The grim geometry of death – It Really Happened #3, 1944


I’ve been interested in the American Civil War for most of my life; it’s not possible for things to have been any other way, being as I’ve been reading military history since I was around 10 or 11 years old and I live within a short drive of four or five major Civil War sites. But I didn’t dive whole hog into Civil War studies until I was in my late thirties. That was when I realized I was about the same age as the typical Civil War brigadier general, and it was also around that time when I became interested in the practical aspects of ACW brigade command (troop movement, terrain, morale) as well as in the operational level of command (how a campaign is planned and fought throughout a theater of war). More


Amelia Earhart – It Really Happened #5, October 1946


In a time when very few people had flown in a plane, much less piloted one, being known as “an aviator” actually meant something. There was a certain dash, a panache, connected to the term “aviator”; it conjured thoughts of a daring, reckless character who was able to journey to mysterious, far off lands at the drop of a hat. Very few people in those days could lay claim to the appellation, and even in that rarefied company, Amelia Earhart was something special. Prior to the Second World War, women were expected to be homemakers or, if they worked outside the home, the options were essentially limited to secretary, nurse, telephone operator, or what we today would call “customer service”. But Earhart dared to be something more, a pilot who roamed the world, and became (along with Lindbergh, Post, and Rickenbacker) one of the four most famous aviators in America.

Then, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, Earhart vanished without a trace over the Pacific Ocean. More

Here, take a hit – of justice! – Exciting Comics #9, May 1941


America seems always to have had this weird, convoluted, conflicted, love-hate relationship with drugs, which seems to be odder now than ever before; we tell our youth that drugs are “bad”, yet allow multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies to run advertising campaigns around the clock on television for drugs with happy-sounding made up names (which all seem to end with the letter “a”). It’s small wonder that people can become so confused when drugs are concerned. The whole situation seems like a batch of Effluvia to me. More

Paying attention to The Grim Reaper


If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you already know that I’m a tremendous fan of Golden Age comic books, particularly “mystery men” books published from the late 1930’s into the war years. I often recommend them to my comic fan friends, who frequently dismiss them (without ever reading one) with comments like, “They were for kiddies!”, “The art is terrible”, or “They’re too simplistic.” It’s always suspect to make blanket comments such as those. While some war era comics definitely fall into one or more of those categories, one certainly can’t make those statements about all of them, not by a longshot. I’ve already popped holes in the first two of those balloons in previous posts (using the art of the “Pat Patriot” features and the rich, twisted, and very adult subtexts of Charles Biro’s work on “Daredevil” as examples). Today I’d like to tackle the “simplistic” criticism by citing The Grim Reaper’s second appearance, the cover feature from May 1944’s Wonder Comics #1 (published by Great Comics Publications, usually classified today as part of the Nedor “family” of comics). More