Tag: Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos

With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders

With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders

As a kid, I wasn’t into war comics, but I sure did love the “war comic for people who hate comics”: Marvel’s Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.  That was the tagline that Marvel  developed for this offbeat war comic.  (I assume Stan Lee, as both writer and in-house ad agency, wrote that line.)

This series quickly became the print version of a WWII buddy movie.  The Howling Commandos were a special task force, more like Army Rangers than the British commandos, who were dispatched on fantastic, all-odds-against-them missions. The Howling Commandos joked and kidded their way through every adventure.  It all seemed like great fun, and in contrast to real war, downright happy and hilarious.

As we all got older, it was harder to choke down Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.  We learned about the horrors and atrocities of war, and the meandering silliness of  this comic seemed to trivialize an admittedly awful subject. We could draw the line at glamorizing war, especially when used for macho adventure, but before long, treating it too lightheartedly was verboten.  In fact, in the waning days of the Sgt. Fury series, Marvel began swinging the pendulum in the other direction, most notably with titles like War Is Hell.

Still, there was so much to love about that series. Especially when it really hit its stride with Gary Friedrich scripts, Dick Ayers pencils, and John Severin inks.  Those were gripping, dense and clever comics.  One of my all-time favorite covers depicted on character on his way to a court-martial. Not the standard stuff of war comics.

That was then, and this is now. And I have some good news!  Ron Marz and Darryl Banks have reunited (You will remember them from their groundbreaking Green Lantern series.) to collaborate on a new “war comic”: Harken’s Raiders.

Continue reading “With Further Ado #78: The Uphill Battle of Harken’s Raiders”

With Further Ado: WAH-HO0 for Gary Friedrich

With Further Ado: WAH-HO0 for Gary Friedrich

It’s been a tough week for classic comic fans as several beloved creators have passed away: Russ Heath, Marie Severin and Gary Friedrich.  Each has left behind an impressive body of work that will be celebrated for years to come.

Gary Friedrich, often tagged with the Marvel nomenclature as Groovy Gary Friedrich, was special as he was the Marvel writer who hooked me in deep.

Friedrich had quite an origin to his own comics career.  He came into the industry along with his hometown pal Roy Thomas. He shared an apartment with Bill Everett and freelanced on Charlton Comics and Mars Attacks! and Superman trading cards at Topps. Friedrich created Hell-Rider for Skywald, and in retrospect it’s easy to see that this character was a prototype for his signature Marvel creation: The Ghost Rider. 

While at Marvel, Friedrich would write quite a number of titles, but beyond The Ghost Rider, there was something special about his writing on one title in particular that grabbed me: Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.  Continue reading “With Further Ado: WAH-HO0 for Gary Friedrich”