Thursday, October 30, 2014

80-Page Thursdays: G.I. Combat #204!


...well, that's problematic. From the days when war comics were as wholesome as a glass of milk before bedtime (1977, in this case!) G.I. Combat #204, with stories from Robert Kanigher and art from Dick Ayers, Sam Glanzman, E. R. Cruz, and more. "The Sound and Fury of War in Seven Blockbuster Tales!" Three of which feature the Haunted Tank, in battlefields from Bastogne to the South Pacific...back to Germany. There's not a lot of continuity in those stories, yeah.

One of the tank's crew this issue, Gus, was black; yet doesn't seem to have a problem with tank commander Lieutenant Jeb Stuart keeping a Confederate flag on his tank and claiming to see and be guided by the ghost of his ancestor, General J.E.B. Stuart. Admittedly, Jeb didn't seem to have a racist bone in his body, and Gus seemed to accept that Jeb had gotten them out of a ton of sticky situations one way or another. Still, I wonder if you could write a completely post-modern Haunted Tank story. I think it's been tried a few times and gets fixated on racism, and the significance of the Reb flag today rather than in WWII; but I think there's some mileage that could be gotten out of if the General was real or a manifestation of Stuart's mind trying to deal with the horrors of war or simply insanity. While blowing up Nazis. (Wikipedia says the Haunted Tank was DC's second-longest running war comic, behind only Sgt. Rock.)

Also this issue: E.R. Cruz draws a couple O.S.S. stories, one with frogmen, the other with a film director versus his Nazi counterpart. I kinda liked that one.

Dick Ayers draws a story set during the blitz in London, and there's a short tale of two pilots dueling in the skies: a German baron, and a black man. Those two were credited to Bart Regan, a pseudonym of Robert Kanigher. I don't know how many 80-Pagers G.I. Combat, but I think I had seen a few.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that both GI Combat and Sgt.Rock lasted so long considering the niche audience it catered to, but that's still pretty damn impressive for back then.

Yeah, they did attempt a modern take on the haunted Tank. I think it could still work in a mini or two every couple of years. but yeah, the flag. Even being only half-Southerner, I don't see the big deal about it. What it used to stand for doesn't apply anymore, although in the minds of those who are Southern, it kinda still does to them both in a historical sense, and maybe racially as well.
Idk, but can be a sore topic.
I think the idea of the haunted Tank rocking the rebel flag while in Afghanistan or Iraq is funny. Kinda' like the Southern/Spirit of '76 version of the Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries when it rolls into town.