After its success replicating the classic ec horror comics
a decade after their demise, the publisher of the black-and-white horror magazine Creepy followed the same formula in 1965 with a publication that emulated EC’s ahead-of-their-time war comics. Like Creepy, Blazing Combat was drawn by many EC veterans, including Wally Wood, John Severin, and Joe Orlando, as well as such talented artists as alex toth
and gene colan
. Scripter Archie Goodwin followed the EC model by eschewing the typical gung-ho, Sgt. Rock approach in favor of a generally antiwar tone and penning stories embracing historic conflicts from the American Revolution and Civil War to the then-current Vietnam War. It was that contemporary touch that led to the title’s undoing. A story in the second issue, told from the viewpoint of a peasant rice farmer whose village was occupied by the Vietcong and then destroyed in an American counterattack, induced wholesalers to reject the magazine and the military to banish it from PXs. Nevertheless, Blazing Combat’s four issues constitute a high-water mark of the war-comics genre. --Gordon Flagg
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This book is why Fantagraphics is one of the best and most important comic publishers in the business today. ... This is a brilliant collection of stories that should be required reading. Intelligent, gripping stories and fantastic art! Grade: A +. (Tim Janson -
For lovers of great art, lovingly rendered in black and white and gray ink wash..., this is as good as it gets... This is one collection of war comics that even those not inclined to care about the genre can appreciate, and now it’s more affordable than ever. (Johnny Bacardi -
[T]he artistry on display is… mind-boggling, particularly in the case of Crandall, Heath and Severin… The creators clearly had a real love for this kind of material, so much so that I wish things had tipped slightly in their favor a bit more. (Chris Mautner -
Robot 6 )
I think it's healthy for adolescent boys to have access to well-written, well-drawn comics about war, as long as the comics in question constantly pound home the message that war is futile, stupid and contemptible. (Douglas Wolk -
[A]n amazing collection of… stories… written by the outstanding Archie Goodwin… throw in some of the most amazing art, all of it sharply and expertly reproduced, and you’ve got some real dynamite here. ... And there’s fantastic bonus features. (Tom McLean -
Bags and Boards )
[A]mong the high points of 1960s comics, and this handsome collection is one of the most welcome reprint volumes of the last few years. (Robert Martin -
The Comics Journal )
Like many of the best reprint projects... this republication of the four-issue Warren war magazine features work that you can’t easily buy anywhere else, is historically significant and offers its buyers a lot of very good comics...
Blazing Combat is simply a handsome, well-presented selection of very good comics that for having them around we’re all a bit richer as comics readers. I’m glad it’s here. (Tom Spurgeon -
The Comics Reporter )
[One of] the… best collections of 2009…, bringing all the issues of Warren magazine's short-lived war comic under one cover, written (mostly) by Archie Goodwin and drawn by some of the finest artists of the '60s… (Steven Grant -
Comic Book Resources )
There was a time when War Comics told War Fact. They showed us the blood, death, camaraderie and horror. [
Blazing Combat] did just that and didn’t hold back. (Chris Marshall -
Forbidden Planet International )
Probably the best war comic ever published. (Richard Arndt, comic book historian )
Nominated for a 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award: the legendary anti-war comic. Written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by such luminaries as Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood, John Severin, alex toth, Al Williamson, Russ Heath, Reed Crandall, and gene colan,
Blazing Combat was originally published by independent comics publisher James Warren in 1965 and ’66. Following in the tradition of Harvey Kurtzman’s
Two-Fisted Tales and
Frontline Combat, Goodwin’s stories reflected the human realities and personal costs of war rather than exploiting the clichés of the traditional men’s adventure genre. They were among the best comics stories about war ever published.
Blazing Combat ended after its fourth issue when military post exchanges refused to sell the title due to their perception that it was an anti-war comic. Their hostility was fueled by the depiction of the then-current Vietnam War, especially a story entitled “Landscape,” which follows the thoughts of a simple Vietnamese peasant rice-farmer who pays the ultimate price simply for living where he does—and which was considered anti-war agit-prop by the more hawkish members of the business community.
Writer Archie Goodwin and the original publisher James Warren discuss the death of
Blazing Combat and market censorship as well as the creative gestation of the series in exclusive interviews.
Nominated for a 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award: (Best Archival Collection/Project: Comic Books). 200 pages of black-and-white comics plus 4 full-page color cover reproductions
About the Author
Archie Goodwin was an important comic book writer and editor for EC, DC, Marvel, and others. He was born in 1937 and died in 1998.