Friday, February 28, 2014

Making a Splash: Jack Kirby's Losers

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! One of Jack "King" Kirby's final DC assignments for his legendary Groovy Age run was on Our Fighting Forces' The Losers. Kirby, a WWII veteran, was a master of war comics (as he was master of every genre of comic!), so even though Jack was nearing the finish line of his DC career and approaching his new time at Marvel, The Losers were in great hands! Jack (paired with inkers D. Bruce Berry and Mike Royer)seemed to experiment a bit with his storytelling in issues 151-162 (July 1974-September 1975) of Our Fighting Forces; most issues had double-page splashes, many had full page splashes for chapters after chapter one, but there weren't any single-page splashes to kick off any Losers stories. (Heck, issue 152 didn't have a single-page splash in the whole mag!) Ol' Groove has collected the double- and single-page splashes from the entire run right here for ya. Who loves ya, baby?

Oh, and if you're like me, wondering if assigning Jack to "The Losers" was some sort of dig, think on this: the mag went from bi-monthly to monthly during The King's run! So if it was some kind of joke, who got the last laugh?


  1. I've got a couple issues of this series, but after seeing this stuff I'm gonna keep an eyeball out for any other issues I can get my hot little hands on. Thank for showing it! Powerful stuff.

  2. Kirby could make even the most mundane scenes appear so powerful. I'll never forget a splash panel he drew in New Gods #8 (I think), of "Terrible"Turpin holding a sandwich and a cup of coffee and it almost looks like Galactus devouring a planet. - Jeff Clem

  3. These images are VISCERAL! They stick with you! The lineup of people getting shot is incredibly powerful- gives us a glimpse into the horror of war from someone who was there. Thanks for this post, Groove!

  4. The exploding liberty ship double-pager is one of my favorite Kirby splashes ever!

    This was a great series, where the enemy was portrayed as a truly frightening threat, which added to the grittiness & realism. No Hogan's Heroes goofballs here, just death staring at you from everywhere.

    The reprint Losers Omnibus is well worth the money !!!

  5. Yeah, I think Kirby's run on this title is one of those hidden, obscure gems that even old comic fans like myself are sometimes surprised to run across. It's also worth remembering that while Kirby wrote and drew these stories about World War II, he was actually in it, in combat in Europe. I think his life experiences, in combat and growing up in a rough neighborhood, informed his work and gave it an energy and an understanding of violence. That energy came out in the work.

  6. Our Fighting Forces #152 was Kirby at his best.....non-stop action from start to finish. I was exhausted after reading it, almost like I had been in the story. I would love to read it again.

  7. That scene above where the partisans appear glaring, ragged, motionless and silent out of the mist reminds me an awful lot of that scene in Apocalypse Now where the last remnants of the French colonials slowly, dramatically appear the same way out of nowhere in the fog. Now, I think the film came out in '77 or '78, at which time Kirby was at Marvel.
    I wonder if somebody on that film didn't see this, but probably, it's just a coincidence.
    But there is a cinematic element to Kirby's 70's stuff. The guy liked movies.

  8. The one time I met Jack, I was lucky enough to hear some of his war stories, and a couple of incidents he told me actually ended up in his Losers run.

  9. Wonder if you will ever cover the pre-Kirby run of the Losers. In wrapping up the collected version it really is good. Frankly disappointing Kanigher and Severin had it pulled from them and handed to Kirby.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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