Tag Archives: Robert Kanigher

World’s Finest 64 – King Faraday guests, and Wyoming Kid ends

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Wow that extremely modern sign looks so old and awful.  But the narrow buildings on the cover of World’s Finest 64 (May/June 1953) remain cool.

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The King Faraday story in this issue, by Robert Kanigher, Carmine Infantino and Sy Barry, was intended for the character’s own book, Danger Trail.  But that was abruptly cancelled. This story sat in the files for a couple of years before being printed here.

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I’m glad they did.  It’s one of the best King Faraday stories, and has been reprinted a few times.  A Cold War thriller, with Faraday riding the Orient Express to try to find a rival spy carrying secret plans for a new weapon.  There is an artist who befriends him, and an actress who toys with him.

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A really solid balance of mystery and action, but it did little for the character.  There was a Showcase issue int he late 60s which reprinted this, under the name I – Spy, but Faraday did not get any mileage out of that, and his next appearance was in Showcase 100 in the late 70s.

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The Wyoming Kid’s series comes to an end in this issue, with a somewhat annoying story about a boy who hero worships the Kid, and the troubles that causes.  Gardner Fox, Howard Sherman and Bruno Premani are the creative team.

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A renegade Apache believes he is being lied to and set up when the boy tells him his father is a friend of the Kid.  The misunderstandings multiply to almost bring a war between the Apache and the whites.

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The Wyoming Kid prevails on calmer minds, and the Apache join the hunt against their own renegade.  The tale ends as the boy’s father and Wyoming Kid really do become friends.

The Wyoming Kid continues to appear in Western Comics.

All American Men of War 117 – Johnny Cloud ends, as does All American Men of War

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Johnny Cloud stars in the final issue of All American Men of War, issue 117 (Sept/Oct 66).

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Kanigher and Novick conclude Johnny Cloud’s run with a story that has him fighting against a rival family.  Many years earlier, Standing Bear challenged Johnny’s father for leadership of the tribe.  Standing Bear lost, and left in disgrace, with his son, Wolf Fang, vowing revenge.  When Wolf Fang learned that Johnny had joined the military, he went and joined the Nazis, to become a flyer, in hopes of facing off against him.

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And that is what comes to pass in this story.  Wolf Fang’s desire for personal vengeance overrides any strategic concerns.  Wolf Fang shoots down another Nazi pilot who is about to kill Johnny, just to that Wolf Fang can get him himself.

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Both Johnny and Wolf Fang wind up crashing into the ocean, and Wolf Fang drowns.

Not a bad story to finish off the run on.

Johnny Cloud appears next the following month, guest-starring in a Haunted Tank story in G.I. Combat.

While All American Men of War never gets revived, a different book, simply called Men of War, would launch in the mid-70s.

All American Men of War 116 – Steve Savage, Balloon Buster ends

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Steve Savage, Balloon Buster comes to an end in All American Men of War 116 (July/Aug 66).

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Kanigher and Heath conclude his short run with a story not too different from his earlier ones.  As always, the major is upset with Steve, this time for crashing his plane.  So he does the calm and rational thing and steals the major’s plane.

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Steve also finds a new girlfriend, Mimi.  No word on what happened to the last girl he was seeing, but perhaps her brother’s death killed the mood.

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Steve decides to take Mimi for a flight, because there is no chance of danger in the middle of a war zone.  Steve gets attacked by a German flyer, the Executioner.  The man is well-named.  He kills Mimi while they are in the air.  Steve kills the Executioner, but it’s hardly a triumphant ending.

On the other hand, as it turned out to be the final issue of his run, it does make a strong conclusion for his series.

Balloon Buster returns about ten years down the road, in the pages of Star Spangled War Stories, pitted against Enemy Ace.

 

All American Men of War 115 – Johnny Cloud returns

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Johnny Cloud returns to the pages of All American Men of War with a Kanigher and Novick story in issue 115 (May/June 1966).

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Running Deer has become a nurse, and is stationed close enough to Cloud that they can carry on a hot romance when he is not off flying missions.  They spend some time in a bombed out London in this story.  But this is also Running Deer’s final appearance.  Considering how long they have cared for each other, despite time and distance, I think that Running Deer likely perished in the blitz of London, rather than the two just parting ways.

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But the story is not all romance.  Tex gets shot down and wounded.  Johnny comes across him as he heads back to base, rescues his friend and kills the invading Nazi.

 

 

All American Men of War 114 – Balloon Buster vs the Undertaker

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Kanigher is joined by Joe Kubert for Steve Savage’s tale in All American Men of War 114 (March/April 1966).

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The Balloon Buster is pitted against a German flyer called the Undertaker in this issue.  Once again he falls afoul of Major Michaels, as he is blamed for leading two German planes towards their base, even though he shoots both of them down.  And once again General Talbot overrules the major because of Savage’s fighting skill.

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Savage even finds a girl who is interested in him, likely because she does not hear him screaming “I’m the gun!” over and over.  She is the sister of a French flyer, who becomes friends with Steve.

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The story culminates with Steve on the wing of the French flyer’s plane, as they pursue the Undertaker.  The Frenchman gets shot, and Steve winds up having to fly the plane with the corpse still in the cockpit, but manages to shoot down the Undertaker and land his plane safely.

All American Men of War 113 – Steve Savage just won’t listen

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Steve Savage, the Balloon Buster, gets a cowboy hat in his second outing, in All American Men of War 113 (Jan/Feb 66), which adds to the renegade feel of the character.

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Aside from that, the story, by Kanigher and Heath, is very similar to the first one.  The major difference is that he gets a specific German foe, Von Sturm, who challenges him to a dogfight.  Steve gets grounded for disobeying orders, and another pilot gets shot down by Von Sturm.

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Furious, Steve yet again ignores the major, and takes to the air.  The art on the climactic dogfight is excellent.

All American Men of War 112 – Steve Savage – Balloon Buster debuts

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Lt. Steve Savage, the Balloon Buster, abruptly ousts Johnny Cloud from All American Men of War 112 (Nov/Dec 65).  The Navajo Ace would return, and I do not think his series was meant to be dropped completely.

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Set during World War I, the debut tale, by Kanigher and Russ Heath, opens earlier that that, as we meet the young Steve Savage. He is a crack shot, but a tad psychotic, repeatedly chanting “I am the gun!”

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After his father’s death Steve joins the army.  Although he is an excellent shot, he is not much of a flyer, not is he very good at taking orders.  His poor background is mocked by the other soldiers, as are his rough hewn ways.

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His first time out sees him disobey orders to go after the deadly German balloons, and he brings a few down, as well as a number of German planes.  But two of his fellow pilots die, and Steve disobeys direct orders on the mission.

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While his direct superior wants to court-martial him, a watching general insists he be rewarded.

There is something that feels off about this man. As in, mentally unbalanced.  But that actually makes the series stand out, rather than being a drawback.