ISSUE #1:

The series opens in 1944, a few weeks prior to the D-Day Invasion. the Howlers are introduced in a double-page spread: Sgt. Fury (the leader of the squad), Cpl. "Dum-Dum" Dugan (former circus strangman), "Rebel" Ralston (ex-jockey), "Junior Juniper (Ivy Leaguer), Gabe Jones (trumpet player), Izzy Cohen (mechanic) and Dino Manelli (movie star). The Howlers are under the command of "Happy Sam" Sawyer, "battle-hardened exec officer of the commandos 'able company.'"

The leader of the French underground has been captured by the Nazis. the Howlers' mission: rescue him. After parachuting behind enemy lines into occupied France, their mission proceeds in straightforward fashion. [HIGHLIGHT: Dum-Dum takes down a Messerschmidt... with a hand grenade... while parachuting!] They succeed in the rescue, and the final caption reads: "One June 6, 1944... the first wave of the allied invasion forces hit Omaha Beach! And, in the forefront of the attack were seven Howling Commandos--but that's a tale for another time!:

NEXT: Another time.

Views: 345

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It should be noted that Fury was opposed to the idea as the rest of the Howlers had been civilians for over a decade, older and lacking training. President Johnson basically orders him to which he does with a great deal of guilt. Of course, he doesn't show that when they are reunited.

 . . . Percy Pinkerton is the owner of a Playboy-like club . . . 

Manager, not owner.  A small quibble, though.  I'm enjoying your takes on these issues.

I have Sgt. Fury #95-106 at hand right now and while the book was headed towards being a reprint series, in this period, it was 50% reprint and 50% all-new stories. There were a couple of crossovers with Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen (and man, was that a depressing book! Of course, I have all nine issues!) and the afore-mentioned #100.

What was the last WWII-era non-reprint issue of Sgt. Fury?

The last new issue of Sgt. Fury was its last issue, #120 (Jl'74) which was a lot later that I would have thought! Interestingly, the book continued as a reprint and was officially renamed Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos which would go on until #167 (D'81) which would reprint #1.

#110 (My'73) would feature a young J. Jonah Jameson.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

What was the last WWII-era non-reprint issue of Sgt. Fury?

When Annual/Special #3 came out in the Summer of 1967 I had just become a permanent employee of Los Angeles County. I had no idea that the following Spring I would be drafted. Before the draft lottery started in 1969, any man up to 26 had the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect. When I was in Basic Training there were men there from 19 to 26, and 26 is a lot different than 19 unless you are a full-time athlete. I was a few months away from turning 20. I think I remember reading this at the time but had no idea how accurate it was.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

A splash-page caption places the action in the summer of 1967, the same summer the annual was released. The story begins in medias res with Fury in North Viet Nam about to walk into a Viet Cong ambush.

The Viet Cong were the guerillas who were active in South Vietnam. Whether or not they wore uniforms, they were in organized companies and battalions just like the regular troops on both sides. If Fury was in North Vietnam he would have encountered North Vietnamese Army soldiers (NVA) who didn’t wear black pajamas or other civilian garb. They should have looked like this:

In 1969 when I was 10 miles from the so-called Demilitarized Zone (which was full of NVA), that’s who we were up against. The 1968 Tet Offensive turned into a suicide mission for most of the actual Viet Cong when their expected revolt by the civilian population didn’t happen. This was probably because of the VC murdering so many civilians. They did this as policy, not as an aberration.  Tet was a political defeat for the U.S., because the U.S. had lied, not a military defeat.

President Johnson explains that the North Vietnamese are developing a hydrogen bomb and, for diplomatic reasons, it must be taken out by a civilian force to avoid escalation. At this point, Fury sets about "getting the band back together again."

North Vietnam was getting most of its weapons from the USSR and some from China. They already had the big bombs, and never would have allowed them to develop their own. As for escalation, 1967-68 was the height of escalation, short of nuclear weapons. Forty Million+ died in WWII. A conventional WWIII, with even more deaths, hasn’t happened because nuclear weapons are a huge deterrent for everyone.

…their target is a weapons factory in Haiphong.

As I said, their weapons were imported, including anti-aircraft guns, some of which were manned by USSR soldiers (which I recently discovered when it was lamented that there were USSR “Vietnam Veterans” who were wounded back then).

The Howling Commandos go their separate ways... their hearts empty at the thought that they may never again share another adventure... but filled with the memories of past glory and comradeship the likes of which few men ever know!"

Their wanting more ‘adventure” flies in the face of the fact that war is horror and tragedy, not adventure. I don’t care how good they were, having last seen action in Korea and being civilians ever since, there is no way they could have quickly (if at all) pulled off the mission, let alone all survive.

 

I was wondering when someone would note that the Yalu River separated North Korea from China, not North Korea from South Korea. Should've known it would be Richard.

So yeah, MiGs would fly south from airbases in China, and when it got too hot or they ran out of fuel, they'd skedaddle back to China where we couldn't follow, because the U.N. mandate that put us there didn't include China. Notwithstanding that we were fighting Chinese troops after October 1950 in Korea proper.

Twice U.N. forces were forced to the bottom of the peninsula, and once we chased the Koreans all the way to the Yalu, and in the course of all this back and forth Seoul was captured four times. It was not at all the romp seen in M*A*S*H, although they accurately depicted how mobile the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals were, as they chased up and down the peninsula with the front line. Bug out!

On another note, I wonder what it would look like if you put all the Sgt. Fury, Captain Savage and Combat Kelly stories in chronological order. Many, if not most, would be sort of timeless and generic. But there are some events, both historical and fictional, that can't be fudged. And that's gonna cause some problems.

Jeff notes the first issue shows Junior surviving to late June 1944. That's Problem #1, and it's a big one. Because:

Percy Pinkerton is introduced in issue #8. He is Junior's replacement. The Howlers do not know him. And this takes place no earlier than summer 1944, per issue #1. (Junior died in issue #4, but I don't know how much time had passed.) So what's Pinky doing in all those stories before June, 1944?

Like the Battle of Tarawa in Fury #49. That took place in November 1943. The mission should have included Junior. But instead we have Pinky, who would not join the team for at least seven more months. When, I say again, the Howlers do not know him.

In Fury #16, Percy is with the Howlers fighting Germans in North Africa. The North African campaign was effectively over in May 1943, so the Germans weren't in North Africa any more by the time Junior was killed. Junior should have been on that mission, not Percy. This applies to virtually all the Howler missions to North Africa, including "The Fangs of the Fox!" (Fury #6) and "In the Desert to Die!" (Fury #37).

I can play this game all day long. Virtually all pre-D-Day missions should have Junior, not Percy, including the mission to Greece (Fury #33), the one to Norway (#32) and the one to Holland (#15). Probably the one to Burma (#23), too. The mission to Italy (Fury #30) would necessarily have happened before the Allies invaded Italy in Operation Torch, in late 1942. There were also a bunch of missions to occupied France, which would necessarily occur before D-Day as well.

Problem #2 is Eric Koenig. He joined in issue #35, during the mission to Greece. So presumably before D-Day. (If the the Greece story doesn't establish the time frame, his subsequent adventures up to and including his phony betrayal in issue #65 would certainly do so.) So where is he in issues #1-4? Where is Junior during all the stories with Eric? They should have overlapped, but they never appear together.

And where is Eric in Sgt. Fury Annual #1, in Korea? (Oh yeah! He wasn't invented yet!)

This is further complicated by Problem #3: Captain Savage. Savage was "The Skipper," a submarine commander who was the Howlers' taxi for numerous missions, including the one where Koenig joins the Howlers. But Captain Savage and His Leatherneck Raiders establishes that sometime during the war, Savage is transferred from sub duty in the Navy to the Marines (somehow). It also appears that he was transferred from the ETO to the Pacific.

I haven't read any of those issues for a long time, but if any of them establish a time frame, then any story with Savage as a sub commander would have to take place before that -- and presumably before Junior was killed. Every story that featured Savage driving a sub should probably have included Junior and Eric, but excluded Pinky, who didn't arrive until mid-1944 or later ... when Savage would have been in the Pacific.

I don't think Combat Kelly offers any serious problems. The only crossover character I remember is Happy Sam Sawyer, and his wartime career is pretty vague. Kelly doesn't even contradict the Atlas era Combat Kelly, who had a different first name (and fought in Korea). Maybe they're related, but they certainly don't contradict, WWII's Kelly is one of the few members of his squad to survive the final issue. (Maybe the only one.)

But the other stuff contradicts like mad.

So, really, we have to accept the obvious: Marvel was just making these stories up!

I never really thought too hard about any of this when I was younger, as I assembled my Sgt. Fury collection (I'm only missing the first three issues!) piecemeal over time. The Junior/Pinky thing never occurred to me, for example, because I wasn't aware that Pinky was technically Junior's replacement until I got issue #8, whenever that was. (And since it had Baron Zemo, it had to wait until I could afford it. Probably late '80s or early '90s.) Also, I didn't know as much about WWII then as I do now.

But now Jeff's introductory post has me ruminating about it.

But you know what bugged me about Sgt. Fury in those halcyon days? That nobody after Junior ever died. These guys would be standing in a hail of bullets, issue after issue, and never get touched. Meanwhile, all the Germans they shot at obediently fell over. After about 30 or 40 of these kinds of scenes, the suspension of disbelief becomes untenable.

So I welcomed Friedrich's later approach, where he would have new guys sign on as cannon fodder. That helped. Even if most of them didn't last more than a single issue.

This was sort of how Eisner handled the Blackhawks, from the few wartime reprints I've read. There was Blackhawk, and a couple of guys who would repeat, but all the other Blackhawks were all anonymous redshirts, who died as redshirts do. That approach aids my suspension of disbelief immeasurably.

Which, of course, evaporated when the Blackhawks became a static seven who never died. Oh well.

Captain Comics said:

So yeah, MiGs would fly south from airbases in China, and when it got too hot or they ran out of fuel, they'd skedaddle back to China where we couldn't follow, because the U.N. mandate that put us there didn't include China. Notwithstanding that we were fighting Chinese troops after October 1950 in Korea proper.

This is not unlike the North Vietnamese Army hiding in and invading from supposedly neutral Cambodia and Laos (“I could see Laos from my house”).

…. they accurately depicted how mobile the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals were, as they chased up and down the peninsula with the front line. Bug out!

Well, M*A*S*H did show supposed bug-outs, but one thing they did wrong jumps out at me. The people take long, luxurious showers. They don’t have any plumbing! You know how, in some restaurants, they have to load the ice into the top of the drink dispensers? That’s what a base with no plumbing has to do with shower water. A truck puts the water in the top of the shower structure and gravity takes its course. When it’s gone, it’s gone (and don’t drink any of it because it is likely unprocessed river water).

I completely agree with your continuity issues with the characters and time-line.

So, really, we have to accept the obvious: Marvel was just making these stories up!

No! Say it ain’t so!

But you know what bugged me about Sgt. Fury in those halcyon days? That nobody after Junior ever died. These guys would be standing in a hail of bullets, issue after issue, and never get touched. Meanwhile, all the Germans they shot at obediently fell over. After about 30 or 40 of these kinds of scenes, the suspension of disbelief becomes untenable.

The German soldiers were trained by the Imperial Stormtroopers Academy.

I'm a Sgt. Rock man, through and through, so I've never bothered to think about the continuity in Sgt. Fury (and I'm not going to start now).

About the continuity in Sgt. Rock, I've thought about it just enough to accept the broad strokes, and that's good enough for me.

ClarkKent_DC said:

I'm a Sgt. Rock man, through and through, so I've never bothered to think about the continuity in Sgt. Fury (and I'm not going to start now).

About the continuity in Sgt. Rock, I've thought about it just enough to accept the broad strokes, and that's good enough for me.

It probably won't serve me to talk about the Sgt. Fury/Sgt. Rock schism. Because it does seem there's almost no overlap between the two fandoms, and I am certainly not neutral. I started collecting Marvels in the mid-1960s, and started collecting DC superhero books in 1970, and didn't get around to non-superhero DCs until somewhat later. I can't tell you when I read my first Sgt. Rock, but it was probably after Sgt. Fury had been canceled.

So I had been reading Nick Fury for years, both in WWII and in S.H.I.E.L.D. for more than a decade before I first discovered Rock. And, the Li'l Capn didn't even make a comparison between the two. Fury and the Howlers were well defined personalities who were integrated in Marvel history over decades. Rock and his crew were one-note constructs that Robert Kanigher ran through the same hamster wheel issue after issue.

Aside from "Sgt." in the names, I didn't see Rock and Fury as being in the same category. Fury was fully integrated in the grand tapestry that was Marvel, whereas DC's war books didn't connect to the superhero stuff at all; they might as well have been published by a different company.

When Sgt. Rock finally met Batman in Brave and Bold, I found it preposterous. Their universes didn't mesh. Batman's world continuously progressed, whereas Rock's world was static. Batman had moved from Golden Age/Earth-Two to Silver Age/Earth-One; from sci-fi nonsense to "New Look" to O'Neil/Adams creature of the night, from Dick Grayson through three more Robins; from occasional JLA member to its irreplaceable strategist and tactician. Rock repeated the same story month after month, and only existed between D-Day and VE Day (a period of 11 months.)

Maybe the real issue is how quickly I tired of Robert Kanigher -- before I ever knew his name! The Li'l Capn would start to read a DC war book and instantly recognize all the hallmarks I hated from that guy who wrote Wonder Woman and Metal Men so badly.

Some of those hallmarks were swipes. One was the three-panel progression, which Kanigher would often repeat multiple times in a single story, to the point where it no longer had any impact and just looked like lazy writing/drawing. The young me didn't know that he stole that, and was just doing it badly, until the older me read Harvey Kurtzman's EC war books. Kurtzman virtually invented the three-panel progression, and when he used it -- sparingly -- it was so dramatic and affecting that you never forgot it. Kanigher used it willy-nilly, getting the form without understanding the function.

The upshot for me is that I don't consider Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury to be comparable characters. If you like Sgt. Rock, fine -- I like a lot of Rock stories, thanks to Joe Kubert or Russ Heath art. But he's a war character of limited parameters -- mainly limited to Kanigher's imagination, which never seemed to go any farther than giants, clams, robots and giant clam robots. And Sgt. Fury isn't, to me, a war character. He's a foundational figure in the Marvel Universe, like Captain America and Reed Richards. Until recently he was the bloody Watcher, which isn't a life path you can picture for Frank Rock.

But maybe I'm making excuses for my own preferences. But I do so in all honesty, throwing out my internal dialogue for you folks to make use of as you will.

But if anybody makes a Bulldozer-Dum Dum comparison, we're gonna have to rumble!

Captain Comics said:

Aside from "Sgt." in the names, I didn't see Rock and Fury as being in the same category. Fury was fully integrated in the grand tapestry that was Marvel, whereas DC's war books didn't connect to the superhero stuff at all; they might as well have been published by a different company.

Yep, as befitting DC's origins as a collection of comics companies under one roof, run by editors who ran their own fiefdoms and did particularly want to have "their" characters interact with somebody else's.

Captain Comics said:

And Sgt. Fury isn't, to me, a war character. He's a foundational figure in the Marvel Universe, like Captain America and Reed Richards..

And to me, that's what doesn't appeal, that Sgt. Fury is a superhero book disguised as a war comic. Or maybe I just don't like the characters and characterizations. That's what makes horse races.

Captain Comics said:

Until recently he was the bloody Watcher, which isn't a life path you can picture for Frank Rock.

This is the point where I say, "My head hurts."

And also, "I know I'm going to regret asking this, but  ... what are you talking about?"

Yeah, I've been backing off to listen to what others have to say, but, "Until recently?"

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2021   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service