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William Henry 'Bill' Mauldin was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist from the United States. While in the 45th Infantry Division, Mauldin volunteered to work for the unit's newspaper, drawing cartoons about regular soldiers or "dogfaces". Eventually he created two cartoon infantrymen, Willie (who was modeled after his comrade and friend Irving Richtel) and Joe, who became synonymous with the average American GI. During July 1943, Mauldin's cartoon work continued when, as a sergeant of the 45th Division's press corps, he landed with the division in the invasion of Sicily and later in the Italian campaign. Mauldin began working for Stars and Stripes, the American soldiers' newspaper; as well as the 45th Division News, until he was officially transferred to the Stars and Stripes in February 1944. By March 1944, he was given his own jeep, in which he roamed the front, collecting material and producing six cartoons a week. His cartoons were viewed by soldiers throughout Europe during World War II, and were also published in the United States. The War Office supported their syndication, not only because they helped publicize the ground forces but also to show the grim and bitter side of war, which helped show that victory would not be easy. Willie was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1945, and Mauldin himself made the cover in 1958. Those officers who had served in the army before the war were generally offended by Mauldin, who parodied the spit-shine and obedience-to-order-without-question view that was more easily maintained during that time of peace. General George Patton once summoned Mauldin to his office and threatened to "throw his ass in jail" for "spreading dissent," this after one of Mauldin's cartoons made fun of Patton's demand that all soldiers must be clean-shaven at all times, even in combat. But Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander European Theater, told Patton to leave Mauldin alone, because he felt that Mauldin's cartoons gave the soldiers an outlet for their frustrations. In 1945, at the age of 23, Mauldin won the Pulitzer Prize. The first collection of his work, Up Front, was a best-seller. The cartoons are interwoven with an impassioned telling of his observations of war. In 1998, Mauldin drew "Willie and Joe" for publication one last time, as part of a Veterans Day strip for the popular comic, Peanuts. The creator of Peanuts and a World War II veteran himself, Charles M. Schulz, had long described Mauldin as his hero. He signed the strip Schulz, and my Hero, and then had Mauldin sign his name underneath. Mauldin died on January 22, 2003, from complications of Alzheimer's disease and a bathtub scalding. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on January 29, 2003. Married three times, he was survived by 7 children. On March 31, 2010, the United States Post Office released a first-class denomination ($.44) postage stamp in Mauldin's honor depicting him with Willie & Joe. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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