Friday, June 21, 2013
SHOCKING TALES OF COMBAT
in my December 1951 birth month. The cover is terrific. The logo
and the Lee Elias cover are striking - no pun intended - especially
on that bright yellow background. War Battles ran for nine issues
from February 1952 to December 1953.
The Grand Comics Database doesn’t have any writer credits for this
issue, but it does have a list of the contents and has identified
some of the artists who drew these stores. Here’s what that most
useful and wonderful of resources has...
“Guns... Guts... Glory!” (contents page)
“Devils of the Deep!” (7 pages; art by Bob Powell)
“The Trap!” (5 pages; art by Lee Elias). Heritage Auctions claims
this story was drawn by Ray Bailey, but GCD contributor and really
smart guy Ger Apeldoorn says: "after seeing it up close, I have to
go with Lee Elias. I have seen a lot of Bailey and this is ‘cuter',
there are no close shots in the way Bailey would use them and no
Caniff profiles Bailey uses all the time."
“The Battle of Brooklyn” (7 pages; art by Jack Sparling)
“Aces Low!” (4 pages; artist unidentified at this time)
The issue also contains some short feature pages and text pieces.
Counting the Elias cover, over 28 pages of the issue’s 36 pages are
devoted to editorial content.
Keep watching this bloggy thing of mine for more vintage comic-book
covers from the month of my birth. There are only a handful left
for me to write about, but, when I’m done with them, I’ll switch to
comics from another important month in my life.
We’ve lost one of our best. Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson
passed yesterday, June 19. Diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this
year, Thompson would’ve been 57 years old this September. When I
learned of his death, I posted this on my Facebook page:
RIP Kim Thompson. I didn't know Kim well. We probably shared no
more than a couple conversations and a half-dozen e-mails over the
many years. But I own hundreds of great books that he was involved
with in one way or another. He left his mark on comics and did so
with grace, honor and intelligence. I'm very sad for all of us, but
especially for those who knew him well.
After I posted that, I read many comments about Kim and attempted
to do a little math. The number of books I own in which Kim had a
hand likely reaches the high hundreds. Fantagraphics has published
so many outstanding works in our field and done this for decades.
The company has the most impressive backlist in comics.
The Comics Journal has had a contentious history over the years and
some of those mourning Kim commented on that. The older I get, the
more I cherish that kind of in-your-face commentary, even when it’s
turned on people and things I love. So much of the comics press is
so deferential to the larger publishers that they might as well be
unpaid interns of those publishers.
Gary Groth usually comes in for the bulk of any ire comics people
might have towards Fantagraphics. Kim seemed to sail through the
controversies easily. He was universally respected and even liked.
There are days when I wish I were more like Kim. Most days I admit
I’m more like Gary. It just took me longer to get there.
Kim leaves a legacy of comics publishing that will be honored for
as long as there is a comics industry. He also leaves behind his
loving wife, his family and his friends. He will be missed doesn’t
begin to cover it. But he will be missed.
Comments to this bloggy thing of mine must be approved by me before
they appear. I don’t have to explain the reason for this to anyone
who has spent even one minute reading online comments.
I’m not a fan of anonymous comments. I put my name to my opinions.
Others should do the same. For the most part, I don’t have a firm
rule about anonymous comments. But if I consider someone’s comment
to be on that line between approval or rejection, anonymity doesn’t
work in the poster’s favor.
Using a pseudonym is the same as not signing your comments at all.
It works against you and your comments.
Of course, you can sign your name, include your address and phone
number, send me a copy of your birth certificate and your comments
will still be rejected if you’re an asshole. I rejected comments
by a wrong-winger who agreed with some of my comments on Superman
because he also felt compelled to add I was an immoral person who
was destroying America and whose political views made him vomit.
I suspect forensics would prove it’s his own bile spewing from
his Fox News-infected soul that’s causing his digestive problems.
In any case, insulting your host is a sure way to make yourself an
unwelcome guest at this blog. I’m still amazed I have to explain
that to anyone.
Besides this bloggy thing, my favorite social media venues are my
Facebook page, The Official Tony Isabella Message Board (Facebook,
replacing my mysteriously vanished Comics Community message board)
and the “Tony Isabella & Friends” board at The League of Extremely
My Facebook page has around 5000 friends, which means I’m getting
very selective about who I add. My turn-offs include people who’ve
taken the names of fictional characters, people whose likes include
racist groups and women young enough to be my daughter who, having
seen my picture and profile, want to make the sweet love with me.
I use my Facebook page to post remembrances of comics creators who
were friends of mine or whose work I admire. These are among the
most popular threads I post, often getting over 100 likes and even
dozens of responses. Still, the Internet being what it is, from time to
time, I must delete posts denigrating the creator I’m remembering.
That anyone would do this baffles me. To me, it’s like going to a
wake and shouting that the deceased was a prick. When someone
doesn’t like the person I’m honoring, they should just keep their
pie-hole shut. I’ve un-friended people who can’t understand
this simple etiquette.
I also post notices from The First Church of Godzilla, of which I’m
the pastor. The Great Scaly One protects us from enemies alien and
home-grown with his fiery atomic love. It can be a tough love at
times, what with the folly of man and all, but it is a love which
does not discriminate. Whatever your race, creed, nationality or
political preferences, we all scream the same when we are crushed
underneath our Lord’s big scaly feet. I think there’s a lesson to
be learned in that.
I do post the occasional political comment or link on my Facebook
page, but these are NO COMMENT ZONES. Take what I say or
link to for whatever you think it’s worth, but don’t start a comment thread
which I will then have to police. If you don’t think this simple
request is tolerable, then un-friend me. Because if you attempt to
post, your comment will be deleted and, if you continue to annoy,
you will be un-friended. As with this bloggy thing, I’m your host
and I try to make things pleasant for you. If you then make things
unpleasant for me, I’ll show you the door.
Having now entered the grumpy zone, I’m going to end today’s blog
entry here. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella