Bill Mauldin, America's most famous war cartoonist and creator of grizzled grunts Willie and Joe, remains an icon to the "greatest generation." Legendary war correspondent Ernie Pyle attributed Mauldin's universal popularity to the fact that his cartoons "are funny, but . . . also terribly grim and real. They are about the men in line, the tiny percentage of our vast army who are actually doing the dying."
The late journalist David Halberstam expressed it this way: "One senses that if a war reporter who had been with Hannibal or Napoleon saw Mauldin's work, he would know immediately that it was right." After serving in Sicily and Italy, Mauldin won Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartooning in 1944 and 1959.