Sunday, June 23, 2013


War Combat [Marvel] ran five issues from March 1952 to November
1952.  Its numbering was continued in Combat Casey.  This initial
issue hit newsstands in my birth month of December 1951.  The best
guess for the cover artist is Carl Burgos, one of the more prolific
Marvel cover artists of the 1950s.

War Combat is your basic war anthology.  The Grand Comics Database
lists these contents and credits...

“Platoon Leader” (6 pages, art by Joe Maneely);

“Sixty Seconds” (4 pages, story by Hank Chapman, art by Werner

“Behind the Lines” (5 pages, story by Hank Chapman, art by Bill

“First-Time Soldier” (2 pages, text story);

“Silent Night” (3 pages, art by Mac Pakula; and

“Battleground” (5 pages, art by Robert Q. Sale).

When I find affordable copies of comics from my birth month, I buy
them or trade for them.  Alas, most of them are out of my checkbook
range.  The search goes on.

Keep watching this bloggy thing of mine for more vintage comic-book
covers from my birth month.


I’ve almost been too busy these past few weeks to read comic books,
but I did manage to catch up with a few titles.  Let’s start with
All-New X-Men #4-11 [Marvel; $3.99 each].

When I read Marvel super-hero comics, I assume that each and every
title is taking place in its own universe without regard to what’s
happening in other Marvel titles.  It’s the only way I can remotely
accept characters appearing in multiple titles simultaneously and
seemingly remaining unaffected by life-changing events in some of
those other titles.  Marvel personnel would probably dispute this,
but continuity is dead at the House of Ideas.  Surprisingly, this
doesn’t bother me.  Indeed, I find it liberating.

So we have this All-New X-Men title in which a slowly dying Henry
McCoy brings the original X-Men from their teenage years into the
dark present.  McCoy is hoping that, once the teen mutants see what
they and their world have become, they will be able to prevent the
darkness from overwhelming their past world.  That McCoy is insane
doesn’t seem to be as big an issue with the cast as it should be.

Though the story is slow-moving, I’m enjoying it.  The reactions of
those purer versions of the X-Men as they encounter themselves as
thoroughly messed-up adults is intriguing.  When one of the teens
decides to join Cyclops and his mutant terrorists, it makes sense
in a genuinely sad way.  Kudos to writer Brian Michael Bendis for
making this outlandish notion entertaining.  The series also boasts
excellent art by (mostly) the team of Stuart Immonen and Wade von
Grawbadger.  If readers, even old school readers, approach All-New
with an open mind and my “its own universe” mantra, I think
they’ll enjoy it as well.

Of course, even though my days writing for Marvel are likely well
behind me, I can’t help but read some of their titles and not think
about what I would do if I had the latitude Bendis seems to have.
In this case, I’d probably have someone try to set the timeline to
rights and, in doing so, wipe the adult versions of the original X-
Men out of existence.  Whoops!

You’d have the kids facing the enormity of what their adults selves
have done, maybe even being blamed for the various crimes of their
adult selves, and trying to make their way in a world that really
has every right to fear and hate them.  Yeah, this would seriously
screw with the Marvel Universe, but, why not?

We’re never gonna see a return to the Marvel Universe of the 1960s
and 1970s and so on.  I’m good with that.  I even relish it to some
extent.  As long as the comics are entertaining, intriguing and can
adhere to their own internal logic, I’m on board.


Happy! [Image; $2.99 each] wasn’t on my radar until I actually read
the 2012 series by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson.  I’m sure
I saw the Previews solicitations, but despite the title being drawn
by one of my favorite artists and written by a writer whose work is
always intriguing even when it’s not precisely to my liking, I just
wasn’t consciously aware of the four-issue series.

Robertson’s quietly unsettling covers caught my eye when I flipped
through comics loaned to me by a friend.  Grim images of a grungy
hitman, a seedy Santa with a suspiciously heavy sack and more.  I
had all four issues at hand, so why not read them?

Happy! is the “movie” I could imagine being made by some bastard,
twisted, recently escaped son of Walt Disney.  The title character
is the imaginary friend of a frightened little girl facing death at
the hands of a human monster.  He seeks out a dirty ex-cop who has
turned killer-for-hire in the hopes that the cop can save the girl
from her murderous captor.  Oh, yeah, and this is all taking place
around Christmas.  Ho...ho...ho.

I won’t tell you anything more about Happy! You need to experience
this entertaining slay ride without further description.  All I’ll
add is that this should be a movie and it would be the rare movie
I’d actually go to the theater to view.  Check it out.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews.
© 2013 Tony Isabella

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