Comic Book: The Desert Peach
Erwin: [War] is not a game! What would you know about it? All you care about it is whether you can get the correct brand of mineral water!
Pfirsich: Maybe if more people worried about the things I worry about, and less about the things you worry about, we wouldn't have all this silly war business.
During World War II
, fighting for the Germans was a general called Erwin Rommel
: "The Desert Fox". This comic isn't about him. This comic is about his fictional gay younger brother, Pfirsich Rommel: "The Desert Peach".
Pfirsich is a colonel (oberst) running a small support unit of gravediggers
in the Afrika Corps. He's helped by his trusted orderly Corporal Udo Schmidt, annoyed by the Nazi-supporting Lt. Kjars Winzig and loved by his handsome fiance Rosen Kavalier.
Pfirsich's unit doesn't really fight in battle, and the Peach likes it that way. Most of the comic revolves around the interactions between the characters, the various messes they get into
, and how they deal with war. The Desert Peach
is notable for its incredibly human characters, who all have faults and make mistakes yet are still heartwarming and engaging. It's also one of the few works of fiction that remembers that the Wehrmacht
made of up people who committed breathtakingly disgusting atrocities against innocent and/or helpless people, though this is helped by the focus on the African Front - a marginal part of the war in which the stakes were low, the need to extort food and clothing and housing from the local population was also low, and there was no intention to exterminate the local population (as in the northern, central, southern, and south-eastern fronts of the Eastern European Theatre). The story does well to present everyone as human throughout, something many stories that 'do' acknowledge the Wehrmacht's jaw-droppingly long list of cruel and brutal acts fail to do.
Originally published in print, it's now being released online
(may be NSFW).
- And Zoidberg: With a dash of Black Comedy. Cloud Cuckoo Lander Dobermann is back from a stint back in the Reich.
Dobermann: They was killing kikes! And queers!! And Jehovah's Witnesses!!! I'M a Jehovah's Witness!! WHO'D WANT TO HARM A JEHOVAH'S WITNESS!!!
(Cut to the rest of the squad, looking up at the sky and whistling.)
- Anything That Moves: Rosen has been known to have sex with women too.
- The spin-off novel Bread & Swans, implies that Rosen had only ever had sex with women until he met Pfirsich. There's a line about Pfirsich's beauty activating the part of Rosen's brain that is apparently best described as "an omnisexual monkey".
- Artistic License – History: Contrary to what the comic claims, Udo could not have been a member of the Nazi Party while in the Heer. Longstanding German law provides that political party membership lapses instantly upon entering the armed forces.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Pfirsich is a true gentleman, unless you do something that makes him angry (such as beating up his orderly).
- Butt Monkey: Udo.
- Camp Gay: Pfirsich.
- Cassandra Truth: Who was it that trashed the bar? "The old man did it!" and who was he fighting? "A Cossack!"
- Closet Key: Pfirsich is this to Rosen.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Dobermann.
- Companion Cube: Dobermann's pet Teller-mine "Fridl".
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Pfirsich decides the men have had too much time to cause trouble, and orders his sergeant major to come up with something to keep them busy.. The punishment? Move the ENTIRE camp exactly one meter to the right.
- Drugs Are Bad: They cause the normally effeminate Pfirsich to act extemely macho. And psychotic to boot.
- Every One Calls Him Barkeep: Rosen Kavalier is a nickname. His real full name (Melvin Gonville Ramsbottom) is very embarassing.
- Gratuitous German: Buckets of it, mostly footnoted, some of it actually safe to repeat in polite company.
- Heroic BSOD: When Pfirsich has some pretty good evidence of the Final Solution brought to him, complete with caption "Image Not Accessible. Attempting Reboot."
- Jerkass: Rosen Kavalier. Handsome and dashing, and an incredible jerk. Word of God, "He's Steve Dallas in Jackboots. And he gets away with it because he's sex on a stick."
- Multinational Team: For a German army unit, they are remarkably cosmopolitan. A French North African auxiliary, the aforementioned Cossack, the German-American P.O.W. who runs the camp newspaper..
- Naked People Are Funny: Issue #3 "A Day at the Beach", (a.k.a. "The Infamous NUDE Surfing Issue".)
- Painting the Medium: An early issue starts with Pfirsich in prison and the comic in white lines on black. Then his brother shows up and rips and tears until normalcy is restored. "When you're a legend, you can do anything!"
- Pink Is for Sissies crossed with Insistent Terminology: Pfirsich's scarf is "peach-colored". Pink is "tacky".
- Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: Bears repeating, according to the newly assigned camp medical officer/psychiatrist.
Eddsel: "My duty demands that I point out that you have a unit that consists of NOTHING but stray puppies!"
Pfirsich: "Herr Doctor, YOU have just been assigned to this unit.."
Eddsel: "Woof woof Mein Herr."
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: Pfirsich is facing down an angry mob of local women, who want the head (and various other bits) of one of the men in his unit (who totally deserves it). Pfirsich draws his pistol (duty is duty, even for scum) and gets a stovepipe jam. He's ready to clear it (a matter of 2 seconds), when he realizes..
Pfirsich: "I can't help you darling, my gun's jammed."
- Scenery Censor: The first 20 or so pages of "The Infamous NUDE Surfing Issue", getting increasingly ridiculous, until Udo breaks the fourth wall and calls the creator on it.
- The Faceless: Erwin Rommel's face was constantly hidden, at least until issue #7.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Lt. Kjars Winzig. (Ironically, he wasn't a member of the Party because he would have had to pay dues.)
- Even more ironic, the only Nazi in the whole unit is Udo. He happens to be Jewish. He only joined because a desperate party recruiter bought him beer.
- Later, we find out Udo's family all joined up, to prove that Jews were as patriotic Germans as anyone. One of his cousins ended up in the SS.
- Wronski Feint: Rosen does this to a British pilot. Justified; Rosen's in a Stuka (a dive bomber that's meant for this sort of action) and the Brit isn't.