365 Reasons to Love Comics #143
Today’s Bob is just as crazy, and just as brilliant, as yesterday’s. Known primarily to his stunning contributions to the war genre, this Bob also gave us some wonderfully insane superhero books.
143. Robert Kanigher
“Because Bob Kanigher” is a phrase bandied about the internet these days. What does it mean? Well, it’s used as the explanation to why something in a Kanigher-written comic book is completely insane. Because Bob Kanigher. The man was quite possibly mad, but he was a genius.
Yeah, that’s the guy that wrote a book called How to Make Money Writing for Comics. Heh.
Bob Kanigher wrote (and edited) a gazillion comics. I’d be afraid to even try to count how many stories he composed over the course of his life, because the number would be staggering.
First up: the war books. This was Kanigher’s forte. He wrote and created Sgt. Rock, the greatest fictional war hero of them all, with Joe Kubert. He was the man responsible for the brilliance of the Haunted Tank, Enemy Ace, the War that Time Forgot (dinosaurs!!!), the Unknown Soldier, Captain Storm, the Losers, G.I. Robot, the original Suicide Squad, and more. These war comics were easily his best work. He produced a tremendous amount of quality material for DC’s numerous war books– it’d easily kill any of today’s writers. Also, he wrote a story about a gorilla who fought Nazis (Yes, Chris Sims is also the world’s biggest Kanigher fan. Who can blame him?).
That’s not to say he didn’t write good superhero material. By God, he did. Some of it was completely insane, like his work on Wonder Woman (two words: Egg Fu. Two more: Dr. Domino. Another two: Wonder Tot) or World’s Finest, but that wasn’t all. I only just discovered in researching this column that he created Black Canary! And Poison Ivy! And Lady Cop! He also scripted the first appearance of Barry Allen. Here’s some more: Star Sapphire, Rose & Thorn, the Sea Devils, King Faraday, the Trigger Twins, Ragman, and Rex the Wonder Dog.
His greatest super-work, however, is definitely the Metal Men. It was a bizarre, surreal, sublime work that was crazier than anything else out there. Well, anything else not written by Bob Kanigher.
Sometimes, I simply can’t convey the sheer greatness of a Reason to Love Comics in one tiny column. This is one of those days. Mr. Kanigher is simply too awesome for me. This is where you come in, dear readers (and where Greg Hatcher came in the other day– like I said, Greg, you read my mind). Share with us your memories and opinions of the man.
Mr. Kanigher and yesterday’s Mr. Haney were both completely mad geniuses who produced some of DC’s best comics in the Silver Age. They will have my eternal thanks. Please, purchase some of DC’s Showcase editions, many of which collect the fantastic works by the deliciously deranged duo.
When the fantastically kooky Mr. Kanigher passed away in 2002, comics lost one of the greats.
Why should we love comics?
Bob Kanigher. That’s why.
Have a link to this fantastic Robert Kanigher tribute site.