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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

EC - Checkers (Severin/Elder)

art by John Severin & Will Elder, story by Harvey Kurtzman
Two-Fisted Tales #28[#11] (1952)

John Severin and Will Elder formed the only regular pencilling/inking team over at EC, working together on over two dozen stories in the early years, before Elder began working solo almost exclusively on the humour mags and Severin soloed on both the humour and war/action books.

It's an interesting combination, with Elder bringing a much looser line to Severin's work than Severin's own pen line had, and Severin having much better story-telling than I've seen in the few of Elder's non-humour work I've seen.

This story is set among a tank division in Korea, where two men are playing checkers when the call to action comes, just as Strauss manages a triple jump on Kilpatrick. The movements of the tanks also use a checkerboard pattern as part of their code on how to move, and Strauss "jumps" Kilpatrick on that field as well, leading to his tank getting hit (but the crew surviving), so that at the end we find out his jump on the checkerboard was also a mistake.

Clever little story, and some good looking combat artwork, both with the men under fire and the movement of the tanks.

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