they’re a part of, but there’s much more than that. Much of the book is devoted just to daily life aboard the ship: pranks they pulled; ways they found to pass the time; etc. The result is a fascinating, firsthand look into one of the most important eras in our nation’s history—and one which most of us only know about from movies.
The book is a bit dense, at times. It contains a lot of technical terms and sailor’s jargon (which are explained in footnotes), as well as just a lot of information in general. But, that’s not a bad thing. It’s worth the journey. The artwork is beautiful, and the story is great and, more importantly, one worth telling. If you’re at all interested in World War II, the Navy, sailors, or history in general, then A Sailor’s Story is a comic you shouldn’t miss.