Wednesday, October 31, 2018

HAUNT OF HORROR "Nightmare Patrol"

Here's a fascinating Vietnam War-era tale...
...created in 1974, just after American participation in the conflict ended!
This never-reprinted tale from Marvel's Haunt of Horror V2N1 (1974) was part of a wave of horror tales propted by the loosening up of the Comics Code to allow "traditional" monsters (who had been banned since the mid-1950s) back into comics!
DC was having some success with their new Weird War Tales book as well as the long-running Our Army at War/Sgt Rock and several others, but Marvel's war titles had been reduced to just Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos...and that had just gone reprint!
So a new war-oriented title was out of the question, and the story found a home in the premiere issue of the second version of Haunt of Horror (the first was a short-lived digest featuring novelettes and short stories).
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Friday, May 25, 2018


In 1917, as America's Doughboys headed into battle...
When France presented the United States with the great Statue of Liberty, which stands at our gates, she little thought how powerful that symbol of her friendship would some day prove!
By its shining light we now march to her aid!

...a book of the New York Herald newspaper's editorial cartoons, entitled America's Black & White Book: One Hundred Pictured Reasons WHY WE ARE AT WAR, hit bookstores like a bombshell!
Editorial illustrator's W.A. Rogers' visceral renderings, previously seen only by NYC readers, reached a national audience already enraged by atrocities like the sinking of the Lusitania and ready to kick the Central Powers' collective ass!
The illustration above is the final piece in the book.
You can read (and/or download) the entire book from the Smithsonian's website HERE!
Remember those who served in uniform this weekend!
Until next time...

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

SPACE BUSTERS "Remember Makano"

It's the final battle in the series that may have inspired Don the John Trump's fantasy about a "Space Force"...
...appropriately enough, a tale that places emotion over logic!
This never-reprinted tale from Ziff-Davis' Space Busters #2 (1952) is the final story for the short-lived series.
Oddly, none of the sci-fi books about specific characters (this one and Lars of Mars, Crusader from Mars, and Space Patrol) lasted more than two issues!
But the anthologies lasted longer...Amazing Adventures ran six issues and Weird Thrillers ran five!
It must be admitted that Murphy Anderson's revamp gave the book a solid "shot in the arm" artistically, so why it was cancelled so abruptly remains a mystery!
Until next time...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

SPACE BUSTERS "Victory on Valda"

Editor Jerry Siegel wanted Space Busters to look more like...
... the recently-revamped and revitalized Buck Rogers strip!
With a looming deadline, Siegel contacted the Buck Rogers strip's artist, Murphy Anderson (who had recently left the series) to provide redesigns... well as the cover-featured story!
(Note: the cover is by Allen relation to Murphy!)
Personally, I'm not crazy about the purple-red color scheme, but at least it matches the uniform on the cover.
And, I think this is more the "look" Don (the John) Trump wants for his "Space Force" than the utilitarian garb of the first issue!

Until next time...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

WINGS COMICS "Captain WIngs Meets the Commie Korean called 'The Fanatic'!"

Though you leathernecks and dogfaces may not realize it from this cover...
...this was, arguably, the first Korean War comic book!
Yes, behind this cover from Fiction House's Wings Comics #105 (1949) lurked the first comic book story featuring Americans battling Communist North Koreans...a year before the war broke out!
Note: May be NSFW/NSFS due to racial stereotypes common to the era!
To go a bit "meta" for a second, I'd suspect a Commie told the Fanatic that his name meant "Patriot" or "Hero" in English!
Otherwise why use such an obvious villainous name?
Cover/interior artist Bob Lubbers was also the Art Director and primary cover artist of Fiction House's comic line.
So if his interior artwork seems a little loose, or rushed, remember he was dealing with a humongous workload encompassing a dozen books at any one time!
Note, BTW, that the Koreans are wearing modified WWII Japanese uniforms and flying Japanese aircraft.
Even the precognitive unknown writer didn't know the Chinese and Russians were supplying uniforms and aircraft to the NKs!
Captain Wings was a black-ops operator in the vein of Blackhawk or Captain Midnight, going wherever his country needed him.
Whaever the current threat was, from Nazis to Commies to flying saucer-piloting aliens, Captain Wings fought them all...usually with a beautiful woman at his side...and always won!
Unfortunately, the ultimate villain, cancellation, caught up with him and Wings Comics in 1954!
Until next time...