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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – L

Today, we see a classic example of repackaging gone right.

The Losers

DC, over the years, had a number of characters who were featured in their various war anthologies.

Some of them hit it big, like the Haunted Tank and Sgt. Rock, some did not.

Three of the less popular series (one of whom had his own title, even!) were Johnny Cloud, Navajo Ace, Captain Storm and Gunner & Sarge.

However, in G.I. Combat, Robert Kanigher had an inspired idea – take all of these failed series, and put them all together into a TEAM! They made their first appearance in GI Combat #138, guest-starring with the Haunted Tank.

A special forces group made up of all these failed heroes – these “losers.”

And what better name than The Losers!!

Soon, they graduated into their own feature in Our Fighting Forces…

Finally, the guys clicked, and The Losers had a fairly substantial run for the rest of Our Fighting Forces’ timespan (I believe it was finally canceled around the same time as the DC Implosion).

Probably the most notable thing about the title were the covers. Joe Kubert clearly had a lot of fun with them, especially once the basic idea of the covers were established, an idea that would be repeated to almost absurdity during the series run, which would be that a character would comment that things were looking up, while the reader would see that things were actually looking very bad for the group.

A lot of “finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and seeing it is an oncoming train” stuff.

I think some great parodies could be made based on this basic concept.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorites…

So awesome.

The Vertigo series by the same name was good, too!

8 Comments

I´d really like to see Garth Ennis take on The Losers.

Don’t forget the Losers in Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier: Losers vs. Dinosaur Island in a battle to the death. Great stuff.

I think Kirby’s run on The Losers is some of the best stuff he ever did. It just reeks to me of experiences he picked up during the War.

"O" the Humanatee!

April 5, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Note that the cover to OFF #149 that you show, which follows the formula you describe, is not by Joe Kubert but by Frank Thorne. Thorne’s style is not so different from Kubert’s, at least on that cover (perhaps Kubert laid it out). But the second I saw “Ona”‘s pert breasts, I thought, “That’s not Kubert, that’s Thorne!”; the signature just confirmed it.

I’ll admit, O, that I was going to specify that Kubert didn’t do them all, but I decided against it. I guess I should have! :)

When I was a kid I read an issue of Our Fighting Forces with the Losers as headliners. It was issue 135 from 1971 (I read it in the mid-’70s– someone left it at my Grandmother’s house long before).

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=24775&zoom=4

It was the issue where Capt. Storm dies (he comes back from the dead much later) but I vividly remember being moved by the end of the story where The Losers go on (only now having Ona on the team) in spite of the Capt. Storm’s sacrifice.

Great story. Kanhiger was in top form and the art by John Severin was gorgeous. In fact, the whole issue may well be one of the best single issues of a comic I’ve ever read. Every story in it was solid, even the reprints. It made me realize how unsung DC’s war comics really were

Phew – I thought for a moment that this post was going to be about the crappy Andy Diggle series.

For all the folk who say Quasar’s a loser: Losers make the list!

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