Saturday, March 21, 2015
Mainlining Three - Foxhole!
Perhaps the Mainline comic with the most verve and energy was Foxhole, a war comic produced by men who had real experience in the military. While Joe Simon had enlisted in the Coast Guard and spent all of the war stateside, Jack Kirby was overseas as an Army scout in Europe following on some weeks after the D-Day invasion. Here's an interview of sorts about his time in the war.
There's no doubt that Jack Kirby's World War II experiences shaped the rest of his life and career and it finds some early expression here in the highly emotional images which grace these covers.
Once again Simon and Kirby produced four issues for their struggling Mainline company before the title and the balance of the material was sold off to Charlton Comics in 1955.
Charlton produced three more issues of the comic erratically through 1956.
Then the title was changed to Never Again for one single issue in the summer of 1956.
That winter the title was changed again with the very next stand alone issue to Soldier and Marine Comics.
Finally the title was changed again in 1957 to Jerry Drummer and the focus was shifted from modern warfare to the history of the American Revolution.
Jerry Drummer lasted three issues until being cancelled with the eleventh issue in late 1957 bringing the original Foxhole run to an end.
But in 1963 and 1964 the pirate comics operation I.W.Publishing / Super Comics came out with three irregularly numbered issues of Foxhole.
The original Foxhole comic by Simon and Kirby was intended to have significant edge, bringing a energy and depth to the depiction of the horrors of war. As can be seen by this rejected cover for the fourth and final Mainline issue, Simon and Kirby were striving to communicated the violence of war to a broad audience. Despite the rejection of the art, I'm still struck by the amazing portraits Kirby created for the fourth issue, one of my all-time favorite comic book covers.
Next time a look at Mainline's most famous offering and some talk about why the company fell by the wayside.