War Comics Price Guide
War comics can be nostalgic, even for modern-day comic enthusiasts or at least for those who grew up in the 1980s era.
A lot of war titles ran into the 80s, although many of them were simply reprints of older issues.
In fact, it’s a valid argument that superheroes that had their roots in the wars were looked in a more realistic manner.
Most of today’s superheroes are inspired by the hopes that in many nations preceded WWII, for an übermensch figure.
This article talks about many of the different war titles and might be useful to you to identify and value them if you have some in your shelves, basement, or collection.
- Captain America Comics
- Don Winslow of the Navy
- Military Comics
- Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos
- Our Army at War
- Sgt. Rock
- The Unknown Soldier
- Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen
- G.I. Combat
- Star-Spangled War Stories
- Weird War Tales
- War is Hell
Captain America Comics
Captain America cannot be properly considered as a war comic but this series surely deserves a mention here.
For those looking forward to burning gratification at a time when the US was still neutral in World War II, the cover of the first-ever Captain America Comics was published by Timely Comics in 1941.
Most of these WW2 issue covers either features Captain America attacking a defenseless Adolf Hitler, or fighting with Swastika-clad tanks, planes, and soldiers, while Hitler’s bodyguards hopelessly attempt to defend their leader.
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Don Winslow of the Navy
In 1934, Don Winslow of the Navy started as a comic strip. In 1943, after a decade later, the comic strip became so popular and loved that it was transformed into a comic book form.
The comic was basically, an actual Navy-endorsed propaganda, with ex-Navy consultants involved to ensure both the credibility and a pro-Navy image.
The second issue of this comic book series, of Winslow fully upright, featuring one of the Japanese-occupied Solomon Islands with dry pants, a big smile, and a pistol waved aloft, is no doubt worth a look.
Due to the unpopularity of this character, the Don Winslow comics are rarely found on sale.
Another one of the war comics that ran from 1941 to 1945. Military Comics was published by Quality Comics.
This was a kind of clearing house title, similar to the later G.I. Combat. The main focus of Military comics was not just a hero or a team instead it highlighted the groups of heroes engaged in different situations.
One of the important legacies of the title is the Blackhawks Squadron which was co-created by Will Eisner and Chuck Culdera. The Blackhawks first appeared in the initial issue of Military Comics. They, later on, became a fringe part of the DC Universe.
The nostalgic value of the Blackhawks was established in their stand-along comic, which ran from 2011-2012.
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos
Sgt. Nick Fury is an example of a war comic hero who successfully made it to ‘mainstream’ comics and then eventually to the MCU.
He gained quite a reputation in the recent Avengers movie, played by the actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Before Colonel Nick Fury was the cigar-smoking, rigid director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sgt. Nick Fury was the cigar-smoking, badass hard-nosed NCO of a group that included World War II commandos.
It is imaginable that Sgt. Fury and his commandos were a unit that moved at will behind the enemy lines during special missions and causing chaos to their numbers.
The comic was created by the Marvel Comic god Stan Lee and the legendary Jack Kirby. It lasted until 1981. Many of its runs, consisted of reprints from the early series. Sgt. Fury #1 is the core issue, as is Sgt. Fury #13, which makes up an early Silver Age Captain America comic appearance.
By the end of the series, Nick Fury had already established his way into the Marvel Universe, starring in his own series called Nick Fury and Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., which began in 1968 and is still running sporadically.
Our Army at War Comics
This comic ran for quite a long time from 1952 to 1977. Just like Military Comics and G.I. Combat, Our Army at War is a compilation of episodic adventures of different heroes and units.
Probably the most significant aspect of this comic was the introduction of the hero, Sgt. Rock in Our Army at War #83 (1959). Rock, later on, went to be the title hero of the renamed series.
The renaming process did not take place until the release of issue 302 (1977), and many of the adventures took place under the name Our Army at War.
Sgt. Rock withheld the numbering of its predecessor, Our Army at War, that began at Sgt. Rock #302 (pictured) in 1977.
The series ran until #422, a marvelous run by any standard.
Sgt. Rock had a lot of afterlives in the comic books.
He’s a difficult character for comic collectors who desire to have a complete collection because many of the early issues are hard to find.
He becomes a member of the Wildstorm Comics franchise Team 7 during his DC alternative universe crossover.
He was killed in this special crossover chapter.
The Unknown Soldier
Another one of the DC spinoff from the comic Our Army at War was The Unknown Soldier, drawing on the charm of the Tomb at Arlington, Virginia.
His first appearance was in Our Army at War #168, an issue bearing the Sgt. Rock subtitle.
He then had many appearances in the series called Star-Spangled War Comics, which after issue #205 (1977) transformed into The Unknown Soldier.
The main idea behind this character was that having been severely burned in action, he now depends on disguises and gives his services in special operations and intelligence.
Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen
These series have an interesting turn because the series Combat Kelly, and the series Combat Kelly and the Deadly Dozen were published in different decades and take place in different wars.
Both of the comics are published by Atlas, and yet it isn’t clear if the continuity between them was intended
In addition to that, the first series (1951-1957) takes place during the Korean War, while the second (1972-1973) is a WWII narrative.
Both of the series are gritty but the later series, befitting its Vietnam-era run, is also darker, with the hero having been convicted of killing humans.
War Comics: G. I. Combat
This interesting comic keeps the action fresh by revolving its plot around the various characters and theaters of war.
The most noticeable independent factor of G.I. Combat was the Haunted Tank, premiering in use G.I. Combat #87 (1961), and making frequent appearances until the final year of the comic. See the listings below.
In this feature, the spirit of Civil War Confederacy hero J.E.B. Stuart watches over a WWII soldier name Jeb Stuart, along with his tank (that is also named Jeb Stuart) that he drives.
The series ran in between the time period 1952-1956 under the Quality Comics publications. In the beginning of 1957, DC picked up the series and help it run all the way to 1987!
Recently, DC revived the series but canceled it by the end of the year 2012.
Star-Spangled War Stories
In 1952, Star Spangled War Stories began its publications and became The Unknown Soldier in 1977.
This took place a little after the Unknown Soldier had dominated the pages of its predecessor comic for quite some time.
Star-Spangled War Stories in its turn had supplanted Star-Spangled Comics.
Its title can be a little misleading since Star Spangled War Stories is also as gritty and rough as other war comics of its day.
The very first few issues are no doubt worth having, for those who somehow managed to collect them.
Weird War Tales
Weird War Tales is an interesting title that combines war with horror fiction.
DC Comics published this series from 1971 to 1983.
The initial setting involves the US vs. Nazi action, although it also explores other conflicts and periods as well. Like The Unknown Soldier, Weird War Tales also intersects with Star Spangled War Stories.
This could be challenging for collectors who desire to complete runs and story arcs, but it also keeps the value of issues higher.
In 1997, there was a brief revival of this title under DC’s Vertigo.
War is Hell
Last but not the least, Here’s one quirky, short-lived war comic worthy of mention named War as Hell, a Marvel comic book that started out by reprinting stories from the older war comics.
This series then told the tales about the ill-fated John Kowalski.
Kowalski is murdered early in the war and has the bad luck to be chosen by death for a wicked role which is to inhabit the consciousness of individuals on the verge of them being killed.
Kowalski experiences the horrors of war again and again, and every time Death brings him back to experience a new kind of destruction.
This kept on happening until the series was canceled in 1975.
Why War Comics Appeal to Us
After Darwin, the idea of evolution via the “survival of the fittest” prompted hopes for the possibilities of a superior race or genetic engineering.
The goal that is to be achieved and is familiar to most of us is to accelerate evolution by encouraging the strong kind and culling the weak.
Hitler, as we know, had a similar motive and hoped to breed a super race. The Soviets had similar hopes, and Americans did not object to such aspirations.
In our imagination, heroes like Superman filled the space that history, either for good or ill, failed to fulfill. Captain America and his nemesis, Red Skull, are the example of how measures concerning advanced genetic and biological engineering can be taken to an extreme end.
In a way, the time period of conflicting world powers and world wars gave birth to the superheroes themselves. At a down-to-earth level, war comics that featured the lives of ordinary soldiers were also published.
Most of these comics are the result of the Korean War. Their prime time is the 1950s, though they continue through Vietnam (and sometimes beyond).
A superhero that is inspired by these ordinary heroes would be Marvel’s The Punisher.
The Punisher fought in Vietnam and has no extra-ordinary powers, and could be imagined in the trenches with personalities like Nick Fury (with and against whom he has indeed fought).
Get Your War Comics Valued
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