By the Book
art by George Evans, story by Carl Wessler
Piracy #4 (1955)
George Evans kind of surprised me when I started to see his EC work, as I was familiar with some of his work in the 1970s DC war comics first, and didn't think it was much better than okay. For whatever reason, it was night-and-day with his EC work, and he was especially good on the war and historical material.
This story set in 1812, with a crew-man on an American ship facing off against British ships has various run-ins with a green midshipman who insists that everything be done by the Navy Manual, such as cleaning the cannon between each firing. Finally they're sent on a mission to plant a mine under a British ship under cover of smoke. When the smoke unexpectedly clears before they can, the midshipman swims out himself to finish the mission, finally earning the respect of the crew with his sacrifice.
This was a nice variation on a bit of a cliche set-up, but obviously the attraction in a book like PIRACY is the art, the loving rendition of early 19th century ships and uniforms. As I said, I was surprised at how good Evans was at it, definitely holding his own with the other PIRACY regulars like Crandall and Krigstein.