Comic Review: The Unknown Anti-War Comics! (IDW)

“War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!!” The late sixties tune performed by Edwin Starr… If this opinion rings a chord for you, here’s some further reading: IDW’s […]

“War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!!” The late sixties tune performed by Edwin Starr…

If this opinion rings a chord for you, here’s some further reading: IDW’s new Unknown Anti-War Comics, a reprint collection of dozens of Charlton comic stories from the 50’s and 60’s.

It’s edited by Craig Yoe, of Yoe Books. Here, Craig Yoe assembles a fascinating look at the mores of the time, as explored through the lens of (mostly) Joe Gill, a writer for Charlton comics. Gill, a tremendously prolific story writer, clearly takes interest in the dramatic possibilities of exploring anti-war ideas.

There are cold war scenarios blended with alien visits to earth. Scientists who search for meaning in man’s existence, then debate how to prevent mankind from nuclear annihilation. And more bald, bug-eyed aliens. And more cold war shenanigans, where scheming dictators and megalomaniacs toy with weapons of mass destruction. And astronauts.

But there are also stories of ordinary soldiers, who see the horrors of war. From European medieval skirmishes to cowboys to troops in world wars, they experience the front line and grow weary and wise.

Yoe has annotated the stories with art credits. There are some big, well-known artists such as Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, Dick Giordano and Steve Ditko, to lesser-known journeymen such as Bob Forgione and Bill Molno.

It’s a fun and fascinating slice of the ten and twelve cent Charlton comic days, with an introduction by Nate Powell, and a foreword by Noel Paul Stookey of the 60’s vocal group Peter, Paul and Mary.

Capping off the collection is a reprint of the full-length Charlton Premiere story Children of Doom, written by Denny O’Neil with art by Pat Boyette.

IDW/ YoeBooks, Unknown Anti-War Comics, Hardcover, #29.99 for 230 pages

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!