Men of War (comics)

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Men of War
All-American Men of War #2 (Dec. 1952/Jan. 1953), the first issue of the long-running series. Artwork by Jerry Grandenetti.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule All-American Men of War: Bi-monthly:
#1-11, #77-117
Monthly:
#12-76
Men of War:
8 Times a Year:
#1-9
Monthly:
#10-26
Format Ongoing
Genre
Publication date All-American Men of War:
August–September 1952 - September–October 1966
Men of War:
August 1977 - March 1980
Men of War (vol. 2):
November 2011 - June 2012
Number of issues All-American Men of War: 118
Men of War: 26
Men of War (vol. 2): 8
Main character(s) various, (vol. 2): Sgt. Rock
Creative team
Writer(s) Hank Chapman, France Herron, Robert Kanigher;
Men of War Cary Burkett, Jack C. Harris, Paul Kupperberg, Roger McKenzie;
Men of War (vol. 2): Ivan Brandon
Artist(s) Gene Colan, Mort Drucker, Mike Esposito, Jerry Grandenetti, Sheldon Moldoff, Russ Heath, Bernard Krigstein, Joe Kubert, Irv Novick, Alex Toth

Men of War is the name of several American comic book series published by DC Comics. For the most part, the series was an anthology comic featuring fictional stories about the American military during World War II.

The original series, All-American Men of War, published 118 issues from 1956 to 1966. Contributors to All-American Men of War included writers Robert Kanigher, Hank Chapman, and France Herron; and artists Alex Toth, Gene Colan, Mort Drucker, Mike Esposito, Jerry Grandenetti, Sheldon Moldoff, Russ Heath, Bernard Krigstein, Joe Kubert, and Irv Novick. Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's famous 1962 work Whaam! is based on a Jerry Grandenetti panel from the cover of All-American Men of War #89 (January–February 1962).[1]

A second series, simply titled Men of War, published 26 issues from 1977–1980. Regular contributors included writers Kanigher, Roger McKenzie, Cary Burkett, Jack C. Harris, and Paul Kupperberg; and artists Grandenetti, Dick Ayers, and Howard Chaykin.

A third series, also titled Men of War, starred Sergeant Rock and was published from Nov. 2011 – June 2012.

Publication history[edit]

All-American Men of War[edit]

All-American Men of War did not start with issue #1; it was a renaming of the 1948 series All-American Western, which itself was a renaming of the 1939 series All-American Comics. The title became All-American Men of War with issue #127, published in August–September 1952. All-American Men of War published two issues before rebooting the numbering — oddly enough, with issue #2—in December 1952-January 1953. All-American Men of War #35 (July 1956) featured the first painted cover on a DC comic book.[2]

One of the earliest known examples of pop art, Roy Lichtenstein's Whaam! adapted a panel from a story titled "Star Jockey", from All-American Men of War #89 (January–February 1962), drawn by Irv Novick.[1][3][4] The painting depicts a fighter aircraft, the North American P-51 Mustang, firing a rocket into an enemy plane, with a red-and-yellow explosion (in the source comic the aircraft is a North American F-86 Sabre). The cartoon style is heightened by the use of the onomatopoeic lettering "Whaam!" and the yellow-boxed caption with black lettering. Lichtenstein used other artwork from this series for other works, including Brattata and Bratatat!.

The All-American Men of War letters page was titled "Combat Corner."

Men of War[edit]

After an 11-year gap, the title series returned. Titled simply Men of War, it published 26 issues from August 1977 – March 1980.

Men of War vol. 2[edit]

Men of War vol. 2 was launched in 2011 as part of The New 52 initiative; the series was written by Ivan Brandon. In January 2012, DC announced that Men of War would be one of six titles cancelled following its eighth issue,[5] to be replaced by a "second wave" of six new titles.

Recurring characters and features[edit]

All-American Men of War[edit]

  • Khaki-Yaks—humorous one-pagers by Irwin Hasen were a regular feature of early issues, beginning in #10 (Apr./May 1954).
  • Gunner and Sarge—introduced by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru in issue #67 (March 1959), this was one of the first recurring features in war comics,[6] although most of their adventures took place in Our Fighting Forces (issues #45–94, May 1959–August 1965).
  • Tank Killer—This feature appeared in issue #69, 71, 72, and 76.
  • Johnny Cloud—a Native American World War II P-51 Mustang pilot, Johnny's adventures were told by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick. The "Navajo Ace" appeared in every issue from #82 to the end of the series (Nov./Dec. 1960 – Sept./Oct. 1966). Johnny Cloud, with Gunner and Sarge, later became part of The Losers,[7] a team which in the late 1960s and early 1970s was the main feature of Our Fighting Forces.
  • Lt. Savage, the Balloon BusterWorld War I aviation strip written by Robert Kanigher and drawn by Russ Heath, which was conceived as a counterpoint to the German Enemy Ace. Steve Savage appeared in issues #112, 113, 114, and 116. Later continuity established that Lt. Savage was the son of Brian Savage, a.k.a. Scalphunter, as well as the grandson of Matt Savage, Trail Boss (a recurring character from the 1948–1961 series Western Comics).[8]

Men of War[edit]

  • Gravedigger — the codename of Captain Ulysses Hazard, the character debuted in Men of War #1 (Aug. 1977), and was created by David Michelinie and Ed Davis.[9] Gravedigger was featured in every issue of Men of War.
  • Enemy Ace — a regular feature of Men of War, Hans von Hammer appeared in about half of the 26 issues.
  • Dateline: FrontlineCary Burkett's feature about a war correspondent appeared in issues #4–6, 9–11, and 21–23, before moving over to Unknown Soldier.
  • Rosa Master-SpyPaul Kupperberg's feature appeared in issues #17, 18, 24, and 25.

Men of War vol. 2[edit]

  • Sgt. Rock—stories of military action following the devastation of Earth by super-powered beings.

Collected Editions[edit]

Title Material collected Year ISBN
Showcase Presents: Men of War Men of War #1-26 January 2014 978-1401243883
Men of War Vol. 1: Uneasy Company Men of War vol. 2 #1-8 July 2012 978-1401234997
Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Volume 2: Secrets of the Dead Men of War vol. 2 #8,
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #0, #8-16
April 2013 978-1401238186

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lichtenstein, Roy. "Whaam!". Tate Collection. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  2. ^ Irvine, Alex; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1950s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "All-American Men of War #35 featured the first painted cover, by Jerry Grandenetti." 
  3. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). DC Comics : Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch. p. 149. ISBN 0821220764. "Of particular interest to Lichtenstein was artist Irv Novick, who had been Lichtenstein's superior officer in an army unit assigned in 1947 to create posters, signs and other artistic ephemera of military life. Fifteen years later, Novick was a journeyman comic book artist on DC titles like All-American Men of War, and the panels he drew were providing fodder for Lichtenstein paintings that would eventually sell for millions of dollars apiece." 
  4. ^ Waldman, Diane (1993). "War Comics, 1962–64". Roy Lichtenstein. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. p. 104. ISBN 0-89207-108-7. "He modeled Whaam! on a panel from "Star Jockey"..., making several alterations that might at first seem insignificant but are in fact rather substantial. In the comic-strip panel (fig. 92), the central element is the airplane on the left, which has just scored a major victory over the enemy aircraft. Although it conveys the impact of the explosion, it shows the enemy plane smaller, at a distance, dominated by the huge letters of the exclamation "WHAAM!" whereas in Lichtenstein's version , the conquering plane and the exploding plane are given equal prominence. The painting balances the good guys against the bad guys, and is a far more compelling image as a result." 
  5. ^ Johnston, Rich (January 12, 2012). "DC Comics To Cancel OMAC, Men Of War, Mister Terrific, Hawk And Dove, Blackhawks and Static Shock". Bleeding Cool. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2012. "DC Comics has also announced six cancellations, all ending on their eighth issues. Men Of War, Mister Terrific, O.M.A.C., Hawk And Dove, Blackhawks and Static Shock." 
  6. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 93: "War comics had rarely featured recurring characters, but writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru changed that with the introduction of U.S. Marines Gunner MacKay and Sarge Clay in All-American Men of War #67."
  7. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 135: "Scribe Robert Kanigher and artist Russ Heath turned these self-described Losers - including "Navajo Ace" Johnny Cloud of the U.S. Army Air Force, Marines Gunner Mackey and Sarge Clay, and Captain William Storm, a PT boat commander with a prosthetic leg - into a fighting force that meshed as one."
  8. ^ Markstein, Don (2009). "Matt Savage, Trail Boss". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2012. "In his first appearance (Weird Western Tales #39, April 1977), Scalphunter is re-united with his dying father, whose name was Matt Savage." 
  9. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 174: "Writer David Michelinie and artist Ed Davis presented an atypical war hero in Ulysses Hazard."

External links[edit]