DC War Keys: The Big Boys (and Girls)

by Daniel Hatch

 

DC-War-Keys-300x157 DC War Keys: The Big Boys (and Girls)Today we are going to take a look at the first appearances of SGT Rock, Mlle. Marie and the Haunted Tank. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dig right into these big DC War keys.

Our Army at War #83 is accepted as the first appearance of SGT Frank Rock. I say accepted because there were several Rock prototypes in 1959, so there was some debate about the true first appearance. These appeared in G.I. Combat #68, Our Army at War #81, and also in #82. On a personal note, Rock was really my first love in comics. I subscribed to his title in the early 1980s. When I found those issues, still in the brown paper wrapper they were mailed in (despite numerous readings by me), in the 2000s, I sold them on eBay as a lot. It seems my interest in comics as an adult was fired up almost instantly after selling those issues. (Sigh).

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The Rock of Easy

OAAW #83 has GoCollect FMV of $1950 in 4.0. These don’t sell very often and a quick glance at the FMV table reveals this. Both the 4.5 and the 5.0 show an FMV of $2600. Heritage Auctions sold a 7.0 for $14,400 in January 2021, so this book can command big money. I have a copy of OAAW #84 in low grade. This represents the 2nd appearance of Rock. I am currently waiting for the book to come back from CGC.

Introducing Mlle. Marie

1959 was a banner year for DC War characters. Shortly after Rock’s first appearance in June, DC did it again by introducing Mlle. Marie that August in Star Spangled War Stories #84. Marie is a fighter in the French resistance and her character was based on several real-life women who were part of the resistance. She crosses paths with SGT Rock and also with a British SAS agent (and future butler) named Alfred Pennyworth. The product of that union is Julia Pennyworth, whom I speculated might take over the mantle of her late father in serving Batman. (I was wrong).

SSWS #84 has a GoCollect FMV of $500 in 4.0, though the last sale was a year ago. There are fewer than 100 copies in the CGC census.

Ghosts and the Modern Tank Crew

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The Haunted Tank rolled across the nine-panel page for the first time in May of 1961 in G.I. Combat #87. The story follows a tank crew (of an M3 Stuart light tank – named for Confederate general Jeb Stuart). The tank is “haunted” by the spirit of the long-dead cavalry commander who communes with the tank commander, Lt. Jeb Stuart. The rest of the four-man crew cannot see or hear the ghost, however, so they are left thinking that their leader is crazy. The tank and its crew are a fan favorite. Time will tell if the link to a Confederate general will hurt the value of this book.

GoCollect has a 5.0 FMV of $425, which has been remarkably consistent for years. I am curious to know your thoughts on The Haunted Tank. Is this a book to avoid? The latest Overstreet Guide ranks it as the #3 War Book behind only OAAW #83 and SGT Fury #1 (what, a Marvel entry?).

That’s all for now, let me know your thoughts and if you’d like more about collectible War Comics. Good luck out there!

You can do SO MUCH MORE with a GoCollect Premium Membership!

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12 comments

Kevin Upham March 19, 2021 - 12:53 pm

Are you only reviewing DC War comics for this blog? I was wondering if you would have a follow up blog regarding Marvels war comics like Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos

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Daniel Hatch March 19, 2021 - 1:10 pm

Hi Kevin, great question. I have been planning to take a look at Marvel’s war entries as well. Stay tuned…

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Mike Mazzullo March 19, 2021 - 3:54 pm

Daniel , thanks for the post on War comics. Please keep them coming. Perhaps some other key Sgt. Rock an Sgt. Fury you would recommend. FYI, the only DC that we would bring into the house were Sgt.Rock and GI Combat. Probably cuz they were so combat heavy and our Dad was a WW II combat vet. I guess we identified with the soldiers. We thought that they were more like our Dad than the Howler were

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Daniel Hatch March 20, 2021 - 5:13 pm

Thanks for the kind words Mike. I will indeed keep writing about these great comics. Great point about your Dad, I salute him.

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octoberland March 19, 2021 - 1:57 pm

I’m happy you put this out there. I know nothing, or rather have done no research yet, on the war comics. From either publisher as @KevinUpham requested. It’s nice to dip my toes in.

– Craig Coffman

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Daniel Hatch March 20, 2021 - 5:15 pm

Thank you Craig, there are so many good stories and great art. More to come!

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Ed Dee March 19, 2021 - 4:26 pm

Daniel, I love war comics and I too also picked up Sgt.Rock every month. I don’t know if war comics will ever be popular unless there is a Sgt. Rock movie or cameo. It is very hard to find many of these books in high grade, i.e. 8.0 and up. I figure the popularity wasn’t there compared to other comics and the people that bought them like me had them rolled up in their back pocket while they played war outside. Keep them coming.

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Daniel Hatch March 20, 2021 - 5:11 pm

Great point Ed, I must have read each issue multiple times. I spent whole summers playing war outside.

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kevin baird March 19, 2021 - 5:37 pm

The greatest (and strangest) are the Star Spangled War Stories “Dinosaur” run. The title goes directly from the Mademoiselle Marie stories into the Dinosaurs for nearly 8 years!
That’s a long run for what are essentially novelty comics. After that SSWS launches “Enemy Ace” and “Unknown Soldier”.
It’s an excellent title, especially for the Joe Kubert fan!

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Daniel Hatch March 20, 2021 - 5:10 pm

Hi Kevin, thanks for your comment. I agree, the SSWS loses me with the dinosaur run. Someone must have liked them for DC to stick with them so long, but give me Rock and the Combat Happy Joes of Easy Company.

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Jim Houston March 25, 2021 - 10:38 pm

I know Joe Kubert is known for his art work on the DC war comics but I really liked Russ Heath double page spreads in his war comics. I collected the Sgt. Fury run but also liked to read Sgt. Rock. I knew each soldier in each series too. A guy bought a CBCS 2.0 Sgt. Fury at the NJ Comic Con this past weekend and some fans were surprised he bought it. I think it was a good purchase. Nice article.

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Daniel Hatch March 26, 2021 - 11:12 am

Thanks Jim, I agree that SGT Fury purchase (#1 I assume) is a great purchase. First appearance of Nick Fury. Thanks for reading and I’ll have more war comic articles coming soon.

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