Thursday, January 17, 2013

G.I. Combat 1-5

G.I. Combat began at Quality. Much later, after DC bought the title, the WWII stories of the Haunted Tank headlined; but in 1952-3 this anthology presented nothing but contemporary Korean War stories.

I can identify the three writers by style but can name only one of them, Joe Millard. "Q" worked on Ken Shannon, T-Man, Blackhawk, Exploits of Daniel Boone, Robin Hood Tales, and Web of Evil—and wrote a couple of stories for Doll Man—from 1951 or '52 to Quality's demise at the end of 1956. "GIC A" I've so far found scripting only on this title. The first story here uses "damn" and "dammit" but that experiment in precode adult-aimed writing ends before the issue and the title get any older. UPDATE: "Q" is Robert Bernstein.

Indexers have reflexively named Chuck Cuidera as Reed Crandall's inker on most of his stories at Quality, no matter the actual style (or the reports of other inkers like Les Zakarin or Sam Burlockoff on some of his strips). In the case of the first G.I. Combat story, however, Crandall's inker is indeed Cuidera. Note the faces of the lieutenant in the top tier panels as examples of Crandall's pencils and the sergeant's face in the bottom tier's middle panel as most obviously Cuidera's inks.

G.I. Combat I first story page--Crandall pencils, Cuidera inks
My impression is that Pete Morisi and Sam Citron ink themselves on this title, but the difference between John Daly stories' inks at DC and Quality suggests he didn't ink himself at both. After the obscuring inks over Charles Nicholas's pencils in #1, the inking of his stories here is pretty consistent, and so although I've never seen his inks credited later at Charlton or DC, I'll venture that he does ink himself from #2 on.

The cover pencils are by Crandall: #1, 3-5, and Dick Dillin: #2.

G.I. Combat 1-5

Oct/52 Beyond the Call of Duty w: Robert Bernstein
        p: Reed Crandall
        i: Chuck Cuidera
    Killing Pitch w: "GIC A"  a: Pete Morisi
    The Runt Breaks Through w: Bernstein  p: Charles Nicholas
    Trumpet of Death w: "GIC A"  a: ?
Dec/     Operation Massacre w: Bernstein  p: John Daly
    Prison Camp Slaughter w: Bernstein  a: Morisi

  Behind Enemy Lines w: "GIC A"  a: ?

  The Human Fly on Heartbreak Hill w: "GIC A"  a: Nicholas
Feb/53 Havoc behind Red Lines w: Bernstein  p: Daly
    An Indestructible Marine w: "GIC A"  a: ?
    No Grandstand in Hell w: Joe Millard  p: Crandall
    Suicide Decoy w: Bernstein  a: Nicholas
Mar/     Bridge to Bloody Hell w: Millard  p: Dick Dillin
    Vengeance Raid w: Millard  a: Sam Citron
    The Lieutenant Attacks w: "GIC A"  a: ?
    One Man Army w: "GIC A"  p: Crandall
Apr/     Vindicated under Fire w: "GIC A"  p: Dillin
    Glamour Guys of Hell w: Bernstein  a: ?
    Hell Breaks Loose on Suicide Hill w: Millard  a: Citron
    Death of a Coward w: Bernstein  p: Crandall


  1. Martin, your mention of "Q" also writing Blackhawk led me to compile a list of Quality Comics Blackhawk writers, using data from Jerry Bails' site:

    Busy Arnold (1941, 1 story)
    Otto Binder (1942)
    John Broome (1956, backup feature)
    Will Eisner (1941)
    Bill Finger (1945)
    Lane (Dick?) French (1941)
    Joe Millard (1943)
    Harry Stein (1941-49)
    Manly Wade Wellman (1943-50)
    Dave Wood (1941-49)
    William Woolfolk (1944-48)

    The dates look to be suspiciously incomplete in at least some cases to me (I reckon some might have written outside the years given), and the complete absence of any writers listed for the period 1951-56 is to be noted.

    Writer "Q" may come from outside of this list, but I am no expert on writing styles, like yourself.

    There are still many mysteries surrounding Golden and Silver Age credits!

  2. Lee, my incomplete list of writers on Blackhawk in the Fifties--there are a lot of stories to read--is:

    Bill Finger (1940s-1955--occasional)
    Joe Millard (1940s-1956)
    "Q" (1956)
    Dick Wood (Dave's brother) (1953 or earlier-1955)
    William Woolfolk (1944-1953)

    with Gwen Hansen on the Chop Chop strip into the Fifties.

    And there may well be Blackhawk writers no one will ever hear of among those mysteries you mention.

  3. Martin, I was rereading some of the Dick Arnold (son of Busy) interview in Alter Ego #34 (March 2004) last night, and he has a fair bit to say about Blackhawk writers.

    He says that: "The problem was at that time we only had (Joe) Millard and (Bill) Finger writing scripts for Blackhawk, and they just didn't turn out enough scripts. So we needed the Wood brothers" (Arnold seems to be talking about the early 1950s here). Dick Arnold also says: "They (Dick and Dave Wood) were drunk all the time and they'd write some incoherent stories. They wrote some of the later Blackhawk stories." Arnold also mentions Wellman and Woolfolk writing Blackhawk, the implication being it was slightly earlier in their case.

    None of this is any help, I suppose, in identifying "Q", but it basically tallies with your info on 1950s Blackhawk writers.

    Did Gwen Hansen write all, or most of the Chop Chop strip to the best of your knowledge - or did Jack Cole write the sole one he drew (Blackhawk #31; I would hazard a guess he probably did), and did Paul Gustavson actually write some, or most of the ones he drew (which the GCD seems to think he did)?

  4. Martin, I found a reference here to France Ed Herron being an early (presumably pre-DC) Blackhawk writer:

    I don't know if this is true (the same site incorrectly claims Dick Dillin was a Blackhawk artist in the 1940s), or the source of the information, but is it poosible that Ed Herron is "Q"?

  5. Lee, so far I haven't seen a Herron Blackhawk at Quality--again, there are a lot of Blackhawks I haven't read--but I'm going to say he wrote it in the Forties. He isn't "Q".

    Gwen Hansen wrote Chop Chop when Gustavson and Bill Ward were the artists. I don't know if I've seen any stories known (not guessed) to have been written by Gustavson to get a handle on his style. The GCD does assume a number of Quality humor artists wrote their own stuff; some may have, but Hansen wrote a lot of those strips.

    I'll have to take the time to look for that Jack Cole Chop Chop.