Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Love Atlas Comics #9: Battleship Burke

The Korean War led to a spate of war comics being published and Atlas was certainly one of the leading printers. They introduced a number of new recurring war heroes who held down their own features, either in a title of their own (Combat Kelly) or within the pages of another title...such as our subject today, Battleship Burke. I have here what I think is Burke's first appearance: Navy Action #1 (1954) by Mac L. Pakula. 'Bulgin' Barnacles?!' Uh, no comment.

Our heroes are Battleship Burke and his rotund ride-along Salty Smith. The duo do battle with the "Reds" in Korea, mostly using their bare hands. Well, or they throw icicles at their enemies. Sure, that works. Ice to see you!

That must be hard.

Part of why I'm bringing Battleship Burke up is because in this story he has a female adversary! She's a Chinese officer dubbed Hungnam Hannah, clearly to remind us of Tokyo Rose. Hannah is, after all, such a typically Asian name... Usually only men name their guns.

And she's packing an Anzio Annie! Which changes locations thanks to a pair of rocket-powered skis! Baby want his heavy munitions?

Aside from what a neat surprise Hungnam Hannah was, this is a very typical Korean War hero comic - lots of scenes of American-types killing Asian-types as they toss out some uninspired quips and slurs. Hungnam Hannah only survives the strip because she's a lady. ...But not so much of a lady that Burke won't shove a snowball in her face. Stay cool, Chinese Chick!

Stay classy, Battleship Burke.

No comments: