- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (26 Aug. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486801586
- ISBN-13: 978-0486801582
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 4.4 x 26.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,036,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
USS Stevens: The Complete Collection (Dover Graphic Novels) Hardcover – 29 Apr 2016
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From the Back Cover
[front flap--can extend to back flap, if necessary]
"USS Stevens is both an excellent graphic narrative and an important record of an American warship's service in the Pacific campaign of World War Two. It also serves as a fine tribute to the young sailors of the US Navy, who faced the forces of Imperial Japan in battle after battle, enduring countless hardships on the long journey to victory. Mr. Glanzman has my admiration, respect and profound gratitude." -- Garth Ennis, Eisner Award-winning writer of Preacher and The Punisher, Hellblazer, Judge Dredd, and Hitman.
Legendary Golden Age artist Sam Glanzman set many of his tales aboard the USS Stevens, the actual World War II destroyer on which he served. This full-color, hardcover treasury collects every single Stevens tale he ever published, more than 60 short adventures from Our Army at War, G. I. Combat, and other 1970s DC war comics as well as longer pieces from Marvel's 1986 revival of Savage Tales magazine and the more recent Joe Kubert Presents. Plus, this outstanding collection also includes the final, four-page story about the warship, newly written and illustrated by Glanzman himself.
Exclusive Bonus Material:
- New four-page Stevens story by Sam Glanzman
- New Foreword by Ivan Brandon
- New Introduction by Jon B. Cooke
- New Afterword by Allan Asherman
Dover (2016) original collection of stories published by DC Comics and Marvel Comics, 1970-2013.
See every Dover book in print at
[back flap--can cut for space]
A combat veteran, acclaimed comic book creator Sam Glanzman is best known for the biographical stories within this collection, mostly published by DC Comics, and set aboard the USS Stevens, the ship on which he served during World War II. Some of his other work includes two Charlton Comics series, Tarzan and Hercules, the Dell Comics series Combat and Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle, the Marine Corps series Semper Fi, two A Sailor's Story graphic novels from Marvel Comics (recently republished by Dover Comics & Graphic Novels), and his only black-and-white independent comics creation, ATTU. He is also the artist on Will Franz's The Lonely War of Willy Schultz, a controversial series of stories about a German-American Army captain during World War II, which has garnished a cult following.
About the Author
Comic book artist Sam Glanzman is best known for his Charlton Comics series, Hercules, as well as his biographical war stories for DC and Marvel Comics about his service aboard the USS Stevens. He is also the creator of ""The Lonely War of Willy Schultz,"" a serial about a German-American Army captain during World War II.
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From which it now seems clear that they are among the masterpieces of mainstream American comics, and superior in many ways to their more-lauded contemporaries in the horror and superhero genres.
Considering how deceptively simple the stories are, it's quite difficult to describe them, or why they are so remarkable. They're rooted in Glanzman's own wartime experiences on the USS Stevens, but while they have autobiographical elements, they're not autobiographical comics in the narrow sense. Some are realistic accounts of actual naval battles and smaller-scale combat episodes. Some verge on fantasy. Some are about the mundanities and occasional strangeness of life at sea. Some are resigned comments on the consequences of war for both combatants and non-combatants. Some are character studies. Quite a few of them consider the war from the perspective of the Japanese. They're not gung-ho propaganda, nor are they anguished anti-war tracts. There are no continuing characters, though a few do pop up in two or more stories. They're not told in chronological order. The tone throughout is measured, calm, and reflective, which gives great impact to moments of genuine drama. Perhaps this variety of approaches, but with a consistent tone throughout, creates an effect like one immense, perfect jewel, but with its many facets each reflecting something different, and this accounts for their power, particularly when they can be read together here to create a moving, cumulative effect.
And of course there's Glanzman's craftsmanship. Before coming to DC in 1970, he'd gained over a decade of experience working for companies such as Charlton and Dell, including a lot of war work, and he acquired phenomenal story-telling ability skill and a distinctive style that suggested a lusher Joe Kubert but which was totally his own. When Kubert, in his capacity as editor of DC's war comics, was looking for new talent as he took the titles into the '70s, Glanzman was a natural, and he did much other work for Kubert over the years in addition to the USS Stevens stories, which are presented here in chronological order of publication. The first few are slightly tentative - proficient and visually distinctive combat snapshots, beautifully drawn but not too different from typical war comic filler pieces - but before long (I'd say from "Black Smoke", the fifth story in) they rely more and more on Glanzman's own experiences and observations and become something unique and wonderful. Glanzman gains in creative confidence throughout, and experiments with layouts, narrative voices and visual style, matching the visual approach to the story content in a way that's utterly assured and masterful - and, this volume notwithstanding, still shamefully obscure and under-appreciated. Under-appreciated, because Glanzman does more in four pages than contemporary comics accomplish in a six-month crossover event that runs through dozens of individual magazines.
This is comics storytelling at the highest level and - in comparison to even the best super-hero and horror material of similar vintage, and for that matter in comparison to much "arty" comics work - remarkable for its maturity, emotional clout, restraint and resonance. The appearance of the USS Stevens stories in this book marks one of the best archival comics projects of the last decade - and those ten years have been something of a golden age for such projects. The book compiles all 58 of the original DC stories, plus some associated material, as well as 12 later stories which appeared in various other places between 1986 and 2016, by which time Glanzman was in his nineties and still displaying formidable talent. The latterday stories rework some of the DC material, and are reminiscent of a great jazz musician still finding new and compelling things to say from material he has been exploring for decades.
The book itself is a handsome hardcover, with good quality paper that enhances the original art and colouring without distorting it through too much gloss. The page size is about the same as the original comics - it would be nice to see it in a larger format, but at nearly 400 pages that probably wasn't economically feasible, and it does make sense to see it in something like the original formatting. The stories are supplemented with some excellent editorial matter and some useful annotations, mostly provided by redoubtable comics historian Jon B. Cooke, as well as reproductions of fan letters to Glanzman from former Presidents Obama and Bush the elder. It's quite a package, and it's a package that anyone with a serious interest in comics as a creative medium should purchase without any hesitation. Readers who are just looking for a bloody good read should invest, too.
Being four or five page stories recollecting his service aboard the Destroyer USS Stevens during WW2, there were about sixty or so of these tales published between 1970 to 1976 at DC and intermittently by Marvel with new material published by DC circa 2012/2013, all of which are included here.
I only have one Sam Glanzman story in my possession, Star Spangled War Stories #174's (October 1973) King Of The Hill! A horrific tale of an encounter between a rock ape and an over-confident swabbie. Purchased ten or so years ago as a 1970s curio, I was completely unaware of the contents of the backup story but found myself intrigued by it and sought more information over the years via the Internet.
As much as I enjoyed King Of The Hill!, collecting the dozens of other comics Mr Glanzman's work appeared in was too much for this stingy Scot so I forgot all about acquiring them but here they all are and they don't disappoint.
Price-wise, for a book almost as big as a Marvel Omnibus volume, the £26.00 or so RRP is an astonishing price point. Yes, the artwork is reproduced from the printed comic book pages (I believe) but the lettering, always a giveaway in poor reproductions of comic art where the original art is no longer available is clearly legible, thankfully. Mr Glanzman's art is not given to lyrical flourishes or hyper-realism but it suits the material perfectly.
If you want more of the Sam Glanzman DC Comics war titles backups then this is indispensable. Absolutely brilliant.
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What I couldn't learn from my uncles, I learned from Sam, and those comic books led the way to the public library where I could learn even more. His stories about the Stevens and her crew were the starting point of my fascination with U.S. naval history and paved the way for me to discover a wide range of biographies, accounts, analyses and studies of the greatest conflict our nation has ever endured. Glanzman offered me a life-long hobby and love of reading, for the give-away price of 25 cents per comic book.
Glanzman's artistry and storytelling provided my young wondering self with a highly detailed account of a Navy sailor's life during wartime in the Pacific. On one hand, the Stevens stories are brilliantly illustrated with a keen eye to technical detail with lots of charts, maps and diagrams thrown in. It's like a history lesson about Fletcher-class destroyers during the war. On the other hand, Sam's stories are primarily about people. The ship and the war are the backdrop, but the human interest always takes center stage, as it should.
There was just one problem with his U.S.S. Stevens stories: I could never get enough of them, and I often wondered what I had missed, from comic book issues before I had discovered them and after I grew out of them. Well, here it is, finally, a childhood dream of mine come true -- every U.S.S Stevens story ever published, all in one surprisingly thick and hefty hard-cover volume.
It's all here between these pages... the strips I had read as a kid plus those on which I had missed out; a real treasure trove of Golden Age comic book artistry and storytelling. An added bonus is a biography of the author by Jon B. Cooke, who also provides detailed annotations on each story. It's a complete work, and it's difficult not to get sentimental about this particular graphic novel because I grew up on Sam's artwork. It's hard not to feel like this book was compiled especially for me, because it's exactly what I've wanted for a very long time.
Thank you Sam Glanzman for your service to our country and for your richly detailed U.S.S. Stevens wartime diary, from which I have learned so much. And thanks for all of your other equally excellent artwork in other genres over the years. You are as talented as you are prolific. I'm really looking forward to Red Range and whatever else you choose to do.
Authenticity is not the same as accuracy, however. Even light fact checking will turn up any number of errors and inconsistencies. Some of these are no doubt due to the foibles of memory as time marches on, or to the desire to drive home a point more dramatically than fact will permit, or accepting a second hand tale uncritically, or even (this reader suspects) making some things up out of whole cloth. None of this matters in the long run. The stories reach out and immerse the reader in a world that is now long gone.
The publisher, Dover, has long been known for its quality paperback reprints. This volume is something entirely different. It is a comic (if that is the appropriate word) collection where all the stops have been pulled out to produce a book with the very highest production values. The paper, the binding, and the reproduction are superb; it is hard to see how they could have been improved. This 7" x 10-1/2", 400 page hardcover meets or exceeds the quality of any omnibus, masterwork, or archive Marvel or DC or Dark Horse or anyone else has turned out. About the only quibble I could come up with is guttering in the two page spreads.
This is very highly recommended. Comparisons to Monsarrat's "The Cruel Sea" are perfectly apt.