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Showcase Presents: The Haunted Tank, Vol. 1 Paperback – May 1, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4 Up–Cavalryman Jeb Stuart is a spotter for a small crew of men in an equally small M-3 tank during World War II. The tank's small-caliber cannon and short firing range make it an unlikely survivor against the enemy's heavier artillery, but through guile and unexpected warnings it is able to maneuver through a series of combat triumphs. The warnings come from the ghost of Jeb Stuart, a former general in the Rebel army and the namesake of the tank's spotter. The individual stories are a series of strategic mysteries: how to outwit superior firepower, how to find a ghost tank in a battlefield, how to signal to one's comrades that a spy has infiltrated their unit, and so forth. Despite the enigmatic clues provided by the guardian ghost, the odds never feel like they are unrealistically stacked, and the victories of the M-3's crew seem fairly won, and hard won, which creates a satisfying suspense. And while the prose is overcooked and the regular reintroduction of the ghost and the fact that only Jeb can see him gets tiresome, the detailed artwork is exceptionally good, with beautiful technical detail and lush, textured shadows. This reprint volume is likely to be better at providing dedicated readers with a fascinating view into a unique story conceit than at finding new readers and exposing them to a historical genre of comics gone by.–Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics; 1St Edition edition (May 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401207898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401207892
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Haunted Tank is one of the more bizarre concepts produced by DC Comics in the 1960's and serves to display that DC wasn't quite as stodgy as modern day critics have made them out to be during the decade of the 1960's. This belief largely stems from DC's super hero comics largely not matching the innovation that Marvel was showing with the genre at the time. It seems much of their innovation came in titles that may have seemed disposable at the time, and yet were not only very good, but had some of the very best art being produced at the company in the early 60's.

On the surface, the story of a WWII M3 Tank that is haunted by the ghost of Confederate Civil War General Jeb Stuart may seem ridiculous, and it is, but that doesn't mean it's not very good. We meet the crew of the tank: Rick, Arch, Slim, and the tank commander Jeb Stuart Smith who was named after the famous Confederate hero. Friends since childhood, the four now find themselves in Europe as crew of the tank which is aided in times of need by the good general's ghost. Only Jeb Smith ever seems to hear and see the ghost who comes to him with advice from time to time, often cryptic and Jeb takes it all in stride. After all, something had to help them stand up to German Tiger tanks that were far larger and out-gunned the little M3's.

The stories in the book follow a basic formula with the crew's M3 usually coming up against greater odds or obstacles and the spirit of Jeb Stuart helping out. The writer, Bob Kanigher was smart enough to not always let it be this spectral aid that gets the crew out of harm's way, often it's the little advice the ghost gives Jeb that allows he and his crew use their own skills to the best of their abilities.
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Format: Paperback
An M-3 Stuart Tank taking on Germans in the middle of Africa- nothing seem even close to "fair" when I write that, picturing a 37mm gun platform taking on 88mm weapons, diver bombers, Nazi youth, and droves of other enemies as the G.I.'s attack the Reich. Still, the little tank has a secret that the Nazi's didn't count on; the long-dead Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart looks over tank and crew (Rich - the gunner, Arch - the assistant, and Jeb - the tank commander) as a protectorate that time really hasn't forgotten.

To be fair, some people won't like the stories because some of them may seem a little dull by today's standards. All in all they are propaganda stories from the 60's and you already have an idea of what is going to happen in a story made By Americans Fro Americans. You can also understand why this depiction of the "little tank that could" would be written if you look at the "when" it occurred, too, but beyond that it has a lot of things that I found appealing. First, Joe Kurbert and Russ Heath both worked on the art, and the two of them were some of the best when it came to war depictions. Second, the storyline is an odd one considering what you're reading. You have a small tank, an M-3, being protected by the ghost of a Confederate as they try to plow a foothold into the ranks of some entrenched Nazis. This leads to quite a few offerings in the ways of battle, quite a few depictions in the way of assailants, and it also showcases a drove of storylines that aren't just "tank v Reich." You even get the initial two comics that explains it all, telling you why the crew is being watched over in a war that costs so many their lives.
Personally, I thought that was a great thing to have because I had seen a lot of the G.I.Combat stories but never this one.
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Format: Paperback
I was very surprised with just how much fun this collection was to read. The art is terrific, the stories are very well written and - even - inspiring - and the action never lags. This is the tale of a plucky little tank doing the best it can - aided by the ghost of a Civil War hero. Very early 60s, and lots of fun for those of us in our forties who played WWII all the time when we were kids.

I loved it! And, if you enjoy looking at pictures of German tanks getting their turrets blown off, so will you.
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Format: Paperback
Russ Heath lives! Heath is the greatest graphic combat artist of all time. His renderings of tanks, rifles and soldiers are almost photo realistic, but with an artist's touch. Especially satisfying are his facial renditions of combat troops; gaunt, disheveled and "staring 1,000 yards ahead".

There are some enjoyable "quirks", such as the mis-labeling of German Panther tanks as Tiger Is and the strange ability of the orignial Stuart Haunted Tank to knock out mighty Panthers and Tigers with its pathetic 37mm pop gun. The frequent aircraft vs. tank fights are another cheesily digestible goody. For the most part, Haunted Tank is eye candy with words and plot thrown in.

DC issued the Haunted Tank collections from the old G.I. Combat series in black and white because that's the only way to make these volumes affordable. I am grateful they have exposed new readers to Russ Heath's greatness. Another nice touch: DC reprinted in full size each cover to each issue. For some reason, TPB collections often lack the cover art or compile the covers at the end of the collection, rather than at the beginning of each issue. Heath illustrated Garth Ennis' Enemy Ace: War In Heaven as well as short runs on The Punisher, Iron Fist and the movie adaptation of The Rocketeer.

Hopefully, DC will crank out more Haunted Tank Showcase editions so we can enjoy Sam Glanzman's artwork, which is a combination of Joe Kubert and Russ Heath.

Heath is in his 80s now and I don't know if he's still capable of drawing. But if he is, I'd love to see more WWII work from him, especially paired with Garth Ennis.
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