Tuesday, July 21, 2015

War Is Hell (But Necessary) 3

Chapter 3

In the late forties, the superheroes that had dominated American comics were disappearing and new, more adult genres were taking it's place. There were crime comics, romance comics and rough and gritty western books.
In 1949, they were joined by a new genre, horror comics. A clear devision was emerging between comics for kids and comics certainly not for kids. A devision that would mean it's downfall only a few years later.
Hank Chapman wrote for all these genres. His stories were well told and sometimes a bit dreamy. In one of his most famous horror stories, the writer of the story asks the editor if he can be released from the assignment, because he starts dreaming his own stories. Of course, the editor refuses and at the end of the story the writer is taken away by the monsters of his dreams. In later year, Stan Lee told this story as if it really happened - Hank Chapman had come to him and asked to be relieved of doing horror stories because they gave him nightmares. It could still be true and the inspiration for this story - but it could also be the other way around.

Chapman's second war story is another WWI story, illustrated by Gene Colan. On the second and third page we see him using newspaper headlines as a storytelling device, a sign of his mastery as a storytelling in my opinion, which I will return to later.


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