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Friday, September 15, 2006

The Battle YOU Demanded! Gorilla Versus Nazi!

You know how you can tell you're about to read the single greatest war comic ever produced? When it has a title like this:

Yes, you read that correctly: Crashing into the pages of GI Combat #189 comes the Haunted Tank's most ridiculously aweosme adventure, courtesy of--who else?--ISB favorite Robert Kanigher and penciller Sam Glanzman, and despite the fact that it clocks in at a mere twelve pages, it might just be the best comic ever printed.

I won't lie, this particular post is going to be heavy on the pictures and light on commentary, but honestly? We're talking about a comic bok where a gorilla fights nazis alongside a haunted tank, and there's not a whole hell of a lot I can add to that. But I will make two promises here:

  1. At no time during tonight's update will I make a pun on "guerilla warfare."

  2. By the time I'm done, you will all be FREAKING OUT.

On with it!

Our story begins as Lt. Jeb Stuart and his crew roll into a small town in France, with the ghost of General Stuart taking a break from sipping phantasmal mint juleps long enough to let his namesake know they'll be picking up a passenger before the night's through. Said passenger?

Francois Le Grande, leader of our allies in Le Résistance De Gorille, a covert all-monkey strike force dedicated to battling Hitler's dreaded Affewaffe!

Actually, that's not true at all. Really, Francois is the star attraction of a local circus that the Haunted Tank stumbles across who has been specially triained to mock Der Führer in a sequence that probably wasn't such a good idea to perform in a tent where a gang of Nazis are secretly holding the crowd at gunpoint, a shocking revelation that provides us with another one of my favorite dialogue baloons:

Needless to say, they don't take too kindly to Francois' antics, and open fire on the crowd, leading to the inevitable circus-themed battle with Jeb Stuart's crew, during which our erstwhile tank commander comes up with the most sensible plan possible to defeat the Nazis...

...and turns the Ferris Wheel into a rotating iron engine of destruction.

Yeah, I'm gonna need to see that one more time.

Not since Bruce Lee battled Mr. Han in the hall of mirrors has there been so badass a use of a carnival ride.

Sadly, the Ringmaster of the circus is mortally wounded in the fray, and before he shuffles loose this mortal coil, makes Lt. Stuart promise that he'll get Francois safely to his brother in the next town over. And Jeb being the man of honor that he is, this means that the Haunted Tank now has its own gorilla.

Of course, hijinks of the Every Which Way But Loose variety quickly ensue, including a scene where Jeb stuffs Francois inside, crowding the crew until they shove him back up to the turret to hang out with Jeb, and a scene where Francois rips Jeb's machine-gun apart while he's keeping watch overnight.

Alas, the good times can't last forever, because it's page ten of a Bob Kanigher war comic, and that means it's time for the usual Ratzi Ambush! Thanks to a well-placed landminne, the Tank's crippled, Jeb's KOed, and there's only one soldier who can man the machinegun against an entire platoon of German soldiers advancing from a nearby river.

Prepare yourself. This is where it gets radical.

Francois the Gorilla grabs the machinegun, mows down the Nazis...

...and pulls the trigger until it goes "click."

But that's not all. Not by a long shot. Because once he's out of ammo, Francois Le Grande leaps out of the tank...



Never before and never since has there been a comic book panel so pure and beautiful as a mad gorilla beating the living hell out of a group of Nazis until he's the last one left standing.

Because Bob Kanigher. That's why.


Blogger Steven Hardina said...

If there is a Heaven, instead of God there will be a gorilla killing the fuck out of everything.

9/16/2006 2:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am now freaking out.

9/16/2006 3:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly Bob Kanigher has balls of purest adamantium...

9/16/2006 4:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Thank you for bringing this comic into our lives. And thank you, Bob Kanigher. You complete freak.

Oh, and I declare:
Francois Le Grande, leader of our allies in Le Résistance De Gorille, a covert all-monkey strike force dedicated to battling Hitler's dreaded Affewaffe!


9/16/2006 4:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep hoping that DC will do the right thing and bring back War Stories as an ongoing series. They've set the stage with the Showcase editions for Haunted Tank and the Unknown Soldier. Having revived the western, the cosmic stuff, and sword & sorcery, what else is left besides the war genre? I just love the idea of a series where one month you're reading a gritty story about the horrors of war, and the next month a gorilla is leading the French Resistance.

9/16/2006 4:51 AM

Blogger Brandon Bragg said...

Kanigher jas just replaced Haney as my favorite Bob.

God bless you, sir.

9/16/2006 5:14 AM

Blogger Brandon Bragg said...

You should totally have have a "Bob-Off" to see who's the craziest of the two.

9/16/2006 5:14 AM

Blogger Steven said...

Never mind the craziness of Kanigher (for now), I was just struck by how good Sam Glanzman's pencil work is.

Francois standing triumphant over a field of bodies he's broken is a powerful panel (I swear I saw that exact same shot in The Protector), but the panel of Jeb dropping grenades from a Ferris Wheel is a just plain beautiful.

Okay, back to freaking out. AHHHH, that gorilla just beat the holy hell out of those Nazis! Jesus, Kanigher, What the Fuck?!

9/16/2006 8:54 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

>>Francois Le Grande, leader of our allies in Le Résistance De Gorille, a covert all-monkey strike force dedicated to battling Hitler's dreaded Affewaffe!

I freaked out what I read this. I was disappointed when it was not true. Then I freaked out when I saw that Gorilla beat down those Nazis.

Hats off sir.

9/16/2006 9:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am now adrift in an ocean of Gorilla awesome.

9/16/2006 9:55 AM

Blogger SallyP said...

Sniff, sniff. Pauses and wipes away a tear. That was just...beautiful.

9/16/2006 10:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That... was awesome beyond words.

9/16/2006 10:19 AM

Blogger Kevin Church said...

Thank you. Thank you very much.

9/16/2006 10:20 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

This has inspired a haiku:

War! What is it good
for? Absolutely nothing
but Bob Kanigher.

9/16/2006 10:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing that could improve on this: If the gorilla joined the Justice Society - he could fight Hitler without worrying about the Spear of Destiny.

9/16/2006 11:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody really needs to send this comic to Grant Morrison. There might be time to get The Big Frank into 52.

9/16/2006 12:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely ape-tastic. I'm so moved, I immediately set out to get me a copy. To which purpose, I noted that it's actually issue #189, not #129 (as you have it here). Maybe you ought change it, just in case anyone else is out to purchase this work of genius.

In any case, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

9/16/2006 1:37 PM

Blogger Cullen Waters said...

There was a little hole in my soul that apparently needed to be filled by gorilla v. Nazi...

9/16/2006 2:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That, right there, is possibly the purest little moment of comic perfection it's ever been my pleasure to encounter.

I am, indeed, freaking out. Freaking out HARD.

Oh, and great blog, long-time reader first-time commentator, thanks, etc.

9/16/2006 8:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, I'm glad you could mine such rich comic gold from something I paid a buck for at Heroes Con.

And I hope you're saving the panel of Francois's imitation of Hitler for later. That may be too much to take all in one post.

9/16/2006 9:04 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Well-spotted, Martin. I was, of course, confusing it with Amazing Spider-Man #129, which contains the first appearance of another character named Frank that I enjoy quite a bit.

9/16/2006 10:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

chris: I remember one where the Nazis were apes. In like Star Spangled War or something. Me and my brother loved this kind of shit. Wasn't there a SuperApe also?

jeff ford

9/17/2006 8:16 AM

Blogger gorjus said...

This is the reason the ISB was created: "MONKEY VERSUS NAZIS--OMAC STYLE!"

That the sentence even makes SENSE is another sign that Chris Invincible is our Super Writer.

9/18/2006 3:06 PM

Blogger Devon Sanders said...


9/18/2006 3:23 PM

Blogger Michael said...

Who'd win, Francois Le Grande the Nazi-killing Gorilla of GI COMBAT, or the Nazi Gorillas of WEIRD WAR TALES?

Oh, and just because this seems to be a meme in the making, let me jump on with this Legion of Super-Heroes offering. It's as close as I can get to an armed gorilla, but at least he's got Brainiac 5's force field belt, that should count for something.

9/19/2006 1:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word balloons are always a plus--I actually like to see the title on the cover as well--or at least on the front page. I think somebody thought it would look cool to put the titles to all of the Infinite Crisis books on the last page.

9/23/2006 12:36 AM

Blogger Steve Lieber said...

This one needs to be collected along with Kanigher and Kubert's classic "You can't pin a medal on a gorilla." And maybe they could round the book out with Jeff Parker's lost classic Ape Company.

10/28/2007 9:55 PM


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