Anyone who grew up on the Warren Magazines of the 70’s period knows of the main titles of Creepy, Eerie, Vampirilla and of course Famous Monsters of Filmland. The company actually did several other one shot titles or short run titles, many going back into the mid-sixties (like Screen Thrills Illustrated and Spacmen). I now have many of these in digital format and will share some samples from some of these more obscure Warren titles of now and then. I will sometimes be offering a Rapidshare link as well for people who may want to check out the books more thoroughly. Such will be the case with this post’s feature mags, Warren’s much sought after four issue run of Blazing Combat.
Blazing Combat ran from October 1965 to July 1966. Each issue was 64 pages in size and cost a whopping .35 cents. The books were patterned after the EC titles Frontline Combat and Two-Fisted Tales, created by Harvey Kurtzmen and contained stories that often emphasized the horrors of war over the glories. Not to say, in my opinion, that the war comics by DC or Marvel glorified war but I do think some of those comics had “heroes” in the form of characters like Sgt. Rock and Jeb Stuart and to some degree Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos, though the Nick Fury Stories were basically “superhero” stories really. The Warren stories were one shot stories without a recurring character or theme. The stories were war stories but the wars were from various periods of history and few really focused on the then escalating Vietnam conflict. But the magazine’s anti-war stance during this period may have sealed its early demise as sales declined to a point where the book was losing money. Distributers were refusing to even stack the magazine and finally publisher James Warren had to make the decision to pull the plug on the boo after only four issues. But what a great four issue run it was. All with spectacular covers by Frank Frazetta and interior art by some of the great action artiists of all time: Russ Heath, John Severin, Reed Crandell, Al Williamson and Gene Colan. The stories were all (except for one) written by Archie Goodwin.
I actually owned all of these in two different forms. I got them first time mail order from the back of some Warren Magazine and after those were lost I found them all again in a comic store in Seattle and picked them all up again. I later gave them away, with my entire comic book collection, when I left the US for China. By that time, to be honest, I just was not into collecting and hording comic books. Yu can’t be a vagabond and lug thousands of comic books and LPs around with you I found. While seeing the books in digital format is not like seeing the “real thing” (some debate over constitutes a real thing, but there is still nothing like touching and smelling paper to me) this is the next best thing and these books are only getting more obscure and hard to find and afford. I am posting the four fantastic Frazetta covers, a sample story by the super talented Russ Heath and a Rapidshare to my RS account where you can download all four issues in their entirety. There will, as I said, more features like this with comic books and magazines and I think there is no better way to start of this feature than with this simply spectacular magazine from Warren Publishing.