Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Decent Comics: "Kill Me with Wagner!" by Kirby and Berry

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! A comicbook with a Joe Kubert cover and Jack Kirby story and art just screams "Read me!" dunnit? That's what DC figured when they let Kirby (and inker D. Bruce Berry) take over Robert Kanigher's The Losers feature in Our Fighting Forces beginning with ish #151 (July 1974). For the past four-plus years, The Losers, created by Kanigher by gathering a small group of cancelled DC war features (meaning they were Losers in more ways than one), enjoyed several top artists (including luminaries like Ross Andru and John Severin) and followed the Kanigher War Formula. With Kirby's arrival, Capt. Storm, Johnny Cloud, Gunner and Sarge kept trucking through WWII, their ability to stumble into and out of trouble remained intact, but man, did the thrust of the series take a turn! Gone were the fables of the bravery of our fighting forces and the futility of war. They were replaced by the action-packed, fast-paced, in-your-face Jack Kirby style, filtered through Kirby's experiences (he was a veteran of World War II, ya know), bringing us imaginative and yes, many times outlandish--but always cool!--stories that displayed the brutality of what enlisted men faced when their boots hit the ground. For perhaps the last time during his DC tenure, Kirby was unleashed! Here's his opening salvo, "Kill Me with Wagner!"


  1. Kirby and Kubert: two giants in the industry. Kubert kept turning out masterpieces practically to the end of his 88 years. Regarding Kirby's work at the time of this story I thought Berry's inks were step down from Royer's. But in rereading Jack's DC mags I now I think they were better, cleaner. Royer's lettering tops Berry's though.

  2. It's amazing when you think of how many series Kirby started up in the 70's, usually hitting the ground at full speed, never short of fresh ideas. The scope and variety of the Losers stories went way outside the box of what war comics had been doing for decades. In many ways, Kirby was defined by World War II and in his war comics we have the undiluted source of his visions of tyrants like Darkseid and conflagrations like Ragnarok.

  3. I'm digging it Groovester! I got this issue in the box and going to dig it out to hold in my hands for real! Now how's about some Sad Sack???

    1. Sorry, Charlie! The few Sad Sack scans I managed to acquire got fried when my pc crashed a few months back. Even fried my back-up copies! I'm trying to find some more scans, but they're harder to find and an honest politician!

  4. I loved Kirby's run with The Losers. The next issue was one of my favorite war comics ever.....wall to wall action.

    I also remember that even at the age of eleven, I knew what that "Still only 20 cents" blurb meant in the upper right corner......25 cent comics dead ahead. :)



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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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