The Army knew better than to stick a talent like Will Eisner in a foxhole. The artist was allowed to serve his country from behind a drawing board, where he was the chief creative force behind a series of comic instructional manuals. The best-known of these was Preventive Maintenance Monthly, the highlight of which was always Eisner’s single-panel “Joe’s Dope Sheet” feature. The star of “Joe’s Dope Sheet” was the unnamed woman above, who somehow managed to make gasket-tightening seem quasi-pornographic. I’m especially fond of this installment, in which the woman castigates a pint-sized soldier for installing the wrong cable control unit on his bulldozer. Though Eisner was also capable of much more overtly titillating fare, too.
Laugh at the sophomoric use of pneumatic sexuality if you must. But think of how many lives were saved by the messages contained within Eisner’s cheesecake work. If you’re grandfather didn’t die in a jeep accident in Korea, he might well have the female star of “Joe’s Dope Sheet” to thank.