I’m not really a comic collector but when I see one from my youth and it’s not above $5.00 at a rummage sale or second-hand shop I’ll consider purchasing.
Such was the case with these three pictured below. Two were published by Marvel Comics Group in the early 70s but they represent the type of thing I would have read as a ten-year-old in the early 60s. The last one was published by DC Comics in the late 70s.
The first is one from the series title Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.
Sgt. Fury and his men always had an impossible mission and if memory serves me the mission was always against the Nazis. That much was made clear by the prominence of the swastika pasted on every piece of equipment large enough to display one.
In this particular issue the commandos are tasked with taking out “Rommel’s super tank” a fictional Panzer VII-IV and helping the poor Brits survive the Desert Fox.
Frankly, these kind of comics were silly. The German enemies were always Nazis and always idiots. Our allies, like the British usually received little attention and one was left with the impression that the US almost single-handily won WW2.
Having said that though the comics made no pretense of being accurate. They were meant as entertainment for ten-year-olds at a time and place when most of the male population consisted of veterans of WW2. The caricatures and stereotypes of America’s enemies would have represented the same sort of thing our fathers and mothers would have been exposed to in the 40s.
The second one is titled War is Hell. I do not remember the series from the 60s but it looks typical of the war comics of the period. The cover art work was designed to sell the comic and they usually portrayed “our guys” in some desperate situation leaving the viewer to wonder would they survive and destroy the bad guys once and for all.
The War is Hell series differed from a comic like Sgt. Fury in that the issue usually had three or four stories with a variable cast of characters.
In this case two stories featured the war against the Nazis in WW2, one story from WW1 featuring a fearsome German Fokker that was standing in the way of the “yank big offensive.” Another story featured the relationship between a Confederate cavalryman and his beloved horse.
The war comics competed with the super hero type comics but really were largely about the same thing less a super power or two.
This last one titled Men of War is unusual since it featured a black American hero named “Gravediggers” in WW2. The enemy is once again the Nazi’s and the hero nearly dies accomplishing his mission again against impossible odds.
I suppose that by 1978 and five years after the last US troops were withdrawn from Vietnam it was time to recognize the enormous contribution American blacks made to America’s war efforts from the time of Civil War through Vietnam.
I was twenty by 1973 and had grown out of war comics around the time I was 12 or 13. My favorites were Sgt. Rock and Easy Company, Captain Johnny Cloud (an American Indian) and his P-51 Mustang which at times looked like a horse and The Haunted Tank, the story of a M3 Stuart tank guarded by the ghost of Jeb Stuart.
But alas, I have yet to find a favorite in a rummage sale or second-hand store. My guess is that the 60s vintage comics are rare and well out of the range I’d be willing to pay for the trip down memory lane.