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Comics That Should Exist – M*A*S*H: The Comic

There are plenty of comics I want to buy (or, you know, write), but can’t– because they don’t exist! You’ve read about a few of them in my 365 Reasons column. This new column (which may or may not become a highly irregular series) is here to point out more cool comics projects that don’t exist, but most definitely should.

First up? Well, I think they should bring one of my favorite TV shows to comics, because it would fit the format perfectly. That series is M*A*S*H.

MASH 1.JPG

I loved M*A*S*H (which I’ll refer to as MASH from this point on, because I am lazy). Even when cast members or producers came and went, even after Alan Alda took creative control of the show. It never jumped the shark, it was always good. I don’t even know if there’s a bad episode in the bunch. Surely, there are ones I’m tired of watching, but that’s what happens when you see an episode a few dozen times.

Even as the show progressed, almost every episode could stand on its own and tell its own story. It was a series filled with endearing characters, terrific dialogue, and wonderful moments, both comedic and dramatic.

It’d be a great comic. I have no idea how the rights situation would work out, but let’s get IDW or Dark Horse or somebody to pick ‘em up!

I’ll even tell you how it’d work. There were eleven seasons of MASH, and, over the course of the run, eleven series regulars. There’s your hook. Eleven issues, each one taking place in a different season and spotlighting a different character.

Now, Trapper and Col. Blake were only around for the first three years, Frank for the first five, and Radar for the first seven and a dash of the eighth. I know this, for I am a nerd. Col. Potter and BJ showed up in season four and Winchester in season six. One would want to get the chronology worked out as best as possible.

You could end up with something that looked like this:

1. Hawkeye Pierce
2. Trapper John McIntyre
3. Colonel Blake
4. Radar O’Reilly
5. Frank Burns
6. Maxwell Q. Klinger
7. Hot Lips Houlihan
8. BJ Hunnicut
9. Father Mulcahy
10. Charles Emerson Winchester III
11. Colonel Potter

That’s me just throwing them on there at semi-random in the allotted eras, but it doesn’t look so bad.

It’d let the reader deeper into some characters and moments we didn’t get to see on the show. Trapper never got much to do, but he could have the limelight in his issue. Same with Father Mulcahy, the most underrated character on the show. Radar could have time to grieve over the death of Henry Blake, something the show skipped over. We could see an actual break-up between Frank and Margaret. Understand why Klinger stopped wearing dresses. Explore the sexual tension between Charles and Hot Lips as far as it’d go! That sort of thing.

And don’t think I’m forgetting the other characters! You gotta have guest spots from Sydney Freedman, Col. Flagg, Sgt. Zale, Rizzo, and Igor! Even Nurse Kellye and the Mustachioed Korean! Maybe even Spearchucker could show up in the first issue in the time before he disappeared from the show.

I bet I sound like a gigantic MASH fanboy. Trust me, though! Because comics should be good, this comic WOULD be good! I guarantee.

Who would draw such a series? I thought about it for a while, and I came up with one perfect name: Kevin Maguire. Only he could get the facial expressions and mannerisms right for something so laden with quick dialogue and character focus. It’s about people, and Kevin Maguire draws people better than anyone.

Would it sell? Who knows? Look at how many people bought the DVDs, though. I think that’s a good sampling of the target audience for a project like this. Market it to them. It could turn out to be a hit! In comic terms, anyway. I know I’d buy it. Or write it. Or both.

MASH 2.JPG

Whaddya say, ferret-faces?

18 Comments

If there had ever been a M*A*S*H comic back when the show was originally on, it would have been from Charlton or Gold Key and been a lot like BEETLE BAILEY or SAD SACK.

Now, Warren could have done a decent job…

Frank Burns is one of the single best comic foils in any medium, ever, and I’d buy an issue centered on him in a heart-beat. (The other two are Bill McNeil on NewsRadio and Lena Lamont in Singing in the Rain. Everyone else runs a distant fourth at best.)

Only if they get Larry Hama to write it.

As a fellow M*A*S*H nerd…I am applauding your genius, sir.

But I am purchasing only if they secure the best of the best comic dialogue writer(s) out there. This show – the first five seasons, anyhow – deserves no less.

Larry Hama writing MASH would be histerical

Oh, man. M*A*S*H comics drawn by Kevin Maguire? That’d be amazing.

Somebody get going on this right now! I can just imagine Kevin Maguire’s rendition of the “Adam’s Ribs” episode, too bad it’s all in my head.

What a fantastic idea.

Hot Lips and Charles? I thought the sexual tension was between Hot Lips and Hawkeye, as in the later seasons they skated close to kissing a time or two.

Another story that was only told in exposition: Frank Burns’ breakdown that resulted in his being sent home so Charles could be assigned to the 4077th.
I have considered that Linville must have left the show because they would not make Frank Burns any more than an irritating butt. Supposing he had accidentally gotten into a combat zone and undergone some sort of religious experience and become insufferably decent. Kind of a proto-Ned Flanders.

There was tension between Hot Lips and everybody. I’ve been making my way through the complete series on DVD. First time I’ve seen them all in order. There was Hot Lips and Frank, Hot Lips and Trapper, Hot Lips and Hawkeye, Hot Lips and Charles, a bit…

This would be almost impossible due to the rights. I believe that most of the characters would belong to the author of the original book, while Klinger, BJ, Charles, and Col. Potter would belong to the creators of the TV show.

Not saying a MASH comic isn’t a good idea, just that it’s not quite as simple as it might look on the surface.

i would buy it if it was done right. especially the radar issue, mostly because the guy who played him is from wisconsin and we don’t have many stars from these here parts. that’s if you don’t include serial killers.

another great idea that probably won’t see the light of day =(

i look forward to more of “comics that should exist” posts.

Rick Veitch’s new Vertigo series, Army@Love, seems to be the closest we’ll get to the dark humor/Catch 22 vibe in comics. He’s a great creator.

Mark Evanier did a funny continued bit a couple years back about fictional comics books made out of real-life TV shows (he created a whole series of covers and plots for a Dick van Dyke Show comic, for instance.) This whole concept is just a whole lotta fun and a great springboard for a meme.

Me? I’d like to see a Magnum, P.I. comic. Yes, there were a couple British annuals which were great fun but never an American monthly comic.

Me? I’d like to see a Magnum, P.I. comic.

Oh. Hell. Yeah.

High five, man.

Nobody else has said it, so I will:

Season Five is where it began to move from good to GREAT!

Loretta Swit gave one year’s notice that she wouldn’t sign a second contract, then backed down when “divorcing” Hot Lips from Frank turned her into “Margaret.” Unfortunately for the very talented Larry Linville, Maj. Burns had sunk too far into caricature to be salvagable (jokes from Hawk and Trap that he was incompetent turned into him actually being that), so he quit. Will never forget seeing him on Howard Stern’s old WOR show, with a sketch where Stern and others were doing OTT parodies of various MASH characters, then Larry came out AS Frank, right on the money after so many years.

I fear the this project’s time has passed. It would have been awesome had Jim Shooter thought of a M*A*S*H comic in the Seventies and published it for eight glorious issues written by Doug Moench and drawn Herb Trimpe. It could even tie into Marvel continuity by guest-starring Captain America, complete with a footnote footnote explaining this was the insane, Communist-smashing Cap from the 1950’s.

This could be my favorite comic that never was.

It’s like you knew what I wanted before I even knew such a thing could exist.

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