Monday, 25 April 2016

The Losers: A Small Place In Hell



The Losers was a perfectly acceptable middle league war book starring a group of perennial second-stringers, none of them being capable of carrying their own book. The only problem being that Captain Storm, Johnny Cloud, Gunner & Sarge had to keep reminding us they were losers every third panel by bemoaning their fate endlessly. No one likes a griper.
But then, in the last few months of his tenure at DC, Jack Kirby was given the book. It'd be a stretch to say Jack turned The Losers into a classic or anything, but certainly it instantly became a better book, and a much more realistic one.
A Small Place In Hell absolutely reeks of authenticity, the heroes are cold, mud-encrusted and exhausted and the story, well, I'm not even sure there is one. The Losers look like shit and scream like madmen throughout the whole piece, and though it's action packed, it's not comic book action being delivered here. You couldn't keep up this pace for a whole series, and later issues can be a bit ropey, but for this one issue, this is real, actual war written and drawn by someone who was there, and is easily one of the best comics ever done by anybody in this genre.



















2 comments:

  1. I really dug this comic! It's one of those obscure little gems you stumble upon all too rarely.
    As you point out, it's done by a guy who was actually there, and that means something. He nearly bought the farm in the Battle of the Bulge.
    M.P.

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  2. Jack Kirby didn't turn The Losers into a classic? Completely disagree.
    It may not have achieved wide recognition - probably because it doesn't fit most notions of Jack in the 70s - but its totally fantastic.
    Kirby might just have been filling out the last bit of his DC contract, but he didn't slack off - that last year also gave us the phenomenal OMAC.

    Following MP's point, check out the footage of Kirby talking about the war at
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=886TolkLksA
    Certainly puts some of A Small Place in Hell in perspective...

    -sean

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