Monday, April 15, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 105: DC Annuals House Ads Week, Day 2

Now here's something unusual: an annual for a comic book that didn't exist otherwise! At the time it was published in 1964, Sgt. Joe Rock still did not yet have his own self-titled comic book—he was still appearing as a feature in Our Army at War, Rock's home from 1959 to 1977. This annual is therefore the first title named after Rock.

House ad for Sgt. Rock's Prize Battle Tales [Annual] #1 (March] 1964); printed in Batman #162 (March 1964)
Cover art on Prize Battle Tales #1 by who else but Joe Kubert? Letters by Ira Schnapp

Ad designed and lettered by Ira Schnapp

But this comic was something of a bait-and-switch, because it mostly consisted of reprint war stories that did not feature Sgt. Rock. If you're expecting a full 80-page book crammed with Rock, you've got another think coming, Melvin! Though the stories are beautifully drawn tales by Joe Kubert, Ross Andru and Irv Novick, only one tale featured Rock, a 13-page story at the end ("Calling Easy Company", reprinted from Our Army at War #87). DC pulled the same trick in 1976 with Limited Collectors' Edition #C-47, "Superman Salutes the Bicentennial," which featured exactly zero tales starring Superman—they were all reprints starring Tomahawk! At least Sgt. Rock's Prize Battle Tales #1 included this nifty black-and-white inside-back-cover pin-up poster with gorgeous artwork by Joe Kubert:

Our Army at War changed its title in 1977 to Sgt. Rock with issue #302, and DC's top combat soldier finally got a comic named after him, which ran until ish #422 in June 1988. Rock's second annual would follow in 1982, when DC resurrected their annuals after many, many years of absence. See this feature on this coming Thursday for a peek at a house ad announcing the annuals' return!

As far as I can think, there's only one other DC annual that appeared before the main character had a comic book of their own, and like this one, it didn't bear the exact title of the book that would eventually appear! That's your clue, and we'll have the answer...not tomorrow, but in this very spot on Saturday! Be here or be there, annually!

1 comment:

Blam said...

Little Sure Shot didn't ask; Bulldozer didn't tell.