Sunday, August 9, 2015

Review- FRONTLINE COMBAT ANNUAL VOL. 2


FRONTLINE COMBAT ANNUAL VOL. 2 (Gemstone, 1997; Softcover)

Collects Frontline Combat #6-10 (originally published by EC Comics, cover dates May/June, 1952- January/February, 1953)
Writers: Harvey Kurtzman with Abraham Lincoln (excerpts of historical speech)
Artists: John Severin, Bill Elder, Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Alex Toth, and George Evans

Frontline Combat is Harvey Kurtzman's baby, not so much an anti-war comic as it was a hyper-realistic portrayal of the horrors of war. Comics like this were extremely popular among those serving in the military. Kurtzman, along with Al Feldstein, would go on to cement their names in comic history with the creation of Mad Magazine not long after this title.

Like all EC Comics, the writing and artwork are superb, being head and shoulders above the other comics of the day. The curious thing about the war comics was the insistence on using hand lettering as opposed to the Leroy stencil kit like every other comic that EC produced.

The title was a war anthology. Issue 6's best was War Of 1812!, a sobering if unpopular at the time portrayal of Native Americans. Issue 7 devoted all four stories to the battle of Iwo Jima. Issue 9 focused entirely on the Civil War. Issue 10's Napoleon! has some great George Evans artwork. Wally Wood is featured throughout this book, and his art is always a treat.

Artwork by George Evans. Evans was a genius. 


Everyone claims that EC Comics were censored. Yet comic books have never been censored by the Government, and according to the modern day fan that is the only way that you can officially claim censorship. So when crybaby fans whine about a cover “offending” them and then launch an online campaign of harassment and bullying until the creator or company abort the plans, that isn't censorship. Douchebag comic sites claim that this is not censorship since that can only be done by the Government. If that is not censorship than neither is distributors refusing to carry EC or the Comics Code not willing to approve the content in these EC Comics. The ironic part is that at one time it was the outsiders in the establishment looking to suppress ideas and free speech. Today it is the fans and the supposed progressives doing it. And that in a nutshell is why Social Justice Warriors and modern day comic fans suck. But hey, according to them I am just an AWG (Angry White Guy) or an OWG (Old White Guy), which isn't discrimination at all...because diversity and tolerance.

EC Comics are not only the greatest comics ever made, but they should serve as a painful reminder of what happens when well-intentioned yet misguided individuals go on a crusade “for the greater good”. The lesson has been lost on young people today. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Unintended consequences are often hilarious because those who wanted it to happen end up suffering by their own hands.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Gemstone overprinted their single issue reprints in the '90s with an eye toward selling their own back issues. They re-purposed this overstock by trimming and gluing 5 entire issues into a cardstock cover. While this is not technically a trade paperback (it has no ISBN), it is squarebound and has the title on the spine. Close enough for Rock and Roll in my book.
Linework and Color restoration: Shot from the original artwork with a color palette authentic to the original publication. If you want to see EC Comics in full color then this is the best way to do so, as these look superior to the originals in print quality.
Paper stock: Standard pulp paper of the day. The pro is that this looks and feels like a real comic book. The con, and it is a very large one, is that this will age and yellow, just like real comic book paper. I am admittedly less and less worried about this sort of thing as time goes by, as I will likely be dead and gone before this book deteriorates too badly.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Thick cardboard with minimal coating. There are signs of wear after years but all in all very solid. 

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