Combat on Canvas

Art and artifacts from the Marine front lines, now on display in Washington.


Alex Raymond


In this painting by Alex Raymond, better known as the illustrator of "Flash Gordon," the pilots of VMTB-143 gather in the ready room for a debriefing. According to notes in the scrapbook of Lieutenant Bob Cox (seated), this painting was based on a photograph Raymond took of the debriefing after the June 16, 1945 attack on Amami-Oshima Island. (See Raymond's sketch, here.)

In 1944, Raymond joined the Marine Corps as a captain, serving in public relations. His work on "Flash Gordon" was taken over by Austin Briggs. Raymond was made an honorary member of VMTB-143, even designing the squadron's patch.

Raymond left the service in 1946. Unable to return to his position at "Flash Gordon" (the newspaper pointed out he'd left voluntarily to enlist), Raymond started another comic strip titled "Rip Kirby," about an ex-Marine turned private detective.

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