Best Combat Comic Book Covers of the Day!

Okay I was in TERRIFICON in 2018, and that among other things really launched my love for classic Bronze and Silver Age War Comics. Specifically DC, because with the combo of the great Joe Kubert and the great Robert Kanigher DC made the best war comic books, period. Especially during this very brief, sweet spot, when Kubert was Art Director/Editor for the line, the war books are the stuff of legend.

And you have many combat books from DC, OUR ARMY AT WAR (which becomes SGT ROCK), STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES, GI COMBAt, and OUR FIGHTING FORCES.

This article concentrates, on OUR FIGHTING FORCES, while not the first, nor arguably the best of DCs combat books, it is the first one that woke me up in 2018 to the greatness of these classic combat books, I immediately became enamored and a rabid collector of OUR FIGHTING FORCES, largely for the exquisite cover design by Joe Kubert that ran from 123 to 141.These 19 issues, where Joe Kurbert is Editor and Art Director… and makes the typography part and parcel of his stunning cover design; are the high water mark of COMIC BOOK covers as art.

And with stories by the great and prolific Robert Kanigher and interior art by geniuses such as Ross Andru, Russ Heath, Joe Kubert and Sam Glansman this run of comics from cover to cover may just be the most underated and slept on comic book related gems… ever.

You can buy collected editions, but the individual issues, of these specific 19 issues, are art items in and of themselves.

 

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.The webpage will not show this image anonymously.The webpage will not show this image anonymously.The webpage will not show this image anonymously.The webpage will not show this image anonymously.The webpage will not show this image anonymously.The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

 

Get your issues here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=180611&AffID=200301P01

My Favorite COMIC BOOK Youtube/Roku Channels of 2018!!! Starting off with AFTA COMICS, MERCENAUT and HERB TRIMPE!?!

COMICS

  • TheGO2 Geeks
  • Silver-Aged Dave
  • AFTA Comics
  • Regie Simmons IFBB Pro
  • DS Comics
  • Earl Grey
  • Comics with Bueller
  • Wallace Ryan
  • ComicTom 101
  • Pop Culture Philosophers
  • SleepyReader666
  • Professor Thorgi
  • Metarog
  • Chycho
  • ETA Nick
  • Nighttiger
  • Comichyjinx
  • LeeKirbyDitko
  • CurtisCamron
  • Farley’s Nerdcave
  • Rwheatley0206
  • Saddle City Comics
  • Forest City Coins and Comics
  • BargainHuntersThrift
  • Area 51
  • Arkham Comics las Vegas
  • Comic Buying
  • Tony Sanders
  • Tony Tothe
  • Tom Ryan
  • DrVonChilla
  • CaptainStrangeLife
  • Simon Comics
  • UltimateChance
  • Thugie1
  • Comic Book Ninja
  • ComicHero77
  • Comic News Network
  • Gotham Comics
  • HeroHunter81
  • Longshanks_78
  • Master X
  • Lord Tatman
  • Symphonic-Elk
  • Knights_of_Old
  • Jerno’s Comics
  • YicketyYackety
  • TJ Watson
  • WhatCulture
  • Wiebes TV
  • Windy City Comic
  • Yanni Gogolak
  • Islord 372
  • Batzman’s Classic Cars & Comics
  • Mercenaut

I will be speaking on all these channels in more detail, regarding why they made my 2018 best of List.

I am going to start with the last on this list MERCENAUT and work my way up.

https://www.youtube.com/user/mercenaut

Mercenaut is on this list, not for being a White Supremacist or Black Activist ( inside joke, watch his channel) but for a single show he did in 2018, where he showed off a copy of CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8. With that episode, this guy along with the Epic Marvel Podcast and Afta Comics, started my hunt and love for Herb Trimpe covers in 2018. The CAPTAIN BRITAIN mag sported a STUNNING Herb Trimpe cover which is shown below.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

 

Prior to that while i remember Herb Trimpe, I never really paid attention to how great of a cover artist he was. Between MERCENAUT’s showing, and the brilliant Trimpe Western cover’s that AFTA Comics showed, this year has very much been the year of collecting Herb Trimpe and Larry Leiber comics. Some of Trimpe ones I picked up this year are:

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://i0.wp.com/www.comicbookdb.com/graphics/comic_graphics/1/511/183423_20120804222034_large.jpg

 

As great as Trimpe’s Super Hero Covers are (With his work on the INCREDIBLE HULK being arguably his finest) his western work which I did not get exposed to until this year, I love even more. Just look how much storytelling he puts into those covers.

In an age where modern comic covers no longer tell a story, largely are just pinups having nothing to do with the content of the book, Herb Trimpe was able to tell a great story using just the cover.

Thank You Mercenaut, Afta Comics, and Epic MArvel Podcast for putting the late great Herb Trimpe on my radar!!

Okay quick rant on variant/multiple covers.

Darn you Variant Covers!!! You are diluting the medium. You can not have an ICONIC issue and multiple covers. Now again everything in moderation. A variant cover here or there is fine, but it has become the rule rather than the exception.

As a consumer, buy what you like. But as the publisher/producer of this content too much choice in a market can be as harming as too little, if it generates confusion, and stymies adoption by potential readers, in favor of courting speculators.

 

And that is just what is happening in the market place. In an effort to milk a diminishing audience, the mainstream publishers resort to the skankery of pimping multiple covers (yes I did just coin the word skankery 🙂 ) to the speculator segment, which harms the iconic nature of a work as much as alternative endings, to those of us who actually think books should be read.

To be iconic a thing must live memorable, in the shared consciousness and memory of the audience.

A memorable cover, or a memorable line, or a memorable poster, or a memorable ending. You think of Exorcist you think of a singular poster, You think of Casablanca you think of that ending, you think of Citizen Kane you think of that beginning, if you think of the original UNCANNY X-MEN 138, you think of the classic cover of Cyclops walking way from the X-MEN and toward the reader. And the background framed by all these beautiful UNCANNY X-MEN covers tinged in purple. For my money the single most beautiful and poignant X-men cover of all time, by John Bryne, another great artist,

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

That… for an image, or line, or scene, to stay memorable not just in your memory, but in the memory of a generation,… is to be iconic. People my age have a shorthand, a shared pop-culture language, that makes us part of a shared conversation.

Unfortunately people growing up on comics today, have no such singular, iconic cover or image to define a moment or a book. Because that one clear vision is muddied and diminished by multiple covers so the publisher can try and milk the speculator market, rather than serve the longer and more far reaching nature of creating something singular and memorable.

It’s the same way mainstream publishers are diluting their most popular characters with these shoddy imitations/iterations that only help to eradicate what was unique about the original character. You have now 15 variations of wolverine running around, Including one that is part Hulk, part Wolverine. Really? This is fan-fic, being done by the publishers, with no real consideration beyond milking the speculator market. They have strip-mined their own effectiveness as a sequential platform. 

That and the price point of Marvel and DC Comics is why I have stopped getting them in periodic format. There is no reason the mainstream publishers can not hold their price point at $2.50 or $2.99 cents, and make a profit and sell millions of copies at that price point.

The movies and video games have done the hard work of providing name recognition to the masses,the publishers inability to translate the billions these characters make in other mediums to even millions in the comic medium, comes down to mismanagement and an outdated vision/model from the comic publishers.

So these days if I need a monthly comic, I gravitate to the Independents. If I hear good things about a mainstream storyline, I pick it up in collected format or rent it from my library.

And if I really yearn for the days of great iconic covers, in mainstream comics, well thankfully there are always great Herb Trimpe comics to pick up in back issues!

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave your comments or send emails! I will be covering other channels in upcoming updates.

Excelsior!!!

 

 

 

COMICCON that I am most looking forward to in 2019—TERRIFICON!

I think I mentioned in an earlier blog that I went to TERRIFICON in Connecticut this year, 2018, and absolutely loved it.

But I am not sure I adequately conveyed why, or why I see this convention becoming the only state-side comic book themed convention I see myself paying to attend, going forward.

TerrifiCon CT's Terrific Comic Con at the Mohegan Sun produced by Mitch Hallock and Big Fedora Marketing LLC

Most cons are a ludicrous hard-sell to anyone who is not a fan of that con. You stand around in long, moronic, snaking lines, to get into an overstuffed hall with too many people jostling or bumping or waiting in more lines that impede traffic. The panels are moronic, the hot guests uninteresting, and the deals… not there.

What helps sell TERRIFICON is the location. Now unless you are a guest or wealthy, staying at the casino is probably not what you want to do. But there are quite a few affordable and nice places to stay within a short drive.

We made a little vacation out of it. Close to Mystic Connecticut and New London Connecticut, areas I had not been before, we made a couple of days of touring the area before ever getting to the con. And you know what… the area is great. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get in the swing of it the area is beautiful and made for boat rides, and strolling through the picturesque neighborhoods and shops, and trying the wonderful food.

And then by the actual day of the convention we had already had a great and full fledged vacation.

 

The convention was a surprising and welcome capper to it. For a variety of reasons. The actual location itself, the Mohegan Sun Casino is simply massive, so you never feel (even with thousands of people) crushed, or swamped, or impeded, or over-whelmed. The distance between booths and space between aisles allows tons of space to maneuver and enjoy. Add to that it is exceptionally well laid out, with great panels, great guests, informative hosts, great shopping options… and did I mention it is in a world class casino.

That means instead of the overpriced awful food and drink options you have to endure at other conventions, here you can walk over to Bobby Flay’s restaurants and sample just stupendous food. And there were tons of other great restaurant and shopping options.

It is the holy grail of comiccon locations.

And getting back on the panels. With guests that interested me, Roy Thomas, Larry Hama, Christopher Priest, and the list goes on, the panels that felt enlightening rather than trivial; trivial being generally what panels are at most other shows. I really have no interest in getting anything signed or photo ops, but great deals, great panels, great stories, great vibe, and access to great food make it a no-brainer of a draw for comic and non-comic fans.

Having been to comic book conventions from New York to Philly to Awesomecon in Dc, those are venues that don’t really do much for me, but Mitch Hallock’s TERRIFICON, I guess because he is a fan like me, and came up on the same Bronze age goodness, he is putting on a convention for himself, and thereby all the other adults of his age, so it can still offer the kids and families their anime goodness and gaming goodness, but has the sort of experience we Bronze, Silver, and Golden Age fans appreciate.

Having been to Terrificon this year, I do not see myself going back to New York Comiccon, or Awesomecon, or any of those. Those cons are oft geared to selling the new hot thing, and these days I’m more geared to want to see the proven talent.

I see myself making a yearly pilgrimage to the gracious New England area and making a fantastic weekend of it, most of which has nothing to do with comics, but having that convention at the center of it, It’s a win-win for me and the Mrs.

As long as Mitch Hallock puts on TERRIFICON I see myself being a returning attendee.

One suggestion Mitch, if you see this, try an get Larry Lieber for next year’s TERRIFICON.

I have been singing his praises since hearing his interviews on the MARVEL EPIC Podcast. While everyone remembers Kirby’s run on RAWHIDE KID, for my money the Larry Lieber written and drawn work on that series, is western comics at its best. Tutored by both his brother Stan Lee and original Artist Jack kirby, Larry became a perfect amalgram of these two men, becoming both a compelling writer and a great artist, and that shows best in his (unfortunately unreprinted) multi-year run on RAWHIDE KID. I recommend back issue diving and picking up RAWHIDE KID from issue 42 to issue 120. It is as great a run of consecutive comics done by ONE person as you will see. Nearly eighty consecutive books both written and drawn by Larry Lieber between 1964 and 1974. Ten years and a stunning body of work, by a true unheralded workhorse of the medium.

http://epicmarvelpodcast.com/

Go to the above link and listen to the Lieber episodes and you’ll be singing his praises too.

p.s. And if looking for a great panel moderator, I don’t think Kurtis of EPIC MARVEL PODCAST would mind if I suggest him. His show speaks volumes for his love of the medium.

 

 

Well if you found my recommendation of either TERRIFICCON or EPIC MARVEL PODCAST or the criminally overlooked work of Larry Lieber helpful, show your support by using the link below to check out today’s book of the day. Purchasing using the below link gets you a great book and earns this blog a few pennies to keep the lights on.

Here is a nice selection of Stan, Jack, and Larry monster comics:

https://amzn.to/2TYGIwg

If you can only afford to get five Larry Liber RAWHIDE KID comics, then get these five:

https://amzn.to/2PcwTae

https://amzn.to/2Q1yXHr

https://amzn.to/2DSTXZz

https://amzn.to/2Pbmg7x

https://amzn.to/2KME4FK

 

Thanks for viewing!

Haul / Ebay Unboxing and Why Variant Covers are destroying the Comic Book Market / Experience!

THE BEST OF DC WAR COMICS AMERICA AT WAR  Edited by Michael Uslan

One of the great discoveries of 2018, in addition to me getting back into old back issue comics, and purchasing my first Golden and Atomic age comics, is my jumping into conflict or combat or war comics, with both feet.

The first conflict title that really grabbed me was OUR FIGHTING FORCES STARRING THE LOSERS. I have been reading comics for decades and somehow I managed to remain largely clueless to these comics. I mean I had seen war and western comics as a kid, and had no interest in them as most kids of my age at the time.

I think those books are very much something you have to grow to appreciate, much like the art of Jack Kirby.

But here many decades removed from that kid, this year I stumbled across the amazing run of Joe Kubert covers for OUR FIGHTING FORCES, and they just blew me away.

In an age where a lot of morons are using gimmicks like variant comics to sell multiple copies to a dwindling reader base , and publishers are playing into the gambling aspect of the speculators, who don’t even read the comics, they just oooh and ahhh over what amounts to pinups on the cover, rather than in the book where they used to be.

To the point where you have covers that are completely devoid of typography. Typography is part and parcel, of what makes s great, iconic cover. Another part of being iconic, is there being only one image,  per issue, a popular shared point of reference that an entire public can reference.

If you say Amazing Fantasy 15, or X-men 94, or Hulk 181, what makes all those issues so iconic, is they  bring up one agreed upon, and shared image in the minds of the audience.

Now covers have a minimum of 2 variants and often 10 times that many. At that point you have stopped selling stories, and are in the business of selling pin-ups. And if all you want is a pin-up, just download the damn cover images. Do not get me wrong there are some wonderful images being created for these ‘variant’ covers. But they are pin-ups or posters, they are not covers. They act against the very idea of a cover, which is a single, memorable image you can identify with that story. You weaken your own product, by dilluting and muddying the waters, with multiple covers, or multiple endings, or multiple versions. Plurality being the enemy of the iconic.

It is the reason modern comics are a speculator’s bubble, poised to burst. The whole market, much like the 90s, is built on speculation, and chasing the very transitory and ephemeral nature of what is hot. A lot of it is forced or manufactured rarity. Ooh this issue had a curse word in it, ooh this issue had a possibly risquĂ© or controversial image.

It is completely manufactured market, based on very superficial minutiae, than in any way on content or quality.

DEATHSTROKE is consistently one of the best books DC comics is producing. Christopher Priest month in and month out delivering fantastic writing, with fantastic interior art.

Unfortunately all the speculator’s comment on is the cover variant.

While no doubt the creators are glad to have the numbers, having the readers is the real goal of this medium, and the real satisfaction of being a creator.

It is one reason that older comics, particularly from the Bronze Age, are getting so popular. The storytelling, the typography, the beauty, the singularity of vision, all stands out, especially in comparison to the lack of all of those things in most modern comic books.

Joe Kubert I really have grown such a HUGE appreciation for his story-telling, particularly his covers. He is such a master artist, and no-where is that more obvious than on his long and fruitful run in Conflict Comics.

Here without further ado are just a few of the must own LOSERS Joe Kubert covers (the complete essential run goes from OUR FIGHTING FORCES 123 TO 141. 19 issue run of AMAZING covers. And even though Kubert keeps doing the cover art till 151, I would say 141 is a good jumping off point for individual issues collectors.  After 141 DC would go for a more conventional , less experimental style, and those later issues lend themselves to just picking up in a collected trade format.

The more boring covers seems to coincide with the switch of Editors from Joe Kubert to Archie Goodwin. And then it would quickly bounce to Jack Kirby and Finally Murray Boltinoff who would see the series to its demise at issue #181. The series at its strongest, and the individual issues worth collecting, are issues 123 to 141.

Buy your issues here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=180611&pgi=101&AffID=200301P01

Use the link above, and get great deals, and help this blog keep putting out content.

 

Thanks!

 

You heard it here first!!! Forget about paying a fortune for the first issue of new book BATMAN DAMNED, a flash in a pan overpriced at cover price, book. And get something with real staying power, Joe kubert’s 1970’s run on OUR FIGHTING FORCES issues #123 to141!!

 

THE LAST WORD: Joe Kubert’s BEST Comic Book Covers!!(Some of them)

I have an appreciation for the late, great Joe Kubert here in 2018 as an adult, that I really didn’t have for him as a kid. And much of that is down to exposure, as well as a broader scope of reading material.

As a kid, comics that interested me were what interested most kids of the latter 20th century. We were children of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Chis Claremont and John Bryne, Marv Wolfman and George Perez, David Kraft and Keith Giffen, Bob Haney and Jim Aparo. The very exciting and colorful, but delineated world of Superhero comics.

The Brave & The Bold #84 - Neal Adams

But then the late 80s happened, and creators like Alan Moore and Frank Miller and William Mesner Loebs created works that seemed to challenge and expand the horizons and genres and tropes of the medium. They were following in the footsteps of late 70s pioneers such as Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy, and the aforementioned creators, who all had their moments of scripting comics with an Indy sensibility before the term existed.

And now as an adult, having explored much of the growth of the mainstream comic industry from their golden age roots, to their big screen interpretations, here in 2018 I am revisiting some work that was largely before my time.

Namely the westerns and horror books and combat books, of the late 60s and early 70s.

https://i0.wp.com/comicbookdb.com/graphics/comic_graphics/1/230/105485_20071213140823_large.jpg

And this deep dive into this world (I mean I have gone deep in 2018), has solidified and cemented and revealed somethings. Most notably is 1/ The western comic books of Marvel Comics, the 12cent and 15 cent, etc comics, RAWHIDE KID, TWO-GUN KID, GUNHAWKS, MARVEL WESTERN, by mostly Larry Lieber, and Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby, and Gil Kane, and Herb Trimpe and John Severin are masterpieces. And these books are MUST OWNS. And many have not been reprinted. And while MARVEL COMICS were hands down producing some of the best Western Comics, some other notable comics in this genre are the painted cover LONE RANGER comics by Dell and Gold Key Publishing, and DC’s TOMAHAWK–

(Brief interuption to gush on Kubert’s TOMAHAWK. The last 25 issues or so of TOMAHAWK go from Neal Adams covers to the final ten which are Joe Kubert covers, from issues 131 to 140. There are not many people who can follow Neal Adams on covers, and be able to equal him.

When Neal Adams does a run of covers, those become the definitive sought after covers, especially during this period of the 60s and 70s in DC. Whether BATMAN or DETECTIVE or SUPERMAN or SUPERBOY, to this day the definitive covers for all those titles, are the ones drawn by Neal Adams, and with good reason. Neal Adams is a master artist.

So it is no small compliment to say not only does Joe Kubert’s ten issue cover run on TOMAHAWK equal the work of his good friend Neal Adams, they surpass them. As someone who just acquired those ten books this year, listen to me when I say they are INCREDIBLY undervalued, sporting both stunning covers and interiors, and no true fan of comics should be without them. If you can get them in high grade for $10 a book, that is a steal.

Get those issues at the link below. You get great comics AND you earn a few pennies to keep this blog’s lights on.

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=181351&pgi=101&AffID=200301P01

)

–and ALL STAR WESTERN & WEIRD WESTERN. All fantastic and I will be doing a bit on Western Comics in an upcoming post.

 

https://i0.wp.com/comicbookdb.com/graphics/comic_graphics/1/798/374435_20160819181122_large.jpg

 

And 2/ where the Marvel Comics  of yesterday ruled the WESTERN genre, the WAR or COMBAT genre was ruled by DC Comics. Largely because of two names the great Robert Kanigher and the great Joe Kubert. Both men master story tellers, one with words and one with images, and both men incredibly prolific and productive. My favorite TEEN TITANS story of the silver age is by Robert Kanigher, my favorite FLASH stories by Robert Kanigher. So I always meant to pursue Kanigher’s work into his combat/conflict/war books of the period, and I am finally getting a chance to do that in 2018. And what immediately sells these books is the iconic covers and visual storytelling by the late, great Joe Kubert.

Joe Kubert’s cover art on Our Fighting Forces #135

His work, especially pre the mid 70s, where his covers got to play with the typography and marrying that to the cover image… gold. Absolutely gold. To the point where covers for OUR FIGHTING FORCES and OUR ARMY AT WAR for a brief period in the late 60s, early 70s are cover art truly raised to the level of Art with a capital A. Why anyone would pay $4, $5, $6, and $7 for a brand new comic book (that can be found in the $1 bins or reprinted in a much better quality trade in a few months), when you can take that same money and get a classic issue from this period of comics… is beyond me.

It is work you are typically not going to see unless you go looking. Not many people are showing off 50 year old war comic book covers. In 2018 I have gone looking.

Let me show you some of what I’ve found. We will start with a taste of his unconventional and relatively rare Superhero work and move onto his more prolific genre work.

 

 

 

flash_189.jpg

GI_Combat_88.jpg

SYFYWIRE’s Matthew Funk says it best when they say…

“G.I. Combat #88

Kubert’s contributions to the visual language of war stories can’t be overstated, and this cover proves as much. This is very Stanley Kubrick-style imagery, but the comic predates Full Metal Jacket by 26 years. Kubert was creating iconic, haunting, and cinematic images of war that would influence generations of storytellers.”

weird_war_tales_6.jpg

tor_2.jpg

When you think of great, iconic cover artists, the names Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Nick Cardy, and more recently Alex Ross come to mind. And all deservedly so. But one that arguably has gotten overlooked by the masses is Joe Kubert, and this is largely because he worked mostly in genres that did not get the attention back in the day. But now as an adult and getting into genres of Western and War and Horror, I am getting exposed to the work of great artists such as Joe Kubert, I am seeing much of it for the first time, and it is…. ASTONISHING. What really amazes me about Kubert is when he gets to play with Typography in his covers, and make that part of his story-telling, those are absolute game changers. Such as the above, and many of his Combat books.

 

https://static3.cbrimages.com/wp-content/uploads/goodcomics/2012/08/kubertcover6.jpg?q=35&w=400&h=601&fit=crop

https://static1.cbrimages.com/wp-content/uploads/goodcomics/2012/08/kubertcover18.jpg?q=35&w=400&h=596&fit=crop

SGT ROCK

G.I. Combat (Volume) - Comic Vine

Our Army At War 254 - Sgt. Rock - Joe Kubert

Cover

Ready to own some of these great comic books?

Then use the link below and start ordering:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=our+army+at+war&pubid=&PubRng&AffID=200301P01

 

Cool Comic Book Purchases of the Week!

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/rickandmorty/images/1/12/LCSD_Treasury_Edition_2017.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20170923002152Wonder Woman v1 #199 dc 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Jeff Jones

Wonder Woman v1 #200 dc 1970s bronze age comic book cover art by Jeff Jones

I love the Denny O’Neil Leisure Suit era of WONDER WOMAN. Those issues are the most sought after of WONDER WOMAN’s first run, and two of the best issues, and the most beautiful WONDER WOMAN covers of all time are issues 199 and 200. These issues are starting to really heat up.  Fantastic 1970s Covers by the great Jeff Jones.