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G.I. Combat #1
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September 29th, 2017 by Rusty

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G.I. Combat #1 cover

G.I. Combat #1

Date: October 1952
Publisher: Quality Comics
Cover Price: 10¢
2017 Price Range: $97 – $1500
Stats: 29 color pages plus ads and text story
Writer: Robert Bernstein
Artists: Reed Crandall, Chuck Cuidera, Pete Morisi, Charles Nicholas
Notable Notes: First issue of one of the longest running war comics titles!

Little Interest in War

I have never really been a fan of war comics. My older brother read Sgt. Rock, but I could never get into it. In fact I have ever only had mild, passing interest in anything related to war or the military. Recently that changed, at least temporarily, when I started taking a college course about technology and global conflict. After spending several weeks reading and discussing military stuff, I have kind of been in the mood to watch war movies and try some war comics. So that is what I’m doing today – giving a classic war comic a try, and seeing how it turns out!

I decided to start with the first issue of G.I. Combat. Why? Well, because it was a famous, long running series, and it is the series where Sgt. Rock and The Haunted Tank got their starts. I figured that was as good a place as any to start!

Synopsis:

This issue of G.I. Combat contains four graphic stories and one text story.

“Beyond the Call of Duty” – The first story in this book is about Company K and their beloved leader, Lt. Halek. When he is killed in duty, a high-falutin’ replacement is sent to take his place. But the men don’t like or respect Lt. Robbins, and go out of their way to make his life more difficult. Eventually they soften when he does something that none of them will do.

“Killing Pitch” – Zeke Caruthers, AKA “Lefty”, is the new man in the squad. Fresh from Kentucky, he was a pitcher in a minor league and all the guys want to see how he throws. Well, his demonstration isn’t that good, but when the battle starts up he really shines as he perfectly lobs grenades into the enemy’s quarters!

“The Runt Breaks Through” – Sammy Kuyler is a small guy, and everyone gives him a hard time about being a “runt.” They won’t even let him go on a supply mission because he is so small. But when the communication lines are cut by the enemy, Sammy is allowed to go warn the others that “the Reds” are coming up behind them. He makes it to his fellow soldiers, but when they are chased by the enemy through a small crack in the hills it is “the Runt” who comes out the other side alive. See, sometimes it is good to be small!

“Mission of Death” – This text story is about 2 “Red” scientists who make a soldier ride inside and pilot a smart bomb. Be he outsmarts them and circles round to take them out instead!

“Trumpet of Death” – Fordie, a soldier from New Orleans fighting in the Korean war, misses playing the trumpet in his band back home. He eventually gets the opportunity to play one last time when he jumps an enemy soldier who has a horn. The music he plays inspires his troop to rally, but he eventually pays the ultimate price for his song.

How I Rate This Issue:

  • Story: 3 stars – None of these stories were terrible, but neither did they do much for me. I think some of them could have been better had they been longer, but being told in a few pages really hurt them.
  • Art: 4 stars – I thought the art was OK, but kind of spotty. There were several good scenes with lots of detail and great backgrounds, and then there were several scenes rendered in few colors with solid backgrounds.
  • Fun Factor: 3 stars – For me the most fun part was reading a new kind of comic – one that I don’t normally read. But nothing really grabbed me and made me want to read the next issue.

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