Even that first copy of Adventure Comics #247 I ever bought felt like I’d seen it plenty of times before.

§ June 18th, 2018 § Filed under retailing, what is it good for § 13 Comments

One strange aspect of being involved in comics retail for so long (officially 30 years this September)

is that despite all the old comics and collections that have passed through my hands, both at my previous place of employment and at my own shop

and how familiar to me many, many individual issues and covers of other genres of comics have become, DC Comics war titles always seem fresh and new to me.

I’ve held multiple copies of Amazing Fantasy #15, but I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve ever beheld many of these recent war comic acquisitions in person (such as this copy of DC Special Series #13 from 1978).

DC’s war comics don’t turn up in collections very often or in much quantity, at least compared to their superpowered cousins

whether it’s due to copies not surviving, readers not giving up their copies, or simply scarcity from comparatively lower sales (particularly in latter-day examples).

Even the rarest superhero comics have a feeling of “been there, seen it” that the war comics do not, possibly due to the extra coverage they get, the extensive reprinting, the familiarity of the characters and situations.

Occasionally I’ll even find one in a collection I want to keep…the irony, in regards to this discussion, that the comic in question prominently features superhero covers is not lost on me.

But as much as I get that “new to me” feeling from individual DC war issues I rarely encounter, don’t get me started on the Charlton war books.

13 Responses to “Even that first copy of Adventure Comics #247 I ever bought felt like I’d seen it plenty of times before.”

  • philfromgermany says:

    Wow, that angle on the tank crashing down the ravine is just pure comix gold. You don’t get such visuals in computer games or in movies. I love it!

  • JWRollins says:

    War is Hell.

  • Pete says:

    Joe Kubert was incapable of making a boring cover.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Myy immediate reaction to that Losers cover is to ask, “Who thought it was a good idea to parachute in a one-legged PT boat commander for an inland commando mission?”

    In my youth I read several early Losers stories, but I missed the first couple of appearances. I have thus always been left to wonder: Why are the Army and the Navy represented in the team by captains, but the Marines are represented by a sergeant and a private? Were the Marine Corps screwed over, or did they just not care? And just what is the command structure in such a group? Who has ultimate authority, Cloud or Storm? Could Gunner and Sarge refuse to obey either one, on the grounds that he was in a different branch of the military?

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    I will elaborate on my first point in the above post. The Losers were essentially a commando team, usually running secret missions in Nazi-occupied Europe. One had a wooden leg, another was a Navajo. Surely they would have been rather conspicuous.

    I find myself imagining them in a remake of GUNS OF NAVARONE, with Johnny Cloud trying to pass himself off as a Greek fisherman, and Capt. Storm nonchalantly joining the crowd in a cafe.

    I add the suggestion that, if you ever get in a run of CAPT. STORM, its covers would also make for a good post. Apparently, DC regarded his wooden leg as the main selling point.

  • Jim Kosmicki says:

    The real reason they were Losers was that they’d all had their cover-featured series cancelled by the time DC editorial decided to hedge their bets and see if combining them could cobble together enough readers. It worked well enough to survive through to the Crisis. The selling point to me for the early part of the series was the John Severin art.

  • Steve from Palm Springs says:

    Joe Kubert (and Russ Heath) were responsible for many of DC’s best covers of the ’60s. A shame they’re not as familiar to us as crappy superhero covers by lesser artists.

    I’ve often thought a great collection of DC war covers would be “Hidden Nazis” — the heroes proclaim how great it is to be free of Nazi presence, but hiding somewhere on the cover, ready to pounce, are … you got it … Nazis. There must be at least a hundred Kubert covers like this.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    Beautiful covers.

    Any suggestions on good collections for a novice like me to read?

  • Jon Rollins says:

    Andrew Davison, look for the Sgt. Rock 80 page giant (was there more than one?), or reprints of it. I thought it was a nice overview with great stories.

  • dw says:

    Andrew Davidson. Not many great collections out there, but DC war comics are extremely undervalued and most 60’s or 70’s titles are worth a grab, even if just for the kubert covers. I would recommend hitting a con or a large store with a decent back issue selection. I’ve amassed a large collection of these mostly out of 50cent or dollar bins.

  • Eric L says:

    Did they ever publish any of the war comics in those phone book sized SHOWCASE books they used to do? No color, but it seems like they’d be tailor made for that kind of thing.

  • Till O. says:

    Eric L., Yes, DC has published several of the old war comics in Showcase format: Sgt. Rock, Unknown Soldier, The Losers, The Haunted Tank, and Weird War Tales. I think most of them are out of print, so I would recommend checking the usual places-eBay, used book stores, Amazon, and your local store.

  • @misterjayem says:

    “Joe Kubert was incapable of making a boring cover.”

    I think this is why I always take note of a new-to-me DC war comic. So many of the covers are a perfect mix of art and marketing.

    — MrJM