As a kid I was more into DC superheroes than British war comics, but you couldn't ignore their existence, sitting on prominent display at the newsagent. Square-jawed heroes of the RAF versus cruel guys in Nazi uniforms who said "Achtung" an awful lot. Goodies against baddies, with a world view as black and white as the pulp pages inside the covers.
It wasn't that Superman or Batman didn't deal with a simple breakdown of good and evil either, but they were clearly fictional characters, not the seemingly realistic types that bled as they lobbed grenades into Panzer tanks. World War II was still as close as my dad's memories of the North African campaign and German POW camps.
The so-called historical books of the Hebrew Bible share some of the same characteristics as those 1960s issues of Commando. There is no room in either for independent judgement or ethical concerns. It's them and us, and we're the righteous ones. No room for doubt, just shut up, salute, and get on with the derring-do.
But the world has changed, thank God. We encourage a new generation to ask questions, challenge unjust authority and engage in critical thinking. In a multi-cultural world we can no longer rest content with cardboard cut-out stereotypes. It's no longer acceptable to do a bad Peter Sellers Indian accent when your kids go to school with Indian kids who, it turns out, aren't all that different after all (and speak perfect English).
So what do we do with the horrific narratives that adorn the Old Testament. The ones that portray Canaanites and Philistines as barely human and subject to God-sanctioned genocide? These tales are not on the fringe of Heilsgeschichte, but close to the central core.
And, to ask an uncomfortable question, how influential are these biblical "boy's own" stories in warping our understanding of current conflicts in the Middle East vis-a-vis the Israelis and Palestinians?
There are times I wonder if Marcion had it right.