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Blazing Combat Hardcover – April 29, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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


“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 - Popdose)

“With people like Wood, Toth, and Heath involved, I knew the art would be fantastic in Blazing Combat, but I’ve been surprised at the quality of Archie Goodwin’s writing...it’s much more satisfying than expected.” (Timothy Hodler - Robot 6)

“[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)

“[O]nce again, I’m engaged in Blazing Combat. What a thrill! And the art!... Highly recommended. Don’t argue! Just buy it!” (David McDonnell - Starlog)

“Although the subject matter is bleak, the presentation it’s been given is beautiful. This is as good as war comics get.” (Rob Lott - Bookgasm)

Blazing Combat’s...issues constitute a high-water mark of the war-comics genre.” (Gordon Flagg - Booklist)

“[F]eatures a collection of some of the most beautiful black and white comic art you have ever seen... It also features interviews and some of the most beautiful printing I have seen. Honestly, put down those monthly comics for a week and buy something you will enjoy a lifetime. From cover to cover, this book is what keeps me in comics.” (Jimmy Palmiotti - Newsarama)

“Anybody who wants to read great great comics, war stories, or a superb tutorial in short form comics writing and unsurpassed comics illustration needs to read this one.” (Michael C. Lorah - Newsarama)

“Packed with gloriously miserable... war stories covering everything from the battle of Thermopylae to Vietnam... all beautifully captured by comics legends like Archie Goodwin, Alex Toth, Joe Orlando, and Gene Colan in appropriately murky grays... Fantagraphics has slapped together a nice, hefty... hardbound collection that's worth a read, whether you're a comic nerd, war buff, one-legged veteran, or one of those snooty I-only-read-graphic-novels types.” (Jonah Spangenthal-Lee - The Stranger)

“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 - TIME/Techland)

“[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)

Blazing Combat, a new hardcover collection from Fantagraphics, showcases some truly fantastic work from a multitude of comics greats... The collection itself is sharp as a tack... Fantagraphics really packages it nicely.” (Litany of Schist)

“Adam Grano’s bold design cover design is the perfect complement to Fantagraphics’ comprehensive collection... with a stellar team of artists that included Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood, John Severin, Alex Toth, Al Williamson, Russ Heath, Reed Crandall, and Gene Colan. It’s remarkable how little these stories have aged, as many cover thematic ground that resonates to this day.... Even the more straightforward “war comics” that are presented in this volume have an unusual gravitas that fits naturally over the proceedings, making the stories collected stand out, and the interviews with Archie Goodwin and Jim Warren provide an in-depth and fascinating look at the pressures that the controversial comic magazine faced.” (Kevin Church - BeaucoupKevin.com)

“This collection of the 1965-66 Blazing Combat war comic magazine is a stellar publication... It's a master class on how to tell a short story, and I highly recommend checking it out.” (Sandy Bilus - I Love Rob Liefeld)

Blazing Combat reprints all 4 issues of the ground-breaking war series... These are fascinating stories... drawn by some of the top talent in comics... [who] did some of their finest works for this short-lived publication. This new package from Fantagraphics Books is a handsome hardcover... the design work is A+, this time by Adam Grano.” (Gary Sassaman - Innocent Bystander)

“[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)

“Poignant and tragic, inspiring and depressing, Blazing Combat give an insightful glimpse into the bloody battles that have plagued this world.” (Marc Mason - Comics Waiting Room)

“Each panel is a stunning work of art, beautifully preserved on heavy paper. Just as relevant as when they were first published, the stories should still draw an emotional reaction.” (Rachelle Goguen - The Coast (Halifax))

“This is a wonderful and necessary collection of Archie Goodwin's 1960s attempt at Warren to replicate the best of the war-focused EC comics of the previous decade. Beautifully designed and all-in-one, too.” (Tom Spurgeon - The Comics Reporter)

Blazing Combat collects the entire run in a beautiful, incredibly well-bound hardcover book... The stories' tone is very 1960s, ironic with a cynicism stemming from brokenhearted humanism.” (Carol Borden - The Cultural Gutter)

“[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)

“Astounding...The art is reproduced from 'the original printer’s films,' so the work is clear and detailed, with the washes and shading providing depth and a feeling of realism...The stories are still timely.” (Johanna Draper Carlson - Comics Worth Reading)

“These are awesome comics, collected in one hardcover edition... Fantagraphics have done us a big favor by reprinting them all.” (The Comic Book Haters)

“Just finished reading and cannot recommend enough the new Fantagraphics release Blazing Combat.” (This Is Why I Hate You)

“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)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (April 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560979658
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560979654
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,140,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Diego Cordoba on May 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After waiting for more than a year for this book to come out, it finally arrived. I won't go into the details of how the original Blazing Combat magazine came to be (you can do so by reading the introduction and interviews included within), just bear in mind that between the covers of this book you'll be reading some of the best war stories ever (second only to Harvey Kurtzman's war titles for EC) and viewing the best comic book art ever (from some veteran EC artists and some newer ones like Gray Morrow, Gene Colan, Russ Heath and Alex Toth).

Okay, let's get on with the book itself. Fantagraphics has done a great job as usual. I actually prefer the sturdy mat paper Fantagraphics has used as opposed to the glossy paper Dark Horse used for their Creepy and Eerie reprints. There is no glare on the pages from your source of light and contrary from what you may think, the paper is actually heavy and sturdy and a million times better than the pulp paper used for the original comic. The reproduction is pristine clear, especially concerning the duo-tone and dot screen patterns that most of the artists used at the time. A special treat is of course Russ Heath's Give and take, which is probably the best use ever given to a duo-tone board (and the artwork itself will just blow you away). There are some interesting interviews with Jim Warren, the publisher, and Archie Goodwin, the editor and writer of most of the stories. And even if the series was done in the mid 60s, most of the stories still hold up to date. And the artwork is just the best that there ever was. Most fans, critics, etc. believe that the art in EC comics were the best ever, but to me, all those artists really came around and did their best work in the 60s and early 70s, mostly for the Warren magazines.
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Format: Hardcover
As someone who's not a comics buff, I'd never heard of Blazing Combat until I stumbled across this book's arresting pop art cover in the library. Since I like graphic storytelling and military history, I picked it up and took it home. If you're familiar with the four original comic books (or rather "magazines," as this title was published) which appeared over the course of ten months in 1965-66, then you know what to expect. If you never saw those, then you're in for a treat, 'cause here are unsanitized stories of war from throughout (mostly) American history. In the interviews with the original writer and publisher that appear at the end of the book, they both cite Harvey Kurtzman's 1950s war comics as the primary influence on Blazing Combat. The concept was not to be anti-war (as many have accused the stories of being), but to represent the reality of war -- mainly illustrating the adage that "war is hell."

The 29 stories do so, ranging from the American Revolution through the Vietnam War that was just starting to heat up during the time the stories were originally published. Each tends to focus on a lone soldier and his own struggle to survive and cling to humanity, or in some cases, turn away from it. Some do tell "heroic" or inspiring stories, such as the Battle of Britain, or the amazing career of World War I Canadian ace Billy Bishop (72 confirmed kills!), but others show the darker side of war, such as a WWII G.I. prying gold fillings from dead bodies in the Pacific theater, or the terror of fresh troops.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This volume collects Warrens 4 issue, short lived war comics series. This was the brainchild of Archie Goodwin as he penned the majority of stories. It was an easy transition to get the horror artists from Creepy & Eerie to switch to combat mode and the majority of these stories really hit the target. War is hell and Warren was extremely truthful in their story presentations. The opening book cover depicts an American GI chomping on his cigar while he's bayonetting a German soldier. This book is not Sgt. Rock! With contributions from an all star line up of artists, this book is a must have for any graphic art fan. I found that some of these stories could have been presented in one of the Warren horror magazines. An example would be the story "Souvenirs". I just knew from the title that the story was going to be nasty. This story confuses heroism for darker and ghastly qualities that can be found in soldiers during war. Yet, history proves that this was true. I won't reveal too much more on this but this archive provides a lot of bang for the buck. Buy it today!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everyone`s missing the point on every other review! The 4 covers by Frank Frazetta, especially with the Warren Magazine Logos and Layouts, are Beautiful! [ as are all Frazetta Covers - with Warren Artwork Surrounding Them, Especially! They must have had one hell of an Art Dept. Just the faultless Color choices for Creepy Logos and headlines were Always so Enhancing!]...Not that these aren`t great comics, but did you know that THE SOFTCOVER EDITION HAS A FULL PAGE REPRODUCTION OF EACH ORIGINAL COVER!?!?!? - the hardcover edition does NOT! I had seen the hardcover edition at the bookstore, and found the covers reproduced in the back, like 4 little covers on one page! I thought: "Well, if that`s the best I can get them...O.K." Because they`re so hard to find and some of my favorites! So, I ordered a paperback copy from Amazon, and my mind was totally Blown to see each Amazing Cover Beautifully Reproduced on It`s Own Full Page from Mint Copies of the Very Magazines themselves! Fantagraphic Press has got to be thanked, congratulated, and commended on their color and detail accuracy, and tonal quality! Dark Horse, the careless new owner of the rights to publish the [formerly fascinating] Warren titles of Creepy, etc... is fiddling about with the layouts,colors, the darks and lights, and the logos and headlines, to dreadfully disappointing effect. Over and underexposing at will, cutting corners and sides off, OH! It`s just awful! Plus they`ve added about a quarter inch of space at the top of each cover, and that totally throws off the balance that is so important to "visual comfort". [Graphic Arts 101- where the heck did these Dark Horse "Artists" get their training?].Read more ›
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