Showcase Presents: The Haunted Tank VOL 01 Paperback – May 1 2006
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
and trade paperbacks. Imagine, 500+ pages of comic goodness for about the cost of four issues off the stands. Sure these
are printed in black and white but who cares, we're readers first right? I have a half dozen of these SHOWCASE PRESENTS
bound volumes and will continue to buy more. First rate idea DC, keep'em coming.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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. This may all seem pretty silly by today's standards but when you consider the era of the early 1960's, WWII was very glamorous among kids, particularly since most were children of veterans themselves. These stories from G.I. Combat #87 - 119 all came out 15 - 20 years after WWII ended yet the war was still very front and center in pop culture in films, TV, and comic books. And if you're the average early 60's kid, what's better than combining slam bang tank battles with ghosts? Heck, it's marketing genius if you ask me!
The other thing that makes these stories wonderful is the fantastic art mainly done by Russ Heath and Joe Kubert...two renowned comic legends who toiled away on what was certainly a second or third string title. I'm a huge Kubert fan, particularly of his Tarzan work, but Heath really outdoes him on this book, especially the magnificent covers which are reproduced inside. Check out the cover to issue #103 as American jeep collides with a German tank. The tank's main gun is smashing through the jeep's windshield as the American soldiers leaps from it, firing his machine gun at the Nazi gunner. Great stuff! In addition to these issues of G.I. Combat, the book also reprints Brave & the Bold #52 featuring a team-up of the Haunted Tank, Sgt. Rock, and Lt. Johnny Cloud.
Just a fabulous throwback to the early 1960's!
Reviewed by Tim Janson
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.
While I'm not going to list all the stories in the books, I'll add that the stories come from G.I.Combat #87 - G.I.Combat #119 AND that there are crossovers from Sgt. Rock, Johnny Cloud, and an appearance from Our Army At War. This means there are well over 500 pages of story added to the book and, for fans of the series or for fans of art that seems to have been place on the backburners of time, this is something worth having.
And, at the price, it is a good way to rekindle a love once harbored.
I loved it! And, if you enjoy looking at pictures of German tanks getting their turrets blown off, so will you.
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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