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Thursday, June 30, 2005

My Collection - G. I. COMBAT [1957 Series]

G. I. Combat [1957 series]
78 issues [1957 - 1987]
50, 83, 133, 137 - 138, 143, 145, 150 - 153, 155 - 157, 161 - 162, 167, 170, 177 - 178, 180 - 187, 189 - 191, 194, 196 - 197, 199 - 201, 206, 209 - 211, 213, 216 - 218, 220, 224 - 226, 230 - 232, 234 - 235, 237 - 239, 241 - 251, 256, 263, 275, 278, 281 - 283, 285 - 286, 288

Wow, that's some list. For those into trivial data, that's the longest of any list to describe a series in my collection.

This DC war book took over its numbering from the Quality Comics series with #44. At first a non-character anthology, the Haunted Tank (a WWII feature with an American tank crew in Africa and Europe being guided by the ghost of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart) was introduced by Kanigher and Heath in #87 in 1961 and became the regular main feature for most of the next 26 years. Heath remained the main artist until 1972 (with quite a few fill-ins), then Sam Glanzman took over. Kanigher wrote most of the Tank stories, with a few exceptions, mostly during one year when Archie Goodwin was the writer/editor.

For backups, initially it remained non-continuity shorts. It saw a few of the same regular features as the other war books in the 1970s. From 1977 to 1986 the book was oversized with a lot of back-up series, mostly written by Kanigher or George Kashdan and drawn by Dick Ayers and various Filipino artists. In the last year of the series, the Haunted Tank even lost their slot to one of the back-ups, the Mercenaries, although the Tank did get the last few issues back and got a bit of a send-off in the final issue.

Covers of course are mostly by Joe Kubert, although you'd see other artists sneak through a bit more often than you would on OAAW/ROCK. Grandenetti did a lot of early ones, Russ Heath did quite a few when he was the regular Tank artist, Luis Dominguez did a few in the mid-1970s.

My history of buying GIC is similar to other DC war books. Not at all as a kid, only back-issues starting in the 1990s. They're a bit harder to find than the Rock related books, although I've managed to get about half of them from the era I consider affordable (the pre-1970s stuff has gotten way out of my price range, outside of really beat-up copies). Still looking to fill in those holes, especially the issues from #150 - #200.

A few issues to spotlight:

#145 - great late-period Russ Heath art on the lead, several reprints, including one by Kubert and a Sam Glanzman USS Stevens story. All for a quarter. Must have been a good time to be reading comics.

#161 - #162 - part of Archie Goodwin's run as writer, with Sam Glanzman on the art, this is an enjoyable continued story with some major changes for the Tank, and featuring the General in a more active role.

#246 - A full issue 64-page story integrating the lead story with the back-ups of the time and several guest stars from the other books, including a black&white sequence. Lots of fun.

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