Weird War Tales
|Weird War Tales|
Cover of Weird War Tales #1 (September–October 1971).
Art by Joe Kubert.
|Number of issues|
The original title ran for 12 years and 124 issues. It was an anthology series that told war stories with horror, mystery, fantasy and science fiction elements. Changes in the Comics Code Authority made the use of horror elements possible. Each issue was hosted by Death, usually depicted as a skeleton dressed in a different military uniform each issue. The title's name was inspired by editor Joe Orlando. Walt Simonson's first professional published comic book work appeared in Weird War Tales #10 (January 1973). Roger McKenzie and Frank Miller's first collaboration was on a two-page story published in Weird War Tales #68 (October 1978). Recurring characters began to appear late in the series run, notably the "G.I. Robot", and the return of "The War that Time Forgot" which originally ran in Star Spangled War Stories. Writer J. M. DeMatteis and penciler Pat Broderick created the Creature Commandos in Weird War Tales #93 (November 1980).
In Weird War Tales #101 (July 1981), the G.I. Robot is deployed to a Pacific island alongside the Marines to fight the Japanese military. Although the robot is technically named "Jungle Automatic Killer - Experimental Number 1" (J.A.K.E. 1), it is given the nickname of the G.I. Robot. J.A.K.E. 1 is destroyed in Weird War Tales #111 (May 1982) but is replaced by J.A.K.E. 2, which continues to fight on various Pacific islands, including Dinosaur Island. It later teams with the Creature Commandos.
Several issues featured a series of short vignettes titled "The Day After Doomsday" featuring largely doomed characters dealing with various threats and harsh ironies of living in a post-nuclear war apocalyptic landscape. The first few stories dealt with a society reduced to medieval ways seven centuries after a war but most others dealt with the near-term aftermath, with the unexpected results of radiation or infrastructure damage almost always catching the characters by surprise.
Other stories featured robot soldiers, ghosts, the undead, and other paranormal characters from different eras of time.
Weird War Tales was revived for DC Comics' Vertigo imprint in 1997. It was published as a four-issue limited series, followed by a single-issue special in 2000.
- Showcase Presents: Weird War Tales collects Weird War Tales #1-21, 576 pages, December 2012, ISBN 1-4012-3694-4
- Showcase Presents: The Great Disaster featuring the Atomic Knights includes "The Day After Doomsday" stories from Weird War Tales #22-23, 30, 32, 40, 42-44, 46-49, 51-53, 64, 68, 69, and 123, 576 pages, June 2014, ISBN 978-1401242909
- The Steve Ditko Omnibus Volume 1 includes stories from Weird War Tales #46, 49, 95, 99, and 104-106, 480 pages, September 2011, ISBN 1-4012-3111-X
- Creature Commandos collects Weird War Tales #93, 97, 100, 102, 105, 108-112, 114-119, 121, and 124, 288 pages, December 2013, ISBN 978-1401243821
- Don, Vaughan (February 2015). "The Horrors of Combat: DC's Weird War Tales". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (78): 31–40.
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
With the Comics Code Authority relaxing its decades-long stance on censoring the use of monsters and the undead in mainstream comics, DC placed an emphasis on the horror of combat with Weird War Tales.
- Daniels, Les (1995). DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. New York, New York: Bulfinch Press. p. 153. ISBN 0821220764.
'Carmine Infantino and I found out that the word weird sold well.' [editor Joe] Orlando recalls. 'So DC created Weird War and Weird Western.'
- Cooke, Jon B. (October 2000). "Simonson Says The Man of Two Gods Recalls His 25+ Years in Comics". Comic Book Artist. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (10): 18.
- Weird War Tales #68 at the Grand Comics Database
- Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 189 "A battalion of horror icons created by the U.S. government to aid the American war effort made its debut in an off-beat story by writer J. M. DeMatteis and penciler Pat Broderick."
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "G. I. Robot", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley, p. 134, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5