Frontline Combat #8 (September–October 1952)
Cover by Harvey Kurtzman
|Publication date||July/August 1951 – January 1954|
|Number of issues||15|
Frontline Combat was an anthology war comic book written and edited by Harvey Kurtzman and published bi-monthly by EC Comics. The first issue was cover dated July/August, 1951. It ran for 15 issues over three years, and ended with the January, 1954 issue. Publication was discontinued following a decline in sales attributed to the end of the Korean War. The title was a companion to Kurtzman's comic book Two-Fisted Tales. Both titles depicted the horrors of war realistically and in great detail, exposing what Kurtzman saw as the truth about war without glamorizing or idealizing it.
Artists and writers
Artists who contributed included Kurtzman and EC regulars such as John Severin, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, George Evans and Will Elder. Non-EC regulars who contributed included Alex Toth, Ric Estrada, Joe Kubert and Russ Heath.
Kurtzman wrote the majority of the comic's stories with Jerry DeFuccio contributing one-page text stories and an occasional regular story. The issues included writing contributions from artists Davis, Wood and Evans.
Stories and themes
In addition to contemporary stories about the Korean War and World War II, Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat contained a number of stories taking place in historical settings, including the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and ancient Rome.
A series of special issues dedicated to the Civil War included issues 31 and 35 of Two-Fisted Tales and issue 9 of Frontline Combat. Although originally planned to be seven issues in total, the series was never completed. Other special issues of Frontline Combat included an issue dedicated to Iwo Jima (issue 7) and an issue dedicated to the Air Force (issue 12).
Kurtzman's editing approach to Two Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat was a stark contrast to EC editor Al Feldstein's style. Whereas Feldstein allowed his artists to draw the story in any manner they desired, Kurtzman developed detailed layouts for each story and required his artists to follow them exactly. Kurtzman's writing tended to have a lot less text in them than Feldstein's, which enabled the two war titles to be hand-lettered rather than machine-lettered like the remainder of EC's titles. Kurtzman was also dedicated to making the stories as historically accurate as possible and, along with assistant DeFuccio, put a lot of research into each story. As a result, where Feldstein took generally about a week to complete each issue he edited, Kurtzman took approximately a month.
Frontline Combat has been reprinted several times in the years since its demise. It was fully reprinted in a series of three black-and-white hardbacks by publisher Russ Cochran as part of the The Complete EC Library in 1982. Between August 1995 and February 1999, Cochran (in association with Gemstone Publishing) reprinted the full 15 individual issues. This complete run was later rebound, with covers included, in a series of three softcover EC Annuals. In 2008, Cochran and Gemstone began to publish hardcover, re-colored volumes of Frontline Combat as part of the EC Archives series. One volume (of a projected three) was published before Gemstone's financial troubles left the project in limbo. But the project may soon be revived under a new publisher. GC Press LLC, a boutique imprint established by Russ Cochran and Grant Geissman, announced in a press release dated September 1, 2011 that it is continuing the EC Archives series, with the first new releases scheduled for November 2011.
|#||Date||Cover Artist||Story||Story Artist|
|1||July/Aug 1951||Harvey Kurtzman||Marines Retreat!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|Enemy Assault!||Jack Davis|
|Unterseeboot 113||Harvey Kurtzman|
|2||Sept/Oct 1951||Harvey Kurtzman||Bouncing Bertha||Jack Davis|
|Zero Hour!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|3||Nov/Dec 1951||Harvey Kurtzman||Tin Can!||Jack Davis|
|Desert Fox!||Wally Wood|
|Prisoner of War!||Harvey Kurtzman|
|How They Die!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|4||Jan/Feb 1952||Harvey Kurtzman||Combat Medic!||Jack Davis|
|Light Brigade!||Wally Wood|
|Air Burst!||Harvey Kurtzman|
|Bomb Run!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|5||March/April 1952||Harvey Kurtzman||442nd Combat Team||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|Stonewall Jackson!||Jack Davis|
|War Machines!||John Severin|
|Big 'If'!||Harvey Kurtzman|
|6||May/June 1952||Harvey Kurtzman||A Platoon!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|War of 1812!||Wally Wood|
|7||July/Aug 1952||Harvey Kurtzman||Iwo Jima!||Wally Wood|
|The Landing!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|The Caves!||John Severin|
|Mopping Up!||Jack Davis|
|8||Sept/Oct 1952||Harvey Kurtzman||Thunderjet!||Alex Toth|
|Night Patrol!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|9||Nov/Dec 1952||Harvey Kurtzman||Abe Lincoln!||Jack Davis|
|First Shot!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|Choose Sides!||Wally Wood|
|Bull Run!||John Severin|
|10||Jan/Feb 1953||John Severin & Bill Elder||A Baby!||Wally Wood|
|Geronimo!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|11||March/April 1953||Jack Davis||Bird-Dogs!||John Severin & Bill Elder|
|Rough Riders!||Ric Estrada|
|12||May/June 1953||Jack Davis||F-94!||George Evans|
|F-86 Sabre Jet!||Alex Toth|
|B-26 Invader!||Jack Davis|
|13||July/Aug 1953||Wally Wood||Pantherjet!||Jack Davis|
|War Dance!||John Severin|
|Frank Luke!||George Evans|
|14||Oct 1953||Wally Wood||Albatross!||Wally Wood|
|Bonhomme Richard!||Joe Kubert|
|15||Jan 1954||Wally Wood||Perimeter!||Wally Wood|
|Vengeful Sioux!||Jack Davis|
|Belts N' Celts!||John Severin|
- Von Bernewitz, Fred and Geissman, Grant. Tales of Terror: The EC Companion (Gemstone Publishing, Fantagraphics Books, Timonium, Maryland and Seattle, Washington, 2000) p. 150-3
- Diehl, Digby Tales from the Crypt: The Official Archives (St. Martin's Press, New York, NY 1996) p. 52
- Diehl, Digby Tales from the Crypt: The Official Archives (St. Martin's Press, New York, NY 1996) p. 46
- Michael Kronenberg posting at MarvelMasterworksFansite.Yuku.com, September 1, 2011. Accessed September 2, 2011
- Goulart, Ron. Great American Comic Books. Publications International, Ltd., 2001. ISBN 0-7853-5590-1.
- Overstreet, Robert M.. Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. House of Collectibles, 2004.