Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hidden Gems: Star Spangled War Stories #137

I picked up well loved (but solid) copy of this book for $2. It was the end of an era as the War That Time Forgot handed the keys over to Enemy Ace. This one is a dandy, as we get a very nice Russ Heath cover and a story about two childhood enemies from Brooklyn stuck on Dino Island. It is 14 pages of Joe Kubert at his best. I do think his Stegosaurus is about 10X too big, but that's splitting heirs. The second tale is about a soldier dragging a Nazi prisoner through knee deep mud. It is good, not great - but it is some of the nicest Jack Sparling art I've ever seen. The real treat here is the final story "Human Booby Trap", which is a reprint of the cover story to Our Fighting Forces #1 (Oct-Nov, 1954). It is a tense little 6 pager about a soldier who has become very good at navigating some of the unseen perils of war. Jerry Grandenetti is a very underappreciated artist, and this is a very inexpensive way to read this story as I don't think DC has ever reprinted it elsewhere, and I doubt they will in the future.


Mark said...

When did artists stop drawing dinosaurs with dragging tails (I'm betting that wasn't until after Jurassic Park).

benday-dot/craig said...

Scott, I agree with you about Sparling. He really stepped it up for that issue. But Sparling, in general, is one of those artists who has really grown on me. I used to find his art completely awful and now I see lots to like in it. He is no Kirby or Kubert, but his art has a real organic quality. His loose pencils look particularly effective in black and white and convey a real excitement. I was recently looking through my copy of Showcase Presents: Eclipso, and surprisingly found myself appreciating the Sparling art nearly as much as the accompanying Toth and Elias pencils. Nice post today. Craig.