Blazing Combat #2, January 1966

Blazing Combat was a different kind of war mag. It wasn’t so much war-themed as anti-war themed. Editor and writer Archie Goodwin used the freedom of the non-comics code black & white format to tell stories that rammed home the horrors of war. He was matched every step of the way by a truly stellar array of artistic collaborators: Reed Crandall, Alex Toth, John Severin, Russ Heath, George Evans, Gray Morrow… And all topped off by a series of magnificent covers by Frank Frazetta.

These images — just four of them sadly — are powerful, presenting war at its most brutal. While Sgt Rock and Sgt Fury comics at that time still showed war as Boys Own adventure, full of plucky heroes shrugging off flesh wounds and torn shirts to defeat the black-hatted bad guys almost unscathed, Blazing Combat‘s covers showed miserable, dirt-encrusted soldiers dying on hellish battlefields. That these comics proved less than popular with the powers that be is perhaps not surprising…

Image copyright ©2010 J. Michael Catron