Saturday, April 27, 2013
NO HAVEN FOR THE HELLCATS
Going through my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, I found a file folder
marked EARLY SCRIPTS. Inside the folder were complete scripts and
script fragments from the late 1960s. I’d written most of these in
the two-column format I learned from Stan Lee’s Secrets Behind the
Comics. We continue the exploration...
In yesterday’s bloggy thing, you got four pages of the unfinished
“Dial H for Hero” script I wrote in 1968. Today, you get the three
pages I wrote of a “Hunter’s Hellcats” script. I wrote these pages
in 1968 or 1969. However, before I get to these pages, I need to
give you some background.
Our Fighting Forces was a family-oriented war comic for over four
years in the 1960s. It starred the brother of a famous DC Comics
character, then twin brothers fighting in Vietnam and, finally, the
father of those twin brothers.
The long-running “Gunner and Sarge” series came to a close in Our
Fighting Forces #94 [August 1965]. The next issue introduced “The
Fighting Devil-Dog,” cover-blurbed as “the great Sgt. Rock’s Marine
brother.” Created by writer/editor Robert Kanigher with art by Irv
Novick, Lt. Larry Rock held the cover spot for a mere four issues
before being replaced by another new feature.
“The Hunter” made his debut in Our Fighting Forces #99 [April 1966]
in a Kanigher/Novick story set in Vietnam...“The savage war that’s
riddling all the rules!”
Phil and Nick Hunter were the twin sons of U.S. Army vet Ben Hunter
and followed their father into the military. The twins shared an
almost telepathic connection. Phil became a Green Beret but left
the military after several tours of duty. Brother Nick joined the
Air Force and was shipped to Vietnam.
When Phil learned Nick had been captured by the Viet Cong and also
started to have nightmares of his brother’s captivity and enhanced
interrogation, he reenlisted and went into the jungles of Viet Nam
to find and rescue his brother. He succeeded.
The “Capt. Hunter” feature ran through issue #106 with Howard Liss
writing most of his adventures, including the finale, and Jack Abel
drawing several of them. “Trial by Fury” (14 pages) was the finale
and led into Our Fighting Forces’ next cover feature, “Lt. Hunter’s
Hellcats.” This new series was set in World War II and starred the
then-Lieutenant Ben Hunter.
“Hunter’s Hellcats” was possibly inspired by E. M. Nathanson’s 1965
novel The Dirty Dozen, which was adapted into the blockbuster 1967
film of the same name. Since the movie didn’t premiere until mid-
June of that year, DC was already up and running with the concept.
In this DC series, Ben Hunter was a former homicide detective who
recruited his squad of from military stockades with each of his men
having been criminals in their civilian lives.
Legendary editor and writer Robert Kanigher was in command of Our
Fighting Forces when the Hellcats debuted in a story by Howard Liss
with artist Jack Abel. Liss and Abel would do seven more stories
during the feature’s two-and-a-half=year run.
When Joe Kubert became the editor of DC’s war comics, Kanigher took
over the writing of “Hunter’s Hellcats.” Russ Heath drew one story,
Frank Thorne drew three and Art Saaf did the final five. My best
guess is I wrote my three script pages in late 1969, either just
before or after the series end in issue #122 [November-December,
1969]. I’m presenting them in the two-column format I was using at
the time. Here they are...
As with yesterday’s “Dial H for Hero” script, any professional or
hopeful comic-book artist who’s wanted to draw a Tony Isabella
script has my permission to just that. Draw them and do with them
as you please, though it would be polite to give me a look at them
and provide a link to wherever you post them online.
I’ll wrap up my exploration of my EARLY SCRIPTS file folder on the
morrow. See you then.
© 2013 Tony Isabella