Thursday, 30 August 2012

Weird War Tales

Weird War Tales was launched by DC in 1971 under Editor Joe Kubert to exploit the relaxation of  the Comics Code.  Vampires, ghouls, werewolves and other supernatural subjects were now allowed and DC were taking advantage with horror/mystery titles such as House of Mystery, House of Secrets and Witching Hour so Weird War Tales was an attempt to present war stories with a horror/mystery twist.  The first issue was cover dated September/October 1971.
Weird War Tales #1 (September/October 1971)
Art by Joe Kubert

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

DC Big 5 War Comics: G I Combat

The final title in my overview of DC's Big 5 War Comics did not originate with DC but was a Quality Comic Publication that DC continued to publish after purchasing the company.  DC also continued to publish Quality's Blackhawk but chose not to hand Blackhawk to Editor Bob Kanigher as they did with G I Combat.  Quality launched G I Combat in 1952 hot on the heels of DC's Our Army at War, Star-Spangled War Stories and All-American Men of War.
G I Combat #1 (October 1952)
Art by Reed Crandall

Friday, 24 August 2012

DC Big 5 War Comics: Our Fighting Forces

DC had successfully entered the war comics market in 1952 with Our Army at War, Star-Spangled War Stories and All-American Men of War and so Editor Bob Kanigher was instructed to launch another title and Our Fighting Forces was the result, making its debut cover dated October/November 1954.
Our Fighting Forces #1 (October/November 1954)
Art by Jerry Grandenetti
The comic followed the tried and tested formula of the other war anthologies and featured high quality art from the best in the business including Jerry Grandenetti, Russ Heath, Joe Kubert, Ross Andru and Irv Novick.
Our Fighting Forces #21 (May 1957)
Art by Joe Kubert

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

DC Big 5 War Comics: All-American Men of War

All-American Comics is one of the most important titles in DC history as it shared its title with its original publisher All-American Publications which alongside National Allied Publications and Detective Comics evolved into what we now know as DC Comics.  The first issue was cover dated April 1939 and was an anthology covering humour and adventure stories.
All-American Comics #1 (April 1939)
Art by Sheldon Mayer
No single character dominated the cover until the debut of Green Lantern in #16 (July 1940).

Monday, 20 August 2012

DC Big 5 War Comics: Star-Spangled War Stories

Star-Spangled Comics was launched by DC in 1941 as a superhero anthology title featuring Star-Spangled Kid by Jerry Seigel and Hal Sherman.
Star Spangled Comics #1 (October 1941)
Art by Hal Sherman
Star-Spangled Kid remained as the cover star until #7 (April 1942) with the debut of Guardian and the Newsboy Legion by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

DC Big 5 War Comics: Our Army at War

I started to write this post before I heard about the death of the legendary Joe Kubert. Readers of this blog will be aware of my love of the art that Joe created over his long career.  During the course of my next few posts I will be writing about DC war books and there will be a lot of Joe's art involved.  Joe Kubert was and remains an absolute legend.

DC Comics are attempting to revive their once great line of war comics.  As part of the New 52 they launched a new Men of War title and revived Blackhawks, both were cancelled after eight issues.  Blackhawks had gone through many re-vamps and re-boots over the years and whilst I enjoyed some of the incarnations of the group I have never really considered it to be a war comic in the same way as I viewed G I Combat.  Men of War was an attempt to relaunch a revered DC war title and update the character Sgt. Rock.  The New 52 continuity is still evolving and I am not sure if the "real" Sgt. Rock existed in this new time line. DC has not given up as they replaced Men of War with a new G I Combat containing revamps of The War That Time Forgot and Unknown Soldier, both stalwarts of Star-Spangled War Stories.

Personally I think what DC are attempting with their war comics is impossible to achieve.  The youth of today can get their military fix from Code of Duty or any one of many combat games on the market.  Most of the customers interested in military comics would probably be happy with monthly anthology re-prints from DC's Big 5 War Comics illustrated by great artists such as Russ Heath, Joe Kubert, John Severin, Ross Andru and Jerry Grandenetti.  Over the course of my next five posts I will be providing an overview of each of DC's Big 5: Our Fighting Forces, All-American Men of War, Star-Spangled War Stories, G I Combat, and to kick things off, Our Army at War.

Our Army at War #1 (August 1952)
Pencil Art by Carmine Infantino, inks: Joe Giella

Monday, 6 August 2012

Top 5 Team-Up Books: The Brave and The Bold

The best team-up book in my personal top 5 will come as no surprise and is The Brave and The Bold,

1 - The Brave and The Bold (DC Comics)

Brave and The Bold #50 (October/November 1963)
Art by George Roussos
Launched in August 1955 as an adventure comic by legendary writer/editor Bob Kanigher, the comic went through many changes of direction and famously launched the Justice League of America in #28 (February/March 1960) under the editorial direction of Julius Schwartz.  The team-up concept was suggested to an incoming editorial team of Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan by Bob Haney and first appeared in #50 (October/November 1963).

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Top 5 Team-Up Books: Marvel Two-in-One

In Silver medal position in my run down of my personal list of the top 5 team-up books, just edging out Marvel Team-Up, is Marvel Two-in-One starring the ever lovin', blue-eyed, idol o' millions, Benjamin Grimm.

2 - Marvel Two-in-One (Marvel Comics)
Marvel Two-in-One #1 (January 1974)
Pencil Art by Gil Kane, inks: John Romita

The concept of a Thing team-up series originated with Marvel Feature #12 - #13 (September 1973 - November 1973) and continued for 100 issues from January 1974 to June 1983.  I was lucky enough to pick up the first Marvel Feature issue that paired the Thing with the Hulk, how could I possibly pass up the opportunity to read a comic with a cover like this: