Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Under the Evergreen is...SUPER GREEN BERET!

Never failing to capitalize on a pop culture trend, '60s comics publishers, noticing the popularity of the hit single Ballad of the Green Berets (by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler & Robin Moore) quickly produced comics series featuring the elite Army unit.
Most were standard war comics, but one stood out from the rest for sheer weirdness...
What do you get when you combine...
1) Green Berets and the VietNam War
2) Teenagers...
3) SuperHeroes?
of course!

Green Beret Roger Wilson saves a Vietnamese monk from a wild boar, and in return the grateful priest attaches a pin to his beret which makes it glow.
Home on leave, Roger gives the glowing beret to his teenage nephew Tod Holton, who discovers that, when he puts it on his head and salutes, he's transformed into a super-powered adult dressed in a soldier's uniform!
(It's sorta like the Golden Age Captain Marvel, a teenager who said the magic word SHAZAM and was transformed into a super-powered adult, albeit with his teenage mind.)
Using his new-found powers of teleportation, telepathy, telekinesis, transmutation, time travel, invulnerability, and super-strength, Tod decides to fight Enemies of Our Country, mostly in present-day Asia, but also travels through time to the American Revolution and World War II, during his two-issue run!
Yes, it's as hokey as it sounds!

We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ felt that we couldn't let such an outrageous character and concept be forgotten, so, as part of our War: Past, Present, & Future™ line, we incorporated Super Green Beret as a light-hearted example of 1960s funkiness to contrast with the seriousness of our World War II and Korean Police Action material (plus we wanted an excuse to make some kool SGB collectibles for ourselves)!

So stick a Super Green Beret collectible under the tree or in a stocking for your loved one!
It's the next best thing to an original 11.5" GI Joe!
(And I should know, since I received one of the first Joes at Christmas, many years ago!)

BONUS: A FREE Christmas present for you: the never-reprinted premiere of Super Green Beret!
You gotta see it to believe it!
(And there'll be more to come next year!)

Monday, November 11, 2013

WARFRONT "Tomorrow's War"

In honor of Veteran's Day, we present an unusual tale...
...which was created and produced during the Korean War, but published several years later, resulting in an interesting re-write...
Though the enemy sub and crew are described as "Japanese" (thus placing the tale during World War II), all the ships and aircraft are Korean War-era technology.
America had no military jet aircraft (except a couple of experimental prototypes) until after WWII.
The "angled deck" aircraft carrier with the deck angled to the port side creating a second "runway" wasn't developed and built until after WWII.
Helicopters weren't used on American carriers until the beginning of the Korean War.
(The few helicopters that did see action in WWII were too big to be practical on a carrier)
The jet fighters are shown attacking an enemy rocket base...but Japan had no such bases!
(Korea did!)
So, why were the changes made?
We can only therorize that when the story finally appeared in Harvey's Warfront #34 (1958), the Comics Code Authority ordered changes probably due to the use of the racist term "gook" in the original script, although simply calling them "commies" or somesuch would've done the same thing and kept it in the Korean War timeframe.
The art's by Bob Powell and his studio, but the writer (and rewriter/editor) are unknown.
Until next time...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

WORLD WAR III "Commando in Mufti"

Things are not as they seem in this tale...
...about a third World War that began in 1960!
(You remember when that happened, right?)
This never-reprinted (in color) story from Ace's World War III #2 (1953) was written by pulp and paperback writer Robert Turner and apparently inked by Jim Mooney, who might have penciled it, as well.
Until we meet again...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

WORLD AROUND US "These Brave Fields"

On the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettyburg, we present a never-reprinted feature from World Around Us #26 (1960), based on Battle of Gettysburg, an eyewitness account of the battle by Colonel Frank A. Haskell.
A few weeks after Gettysburg, Haskell wrote an account of what he had experienced at Gettysburg and sent it to his brother Harrison, who couldn't get even a local newspaper to publish the first-hand story!
Colonel Frank A Haskell
The tale would be published (postumously since Colonel Haskell was killed in 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor) in 1898 as Battle of Gettysburg. 
The book was hailed by noted Civil War authority Bruce Catton as "One of the genuine classics of Civil War literature."
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Monday, July 1, 2013

"Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg"

It's the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg....
...so this week we're going to present two never-reprinted stories about the battle.
You'll note the ambivalence about which side was "in the right" in this tale from Hillman's AirBoy Comics V5N12 (1949).
Both the writer and artist are unknown.
Be back here on July 4th for another tale time-lost of Gettysburg.
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

D-Day Special: D-DAY "D-Day for the Fighting Airborne"

69 years ago today, the course of World War II changed...

...when the Allies, spearheaded by American forces, invaded Nazi-controlled "Fortress Europe" at several locations on the coastline of the French provence of Normandy.
Unlike our previous, closer to real-life D-Day Special, this one is a more gung-ho, typical "war comic" tale, albeit featuring some superb artwork by comics legend Wally Wood!

Published in Charlton's D-Day #2 (1964) on the 20th Anniversary of the invasion!
D-Day was an annual title from 1963-68.
All the tales in the first issue were about the June 6th invasion of Normandy.
All successive issues had at least one D-Day-themed tale.
But later issues also featured other World War II battles as well as Korean War, Vietnam War, even American Civil War stories!

Since he was too young to enlist in the military during World War II, Wally Wood joined the Merchant Marine.
Turning 18 in 1945, he enlisted in the Army, became a paratrooper, and served in post-war Japan.
After his hitch, he briefly attended the brand-new Hogarth School of Art (now-known as the School of Visual Arts) and made the rounds of comic book publishers, where he met fellow artist John Severin (who illustrated our earlier D-Day Special).
And the rest is comics history...

Monday, May 27, 2013

WAR FURY "Unconquered"

It's Memorial Day, 2013...
...and, with our humble thanks to those who serve, a tale about the first (and hopefully, only) Korean War, published at it's height in 1953!
This story from Comic Media's War Fury #1 (1952) is typical of the period.
The emphasis is on the enemy being Communists, not Asians, as was done (sometimes to extremes) in World War II comics.
(That's not to say racial insults or ethnic stereotypes weren't occasionally used,but they weren't on the level of the extreme caricatures of cartoonish slant-eyed and buck-toothed Japanese from the previous war.)
Plus, most of the writers and artists were vets from the European and Asian theatres of war, with first-hand experience of the horrors of war less than a decade earlier.
In the case of this story, artist Don Heck had been too young to enlist (or be drafted) during WWII, but odds are the unknown writer was a vet.
Until next time...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

FOXHOLE "Walkie Talkie"

With North Korea rattling their rusted sabers yet again...
...let's look at a story created during the first Korean War by the legendary Simon & Kirby studio when they were publishing their own titles!
Art for this tale from FoxHole #2 (1954) was by WWII vet Bill Draut (who served in the Marines).
While the writer is unknown, it's likely that either Joe Simon or Jack Kirby (or both as a team) penned it.

FoxHole was a comic produced by writers and artists who had served in the military.
The creators usually put their names and ranks on the splash panels of the stories.
(The book's subhead read "This is WAR as seen by the Guys Who Do the Fighting!")
Jack Kirby, as the book's co-publisher, primary plotter, and layout artist didn't sign his name on the stories even though he served in the Army as a scout, sneaking behind enemy lines and creating sketches and maps of enemy-held areas.
He also did the cover at left.

Unlike most Korean War-era comics, this was not a gung-ho, kick-ass title, but one that took a hard-edged look at the heavy cost of war to the participants.

Until next time...