Marvel Team-Up 71, 1978 “DeathGarden”

It feels like it has been forever since the blog covered a marvel anthology title (superheroes). After sifting through some boxes, I decided to spotlight this one! How can you not get drawn in by this cover? Cap slowly dying, Spidey and the Falcon swooping in to try and save him, the always loved Marvel hyperbole…”when dies a legend!”

The story isn’t too deep, but it’s mostly about the action, drama, and the two heroes getting together to save a mutual friend in Captain America. You do get a lot in this issue though, as A.I.M., Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Redwing, and the Plantman all make appearances! A fun issue and you always get that with Marvel Team-Up!

Written by Bill Kunkel, pencils by David Wenzel, inks by Dan Green, letters by Rick Parker, colors by Francoise Mouly, and edited by Jim Shooter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machine Man 2, 1978 “House of Nightmares”

When Jack “King” Kirby returned to Marvel in the mid-1970s, not only did he spend time on an old favorite, Captain America, but he also created some new characters that were absolutely mind-blowing. One at the top of the list has to be Machine Man. An android created by a scientist, that in turn was killed trying to remove the auto-destruct mechanism from him. Machine Man was introduced in the pages of 2001: A Space Odyssey (issue 8, 1977). This was another Kirby vehicle that was initially based on the film (Stanley Kubrick) and novel (by Arthur C. Clarke). Kirby eventually took the book in his own direction though, and brought more of his Bronze Age bombast with it.

Kirby eventually left Marvel in 1978/1979 (after issue nine of this series), but the title did go on for a few more issues with Steve Ditko on art. It was interesting, but not the all out craziness and cool of Kirby (some of that was definitely the writing, too).  But we did get this awesomeness from the King for those first nine issues, and how glorious they are to behold! Written, edited, and penciled (cover as well, with possible inks by Mike Esposito) by Jack Kirby, inks and letters by Mike Royer, and colored by Petra Goldberg!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captain America 601, 2009 “Red, White, and Blue-Blood”

In 2009, the world was treated to one more story drawn by Gene “The Dean” Colan. This was his swan song in mainstream comics (all of comics unless I’m mistaken), and it was fittingly a war/horror story! Yes, this is #warcomicsmonth and you do get some WWII action, but you also get some bloodthirsty vampires as well! A fantastic send off for one of the industry’s greats (R.I.P. Gene). Written by Ed Brubaker, with colors by Dean White.

The story starts out in Bastogne, France in 1945, with Cap, Bucky, and their unit, as they’ve discovered some other soldiers that were killed, but there’s something different about the way in which they were killed. Cap and Bucky wait and eventually see that the soldiers rise and are now part of a vampire legion! Cap and Bucky must now battle against men that served by their side, and not only that, but townspeople as well, including children!

This book is one that holds a high place in my pantheon of comics. Gene Colan is my all time favorite artist, and there is no finer example of why than this book. You get some very good scenes with dialogue with Cap and Bucky, but the action scenes, especially the ones that involve the undead, are simply incredible. Even on his last pro job, Gene delivered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SGT. Fury and His Howling Commandos 108, 1973 “Bury My Heart at Dresden!”

As I continue plowing through #warcomicsmonth like a Sherman tank, I thought it would be awesome to give Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos a look! For Marvel fans, this is the big dog of war comics, with only some ancillary titles in the mix (you’ve got to count Captain America in there for a lot of his publishing history). Marvel really did a great job with this team, as it not only had (eventually) distinct personalities for each character, but it was full of diverse ones as well.

In this epic tale, Fury and the Howlers are trapped in enemy territory, as the Allies begin to bomb the city of Dresden. In this real world event (like quite a few of these tales) more than twenty thousand lives were lost. This issue shows the real cost of war and how often those that are not involved get caught in the ugliness. Yes, we also see the usual awesomeness of Fury and the Howlers kicking Nazi butt, and the issues that feature only that are fun as well. But, this one is a bit more profound than most, and will definitely get you thinking. Dum Dum, Izzy, Gabe, Dino, Pinky, etc., they’re all here in this explosive issue!

Written by Gary Friedrich, pencils by Dick Ayers (cover by Ayers as well), inks by Vince Colletta, colors by Dave Hunt, letters by John Duffy, and edited by Roy Thomas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blitzkrieg 3, 1976 “The Execution”

When I first heard of this title, I wasn’t aware of the premise. Once I learned of its angle though, I was a bit concerned how they would pull it off without being a bit intrusive. Somehow DC managed to show WWII through the eyes of German soldiers without being offensive. It sounds impossible, but they did a good job, with a very good creative team. In this issue (the only one I own), we see real action, and death. The very horrors of war. A good book, but a realistic one as well that really makes you think about how awful war really is.

The issue is kicked off by an awesome Joe Kubert cover. His monumental work at DC is something I don’t know if anyone will ever truly be able to fully appreciate (myself included). The amount of covers, interiors, and influence for other artists that followed is incredible.

Inside there are two stories, and both have the same creative team. Robert Kanigher (writer) and Ric Estrada (art), provide riveting stories in both and really set a grim mood for what you see. They pull no punches, even showing children ending up on the wrong side of violence (“The Partisans“). The first tale (“The Execution“) is also quite brutal, showing some Allied soldiers getting killed in an ambush. Again, a very interesting book that shows more than likely an accurate portrayal of the Big One. Don’t shy away from this title, get it if you can. To everyone out there, have a blessed Veterans Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G.I. Combat 271, 1984 “The Haunted Tank”

As you should know by now, November is “War Comics Month.” Use this hashtag on Twitter to find all the love for these comics. Honestly, it seems like these old books are getting forgotten more and more every year. I’m not sure why that is, but definitely give these books a chance. They hold historical value, even if it’s only in an ancillary way. So many of them also have the awesome talents of Joe Kubert on the cover, and rightly so, as he’s one of the staples from the industry during his tenure. With five awesome stories, and more than forty pages, this book rocks!

The first story (possibly my favorite) involves one of DC’s best war concepts, in The Haunted Tank! “A Birthday Gift from the Enemy,” shows us the horrors of war right from the on-set. No sugar coating here, as some of the men almost get killed. Sgt. Craig fights back admirably, and those that are still alive regroup, but a grenade lands right on top of the tank where Craig is, and he’s in bad shape. It’s up to Lieutenant Stuart and the Haunted Tank to get him to a hospital alive! Created and written by Robert Kanigher, art by Sam Glanzman, letters by Gaspar, colors by Jerry Serpe, and edited by Murray Boltinoff.

“The Last Charge,” is about a bugle, that has been used from the Civil War all the way up to WWII! A very bleak story though, and until the very end, you get a full dose of the horrors of war. Written by George Kashdan, art by Gerry Talaoc, and letters by Esphid Mahilum.

Next is “Dead Man’s Bluff.” This story is one of the most disturbing I’ve ever read. We see some American soldiers in an underground maze of sorts, and up against some Japanese soldiers. The ending is quite shocking, especially for a two page story. Written by George Kashdan, with art by Jose Matucenio, colors by Jerry Serpe, and letters by Esphid Mahilum.

In “Son of a Gunner,” a group of soldiers parachute out of a plane into hostile territory, and are immediately accosted by the enemy. A much more positive end to this one for sure. Writer Arnold Drake, artist Alfredo Falugi, colors by Jerry Serpe, letters by Hector Formento.

Lastly, The Mercenaries (Soldiers of Fortune), star in “Timetable for Terrorists.” The story revolves around some mercs as they take on some terrorists in the Middle East. Story by Robert Kanigher, art by Vic Catan, with letters by Andy Ang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman 236, 1971 “Wail of the Ghost Bride!”

Happy Halloween! I’ve been spotlighting the wonderful additions to my collection from Warren Publishing (Creepy, Eerie) over the last several weeks, and I hope you enjoyed them. Now though, it’s time for some holiday spookiness from the caped crusader himself, Batman! In this issue, we get three stories, but the one I’m going to be focused on is “Wail of the Ghost Bride!” Written by Frank Robbins, with art by Irv Novick (pencils) and Dick Giordano (inks).

The opening splash page shows Batman attacking a man with his back to the audience, and with a ghostly apparition of a woman egging him on to kill her murderer. We then flashback to a time before, and Bruce Wayne is on a flight back to Gotham City. He’s reading a book on unsolved mysteries (cue Robert Stack), and wonders about the death of a woman named Corrine, the heiress to Hellbane Manor. He falls asleep and begins to dream. He wakes up though, and lurches back in terror, as this same woman he read about, Corrine, is outside the window, calling to him to avenger her death. From here, the story follows Batman, as he attempts to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of the young woman.

The story is a good one, but the overall brilliance is the art by Novick and Giordano. The two make a great paring for a character like Batman, and really showed me that they belong right up there with the other great Batman creative teams. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a fabulous cover by Neal Adams!

I’ll just briefly mention the two back up stories. First is “Rain Fire” written by Mike Friedrich and again Novick and Giordano on art. It’s just ok, and not really my cup of tea (a political/social commentary story). The second one is a reprint from Batman 30, 1945. “While the City Sleep,” is a fun little romp by Bill Finger (writer, and the true creator of Batman with the various ghost artists), with art by Dick Sprang!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eerie 51, 1973 “Special Issue, Best Stories Ever!”

In this, the final installment of my  Warren Publishing Halloween spectacular, we get an all-out “best stories” issue! The issue brings some interesting stories for sure, but some similarities to comics/characters that would come later down the road from other publishers (I’m looking at you, Marvel). But when they say it’s a best of issue, they weren’t kidding. And, as a bonus, you get seven big stories in this issue rather than the usual six! All started off with a beautiful painted cover by Sanjulian!

The first story is one that shocked me quite a bit. Not really because of the content, but one of the characters has a strong resemblance to Gamora of the Guardians of the Galaxy. And just so it’s clear, this came out two years previous to Gamora’s first appearance. OK, back to the story. “A Stranger in Hell” is a mysterious one that shows a man that cannot remember his name, and is lured deeper into a realm that closely resembles Hades itself! Written by T. Casey Brennan, and art by Esteban Maroto!

The following story is entitled “Pity the Grave Digger!” It shows a gruesome tale of a graveyard full of vampires! And if that wasn’t enough, we also get something else insidious that will gnaw on you! Story by Buddy Saunders, and art by Auraleon.

The third selection is an absolutely terrifying yarn! “The Caterpillars,” is about a secret government lab, and something called Project X-3. Something rises from a grave, and later an autopsy reveals a worm was inside a skull, eating away at the victims brain! Written by Fred Ott, artwork by Luis Garcia!

Evil Spirits” gives us not only two iconic creators I’ll mention in a second, but first there’s a woman that has disturbing dreams. By the end of it, she’s swinging an axe, but at whom? Story by Archie Goodwin, art by EC legend, Johnny Craig!

In “Head Shop,” a man takes an interest in an odd dummy head. The head seems to change it’s facial expressions, and become almost psychotic! In fact, if the man keeps obsessing he might end up losing his head over it. Written by Don Glut, art by Jose Bea.

The next story is another treat because of the creative team. “Vision of Evil” is quite a yarn. This one shows us an artist that has a flare for the dramatic with his horrific paintings. There’s only one problem…they’re a bit too life-like! Written by Archie Goodwin, with art by Alex Toth!

Finally, “The Curse of Kali!” This tale involves British soldiers and a bizarre adventure in India. By stories’ end, most of the soldiers don’t make it out alive to tell the tale! Story by Archie Goodwin, with art by Angelo Torres!

This issue is a must have for any Warren mag, horror, or fan of Archie Goodwin and these fantastic artists!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creepy 57, 1973 “The Destructive Image”

In this, the penultimate black and white magazine spotlight for October (I have something special planned for the 31st), the awesome talents of Sanjulian are on full display with this cover! The horror and fantasy elements here are spectacular, and really eye-catching. After so many good covers, it’s easy to get spoiled, and give him his due, but lets be honest, the man deserves it.

As usual, the issue contains six stories, and some fun games and little articles as well. Uncle Creepy introduces us to the stories, and adds his usual bit of sick humor as well. Alright, here we go!

The first story is called “The Destructive Image.” In this one, we see how television can become reality. A deadly reality! Written by Don McGregor, with art by Ramon Torrents.

The next story is called “The Hope of the Future,” and it involves a man and some children. Not just any children though, the kind that murder! Story by Doug Moench, and art by Jaime Brocal.

The Bloodlock Museum,” is a story that shows a psychotic man and his one-of-a-kind museum. And the man that he’s giving a tour to will be the final exhibit! Writer Jack Butterworth, art by Martin Salvador.

In the middle of the book we get a story in full color (not sure how I feel about this). It’s called “The Low Spark of High Heeled Noise.” A couple let a stranger stay at their home for the night with interesting results! Writer Doug Moench, and art by Richard Corben.

Following the Corben/Moench madness, is “The Red Badge of Terror.” A war/western story with a vampiric twist! A very good yarn by Doug Moench (story) and Jose Bea (art)!

Finally, we have “Sense of Violence.” The story shows us a paranoid man that thinks everyone is out to get him. He uses a knife to defend himself against his attackers, but was any of it real? Story by Doug Moench and art by Munes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eerie 52, 1973 “Who Will Die?”

Dear cousin Eerie, thanks for all the horror! Especially in this issue, where there are six stories! The Mummy, werewolf, and others scare up some excitement, as Warren magazines brings another issue packed with the scary! And as usual, we get it all started off with a wonderful painted cover by Sanjulian!

The first story gives us a “Ghoulish Encounter,” as The Mummy himself comes face to face with a flesh eating zombie! You see the mummy, snappin’ necks and cashing checks, a zombie chowing down on an unsuspecting dude, and more! Story by Steve Skeates, and art by Jaime Brocal!

Next up, is another tale of the werewolf! “Darkling Revelation” as we see the werewolf meet a fortune teller, and a traveling band of Gypsies. Needless to say that by the time our story ends, the werewolf is doing werewolf things. Writer Al Milgrom, with art by Martin Salvador.

The third installment “Hunter,” is indeed a strange one. We see a a man faced with the harsh reality that a war has devastated the planet, with talk of a demon nearby who knows how this tale will end! Story by Rich Margopoulos, art by Paul Neary.

Beheaded” gives us a haunted house and a headless ghost! A very spooky story that is atmospheric with a deadly ending! Written by John Jacobson, with art by Aldoma.

The penultimate story in this book is called ” The Golden Kris of Hadji Mohammed.” A story about a golden dagger, and the men who will kill to get their hands on it! Written by George Henderson, art by Munes.

Finally, we get another chapter in the story of “Dax the Warrior.”Death rides this night is the name of the story, and it’s no joke, as we see a crew of skeleton warriors on horseback to open the action! Not only that, but Dax is having woman trouble as well, and this kind can’t be settled with some flowers and chocolates! Written and drawn by Esteban Maroto!

A very strong issue, and of course, the back pages are filled with those wonderful ads we all know and love!