Monday, July 7, 2008
Sam Glanzman had already done some work in in the comic book industry when he entered the Navy, serving aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Stevens in the Pacific theater.
After the war, he eventually returned to doing comic books, working for Charlton, DC and Marvel. It was for DC Comics that he did his most memorable work, writing and drawing around 60 stories, mostly 4 or 5 pages long, about his war-time experiences.
The U.S.S. Stevens stories cover all the aspects of war-time service--the danger, the tension, the boredom and the absurdities. They are sharp, excellent vignettes that bring across a very intense and human sense of realism. One story was a comedy, about a fat guy who liked to stand in an open hatch with his shirt off to catch the breeze. Another was a tragedy, about three guys who snuck ashore for some unauthorized liberty, ignoring a warning that there still might be Japanese stragglers still wandering around. Still another is about the ship's first encounter with a kamikaze.
These stories appeared as back-up tales in just about all the DC war books from 1970 to 1977. They are yet another--and perhaps the best--example of the excellent quality of storytelling DC was hiding away in Our Army at War, G.I. Combat and Our Fighting Forces.