Saturday, July 25, 2015

War Is Hell (But Necessary) 7

 Chapter 7

Yesterday I looked in some more detail at the story Truck Convoy. What this story shows, is not only Chapman's grim pessimism about the war. It is also extremely well told. I don't know if Chapman saw or read Harvey Kurtzman's war comics. But his use of sequential panels with little more than sound effects is similar and disproves the numerous claims that this device as unique to Kurtzman and that he was the only one using it. Of course, one could try to argue that it was not Chapman doing this, the he was merely the writer. Harvey Kurtzman sketched his lay-out and his artists followed them meticuously. Hank Chapman merely worked with a typewriter.

He did this sort of tiers with Joe Maneely.

Russ Heath.

George Tuska.

Werner Roth.

Joe Sinnott.

Paul Reinman.

Robert Sale.

Dave Berg.

Bernie Krigstein.

Syd Shores.

 Sam Kweskin.

And (probably) Mort Meskin.

If you follow the link you will find more from each of these artists.


Doccomix said...

Hank Chapman is a 50s war writer second only to the great Harvey Kurtzman himself, in my opinion. However I would be shocked to discover that he didn't study Kurtzman's war comics extensively, Ger. There are simply too many similarities (sound effects, cinematic panel sequences, realistic downbeat scripts, etc.) to be mere coincidence. He learned from the master.

Best wishes,

Michael T.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Because of my holidays I have npt had the chance to look at the dates, but it seems at least possible that he picked up the silent sequential panel trick from Kurtzman (at the same time Stan Lee did, by the way). But have a look at my second week of posts, where I will be trying to put this into a greater framework of Chapman using an omnipresent narator as a way of allowing all sorts of stroytelling tricks, including some he did not take from Kurtzman. After looking at asll of Chapman's stories from this period I have to conclude that Chapman's talent was all his own and that it came from a gret need to tell these stories (and disappeared as soon as that need was no longer there). Kurtzman's stories have always felt a bit muted to me, as if his artistry was secondary to his commitment (or his reluctance to offend). And Chapman did it all with his typewriter, not with sketches. To come up with or recognize so many great visual storytelling devices behind a typewriter makes him a true talent to me. Now understand me, I am not saying he is a greater talent than Kurtzman, who also dod Hey Look in the forties, created Mad and did many more great and inventive st==things through his career. But for one year in Chapman's career he was everything you would want a comic writer to be.