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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creepy 56, 1973 “Summer Special Bonus”

The Warren magazine love continues! In this issue of Creepy, there are some really wild stories! Six stories, to be exact, that will make you absolutely cringe. You’ll see a cat used as a light chain, Satan get arrested (sort of), and a Cthulhu worshiping cult that demands a sacrifice! All of this waits inside with another phenomenal cover by Sanjulian!

Leading off, we have “In My father’s House.” A caretaker at a cemetery makes a grisly discovery, as a corpse is tied to a tombstone! The police investigation starts out slow, but picks up steam when one of the cops comes face to face with the devil! Written by Doug Moench, art by Auraleon!

“Innsmouth Festival” is next, and this one is straight out of the mind of H.P. Lovecraft! As we know, Innsmouth is a familiar setting for his stories, and also for this one as well! A reporter is sent to a small New England town to investigate and interview two ladies that say the town has a secret! It doesn’t take the skeptic long to figure out that they’re on the level! Written by John Jacobson, with art by Adolfo Abellan.

The third story, “Consumed by Ambition,” and this one tells a how a vampire vacations! It not only makes friends, but drinks their blood as well. There will be a finish like no other in this story! Writer, Jack Butterworth, and art by Martin Salvador.

The following story is in full color! yes, that’s right, you get a full color story (whether or not it’s a good thing) about a werewolf by none other than Richard Corben (story and art)! “LycanKlutz,” displays some incredible artwork, but the story is, well…ridiculous.

The Ways of all Flesh” gives another look at a story with a religious backdrop. A woman is murdered along with many others, and the town has lost their faith. In the end, we see that the vicar has his own, special congregation. Story by Doug Moench, with art by Jose Bea.

Lastly, we see “The Bell of Kuang Sai.” An ancient bell, ordered to be built by the powerful leader Kublai Khan! The metal workers from his kingdom are told the greatest bell of all time must be built in his honor. The metal worker tries repeatedly to make one, but it always cracks. He then summons the spirits of the gods, to aid him. The result is not what he had hoped for! Written by George Henderson and art by Munes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eerie 50, 1973 “And the Mummy Walks”

As we close out September, what better way to do this than with a mummy. Starting out a comic with a mummy murdering someone, actually! As we know, Mummies can be fickle, as can werewolves, demons, mad clergymen, aliens and so on. In this special issue of Eerie, you’ll get all of those, plus more, and all started off with an incredible cover by Sanjulian (nice Christopher Lee/Dracula/Hammer homage)!

The first story “The Mind Within” (The Mummy Walks), is a continuing story from previous issues. Mind transference, a funeral, and a mummy wreaking complete havoc! Written by Steve Skeates, art by Jaime Brocal. The story and art are both good, and the mummy especially looks great!

This Evil Must Die” is the next installment (Curse of the Werewolf) in this mag, and hearkens back to the Universal film with Lon Chaney Jr. More so in just the action, but also a bit like the The Wolfman (2010,Benicio del Toro ). A wild chase of the werewolf in the forest leads to a man getting beaten, and nearly killed (they think he’s a sorcerer). Story by Al Milgrom, art by Martin Salvador. Another cool story with artwork to match.

This next one is very interesting. Not only because of the story, but because the name of the story is “Genesis of Depravity” starring Satanna, Daughter of Satan! This book was on the stands less than a month before Marvel comics debuted Satana, the Devil’s Daughter, in Vampire Tales 2. Fascinating bit of information. A woman needs medical help, but the regular methods can’t help. She calls upon the devil himself for help! A story that sounds vaguely familiar, not to unlike Marvel Spotlight 5, with the first appearance of the Ghost Rider! Written by Doug Moench, with art by Ramon Torrents.

A young archaeology student gets more than he bargained for in “Monarch’s Return.” He finds some relics and something alive as well! Story by John Jacobson, and art by Aldoma. A theme that’s been used many times in books, films, and comics, but a good one nonetheless.

Another tale called “Lord’s Wrath” is in this mag, and it involves an awful Baron of a German village, circa 1650. The Baron is cruel and punishes all those that get in his way. But, there is a priest in the village that opposes him, and he’ll go to any length to stop him. Written by John Jacobson and art by Paul Neary. Some good, thought-provoking material in this one.

To keep the action going, we get “The Disciple.” There is some kind of unseen force, and it’s taking over the mind’s of the inhabitants of a city. One man finds out exactly what this thing looks like, and he’s shaken to the bone! Written by Steve Skeates and art by Munes. Interesting story by Skeates, and well worth the read.

Finally, another chapter in the saga of Dax the Warrior called “The Secret of Pursiahz.” Dax is shown something unbelievable by an old wizard. A golden colored man, with the wings of an angel. Story and art by Esteban Maroto! Maroto is quickly becoming one of my favorite horror artists of all time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creepy 52, 1973 “A Most Private Terror!”

Another week, and we’re getting closer to October! I started the party last week, a little early I know, but from now until the end of October, you’ll see nothing but love for the Warren magazines of the 1970s! In this issue of Creepy, we get six big stories, chocked full of black and white madness!And of course, we get an unbelievable cover by none other than Sanjulian!

The first story (and the best), has perennial Bronze Age storyteller Doug Moench (writer), and horror powerhouse Esteban Maroto (art) bringing the awesome. “A Most Private Terror,” shows a warrior in the Canadian wilderness, as freezing temperatures and his thoughts are making him believe that something is out there, wanting to kill. A bear or maybe a werewolf? Or perhaps something even worse called the “Cold Thing?” Will he die from one of these creatures, the frigid temperatures, or madness?

The second tale involves a futuristic society, but not one that has moved beyond violence. “The Last Hero” doesn’t star Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sly Stallone, but it does show a war between factions, that is more a morality play than a horror story. Still, it’s not bad, and has some value to it. Written by Steve Skeates, and art by Ramon Torrents.

Next up is “Halve Your Cake and Eat it Two.” This one is all about nuclear fallout, and the repercussions. And when I say repercussions, I mean zombies! Story by Doug Moench and art by Adolfo Abellan.

Them Thar Flyin’ Things” is the following story that revolves around two hillbilly cops and alien invaders! Not a lot of action, but an interesting tale nonetheless. Written by Greg Potter, with art by Jose Bea.

In the fifth story, “The Man with the Brain of Gold,” and we see a boy, born with a giant cranium made of gold! In this warped tale we see a sad demise and a tale as old as time. Written by George Henderson and art by Reed Crandall!

Lastly, a story of jealousy and murder abounds, but who committed the murder? Was it the husband who murdered his wife? He can’t remember but it sure looks like he had a motive! Written by Steve Skeates, with art by Felix Mas.

Overall the issue is good but not great. A little too up and down with the stories and artwork. Doug Moench is very solid and Esteban Maroto is such a pro, and throw in EC comics stalwart Reed Crandall, and you get some good material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Adventures 18, 1973 “War of the Worlds!”

You may be wondering why there are back to back days of posts on my blog this week. Well, in short, it’s an anniversary for me (and a few others), and I wanted to send out an extra awesome blog post in celebration. You see, it was ten years ago (Sept. 11, 2009), that my very first column was published (click here). It wasn’t the best, but it was from the heart, as that story is my all time favorite Thor story, and one of my favorites no matter which character or universe we’re talking about. If anyone would’ve told me I’d still be writing about comics ten years later, I’m not sure I would believe it.

Many thanks go out to ComicAttack for giving me my start on this journey. As with everything in life, there are people to thank, and here is my list (if I forget anyone, apologies!)- Andy Liegl, the guy that started ComicAttack.net! I met him and several other great people on the message boards of ComicCollectorlive.com. Gid Freeman (@InfiniteSpeech), was a heavy contributor to the site from day one, and has been one of my favorite people since I met him. Kristin Bomba was a great editor, and put up with my shenanigans for a long time. Imagine if you will, a guy that waits until the night before or even the morning of a column is due to post to submit said article to the editor for proofreading…yeah, I was that guy. She was always very kind and gracious to me, and I’ll never forget it. Another huge influence and help to me was Decapitated Dan Royer (@DecapitatedDan). He was always there for advice, making banners, and encouraging me whenever I needed it. He was also the first guy to get me on a podcast (IIRC). Kudos to those four people, and all the other peeps at CA!

My next stop on the internet was ComicRelated.com (now defunct). My stay there was short, but Chuck Moore and the gang made me feel welcome. Another nod to Decapitated Dan, as he was already writing for them and friends with Chuck. He introduced us at C2E2 in 2013. Later that year, after talking with a couple of friends, I decided to branch out and start my own blog. In all honesty it was the best decision I ever made, as the blog has given me so much freedom and fun times, meeting new people, and getting even more into social media (especially Twitter). And here we are, in 2019. I must also give a shout out to @Charlton_hero and the crew at Super Blog Team Up, as they were a blast to collaborate with this past August. Now, onto this week’s post!

It took a while, but I finally secured a copy of this incredible book! The story-line involving Killraven begins here, (and really gets rolling when Don McGregor begins writing with issue 21) and is not only one of wonder and excitement, but also one that carries many messages within its pages. A concept by Roy Thomas, this story which takes some elements from the H.G. Wells story, and of course, added some other aspects as well.

We see the attack from the aliens, similar to the one in the film (this attack is in 1901), but the aliens return after there first defeat, and they are better prepared this time. The second invasion brings the defeat of mankind, and youths are taken from their homes to be trained for fighting for entertainment purposes. One of these youths is Killraven. He trains and becomes the most lethal killer of all, but never forgets how his mother and brother were callously murdered by a henchman of the aliens, named Dr. Raker.

The talent that went into this book is astonishing. Roy Thomas (plot), Gerry Conway (script), Neal Adams and Howard Chaykin (art), Petra Goldberg (colors), John Costanza (letters), and John Romita Sr. (cover)! As I stated earlier, this book would grow even bigger and better as it went on (McGregor, P. Craig Russell, Gene Colan, etc) with more contributors with excellent creative abilities. Do yourself a favor and grab the issues or the Marvel Masterworks of this title.

 

Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane 43, 1963 “Lois Lane – Volunteer Nurse!”

It’s no secret to anyone that reads this blog, that I really love crazy DC Silver Age stories. Well, this one is one of the hammiest stories I’ve read in a while. The stories are basically all imaginary that don’t count towards continuity (even before Crisis came along in the 1980s), but they’re still a lot of fun!

The first story shows a “death of Superman,” but not “the” death…oh wait, that was bogus too. So this story (“The Girl who Mourned for Superman“) isn’t any different than the blockbuster from the speculatory period in the 1990s. Back to 1963, and Lois, as she’s wandering around and sees some kids trying to recreate the Ben Franklin kite and key experiment. After a minute of peer pressure, Lois agrees to help them. Just as a lightning bolt strikes the kite, Superman swoops in to save the day, and to chastise Lois for this “hair-brained stunt.” Then Lois heads into the Daily Planet, and gets an assignment from Perry. As she attempts to leave in the helicopter, the vehicle is sucked up into a plastic sphere, directed by none other than Lex Author himself! It’s all a ruse to get his most hated enemy, Superman, to try and save Lois, and fall into a trap! Script by Leo Dorfman, art by Kurt Schaffenberger (cover by Schaffenberger as well).

The second story, and coincidentally, the one that mirrors the cover image, shows Lois as a volunteer nurse at the local hospital. Perry ends up there after tripping over a ball and chain that Jimmy was using as a prop. A general then enters Perry’s room, to ask him to keep an eye on a soldier that’s in the hospital. Immediately the soldier falls for Lois. But, there is quite a plot twist in this one, that I’ll keep a secret! Writer, Leo Dorfman, art by Kurt Schaffenberger.

Lastly, we get “The Girl Who Deserted Superman!” Yes, I know, a lot of “girls” in these books. In this one, Lana gets hurt water skiing, as she falls off her skis, and somehow falls in the water, floats to the bottom, and hits her head hard enough to get a concussion. Lois and Superman decide they knows better than the doctor, and can snap her out of her coma by whispering to her about some fantasy’s they think she has about Superman. Absolutely ridiculous and absolutely hilarious. Welcome to Silver Age DC comics. Again, Dorfman and Schaffenberger as the creative team.

Check out the last image, as it’s a fantastic advertisement from the back cover of this book! Enjoy!