Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Losers - A Small Place In Hell!


With the one hundred and fifty-second issue of Our Fighting Forces, Jack "King" Kirby was able to grab everyone's attention with a new cover for his new feature The Losers. Many (myself included) probably thought this was Kirby's first issue on the series since it would be ludicrous to use a man of Kirby's talent and profile and then hide his work under the drawings of another, even another as talented as Joe Kubert. But as we'll see, DC was adamant in the final year of Kirby's contract with them to make sure fans of the King had as much trouble as possible finding his latest efforts.


The story takes place in the European theater and we see the Losers enter a town they think is not occupied by the Nazis. But they are wrong about that detail as Kirby's two-page spread makes clear. This story actually seems to one which (ironically) is like all those Joe Kubert covers which showcase war heroes feeling safe in unsafe conditions.


The story is essentially one great long battle as The Losers fight door-to-door inside and outside in the small town. As we've heard in the news coming out of the Iraq, this kind of fighting is among the most dangerous soldiers can engage in and that sure comes across as the Losers run and shoot their way to relative safety when the rest of the army shows up at last. The leader of that life-saving force is someone of note and relative fame and the Losers are might impressed with his pearl-handled revolvers.


This is visually festive adventure by Kirby and his inker at the time D. Bruce Berry and to fair to Berry, he does an above average job on this particular tale. Kirby's notion of soldiers seems to come directly from his own experience and helps his stories shrink away from becoming too celebratory of war and battle and instead invests our interest in the men who are reluctant participants. This is the rare Losers story which focuses on the complete team, with each one getting a few panels of attention.


More to come when the series goes meta.

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3 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorites. Wall to wall action. I can still remember buying this one and just reading it over and over.

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    1. I was never smart enough to get these at the time. It's entirely likely I never knew in real time that Kirby was on this book. After the Fourth World books failed, I lost interest in DC for a few years and didn't wander back until after Kirby had returned to Marvel.

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    2. I don't remember a lot of fanfare about it. I do remember seeing one of those half-page ads for this one in another comic book. I was a bit late coming to the Fourth World, but I loved Kamandi, so when I saw the ad, I snatched this one up.

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