A Year of Cool Comics – Day 98
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we take a look at Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito’s The War That Time Forgot run in Star Spangled War Stories…
Before the late 1950s, DC was content to let their war comics go by without any featured characters. That changed in the late 50s as they decided it made more sense to begin to have regular features. While it was not the first feature in Star-Spangled War Stories, The War That Time Forgot was its longest-running lead feature (time-wise, that is – The Unknown Soldier outlasted it issue-wise, because of the different shipping schedules), running from 1960 until 1968.
What’s remarkable about the set-up is just how simple it was – it really just was “let’s see what happens when we put a bunch of soldiers on an island full of dinosaurs and make them fight for their lives.”
If there was ever one skill that really distinguished Robert Kanigher from other writers, it was that he could write the same basic concept forty issues in a row and have it be a unique story each time. I mean, for crying out loud, this is the same guy who managed to come up with unique stories for the Haunted Tank!!! And you don’t get much more specific of a story concept than the Haunted Tank!
Luckily for him, he was also aided by such great artists as Ross Andru and Mike Esposito (who drew the vast majority of The War That Time Forgot issues, which ran as the main feature roughly from #90-137 – with some gaps here and there), Russ Heath, Gene Colan and, of course, Joe Kubert.
Here are some sample pages from two issues…
As you can see, Kanigher delivers straightforward but strong war action in each issue, with characters who are never really THAT far apart from each other, and yet just different enough to give each new lead their own “hook.”
It was a really effective method, especially seeing as how it also involved soldiers fighting dinosaurs which, come on, is pretty freakin’ awesome, concept-wise!