Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Classics - Battle #62

For today's "Classic" review, let's look at one of the newest - and yet one of the oldest - comics in my collection.

This issue of Battle is cover dated February 1959, which means it was published before I started buying comics - but it's one of the newest comics in my collection because I bought it last Tuesday.

While I was in Louisville, Ky., for some work-related training I visited a local comics shop and discovered this little gem for a mere five bucks. It's hard to pass up a classic comic at the same price as some new comics!

Battle was published by... well, I don't think the company was named Atlas by '59, so let's just say it was by the soon-to-be-named Marvel Comics, and it's sort of a precursor to Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos.

It's loaded with six stories, each one a bit unusual (and several are definitely written tongue-in-cheek). But it features some strong artwork by some of the industry's top names. The writer(s) are unknown, but the artists are identified in the Grand Comics Database. They include Dave Berg, Joe Maneely, Dick Ayers, Joe Sinnott, Jim Mooney and Jay Scott Pike.

The lead story features Combat Kelly, and it reads just like a humorous Sgt. Fury story. Kelly and his pal Cookie are cornered at the edge of a cliff (as depicted on the cover), but they manage to escape, destroy a column of enemy vehicles single-handed, blow up the enemy's store of ammo and evade certain death. Not bad for five pages!

The stories range from the grim (commandos strike against German rail lines) to the whimsical (an aged man defeats an entire army that invades his village) to the downright silly (a company of soldiers defeats some Japanese invaders using... banana peels).

Is it a great comic? No, despite some fine art (to be fair, some of the art is a bit rough, too) and some fun moments, it's all a bit too light.

But it was well worth the five dollars for a fun look back at a comic from the pre-Chuck era.

Grade: B-



Anonymous said...


Sam Kujava
(who occasionally stumbles across
such deals when shopping for old
comics, but not lately!)

Chuck said...

I know! Gotta enjoy those rare scores when they happen.

Kyle said...

Hey Chuck, Sam, just came across a couple oldies but goodies last week myself... they came out about 20 years after your find... was just a young pup at the time so qualifies as an oldie to me :)... Superman #400 and Detective #500. Couple big anniversary issues with loads of great creators and guest stars... and like your issue of Battle the same price as a new comic!

Chuck said...

Excellent! That's the one good thing about comics going up in price - it makes the old comics seem cheaper!