When Two Worlds Collide – A Review of The M16A1 Rifle Operation and Preventative Maintenance Manual

When Two Worlds Collide – A Review of The M16A1 Rifle Operation and Preventative Maintenance Manual

This truly is a rare case of art imitating life, where two, or even three worlds collide. I’ve clearly set out my stall from the outset, and on other social media platforms listed my interests, including as such ‘Plastic Deth‘ – Militaria, Comics and Comic art and in this instance they’ve all inexplicably fused, crossover style in truest ‘hardcore’ fashion …

Recently introduced to this piece, whilst trawling through a set of photos, on Caleb Crye’s Instagram account from a recent visit to a military museum, I subsequently tracked down a copy digitally in PDF form.

Not content without possessing this in physical form, I sought out what these would be appraised at for an original, better yet, I discovered on Amazon they had been reprinted …

These where originally issued, in the latter part of 1969 as a morale inducing ‘comic book’ format to U.S. Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen serving in combat in Vietnam.

The U.S. teamed up with renowned cartoonist Will Eisner to produce teaching tools in an easily digestible, humorous format to teach best practice on maintenance, care and operation of the fledgling M16A1 and XM177E2 – aka ‘Shorty’ …

First printed in 1969, here it’s been beautifully reprinted in hard back format replete with dust jacket, and is now accompanied with a brief history by Robert A. Sadowski, renowned for work in Gun Tests and SHOT Business magazines.

This stunning hardback includes all of the original material, as featured in the 1969 ‘comic’ and features a female instructor, who narrates to GI’s on proper care of their AR-15 rifles, notorious for jamming and malfunctioning.

More than a simple manual and step-by- step guide, this unconventional yet historically important military document tried to appeal to soldiers with suggestive chapter titles such as ‘How to Strip Your Baby’ and ‘All the Way with a Néligé’. This 32 page was in fact issued to nearly every soldier serving in the conflict, Vietnam

Will Eisner, an artist famous for creating The Spirit in 1940, also introduced the medium of the graphic novel. To this day the Will Eisner Awards, ‘Eisners‘ are awarded for creative achievements within the comic book industry.

As one of the most influentially cited artist of his generation his beautifully descriptive artwork, beautifully demonstrates not only his narrative skill but easily explains complex workings in visually easy to understand skill draughtsmanship.

A highly recommended piece for any bookshelf, and an entertaining read over a hot cup of coffee – S23

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