“Kill Me With Wagner” (k036)

Posted in K100.

“Kill Me With Wagner” is a 20-page story by Jack Kirby from OUR FIGHTING FORCES #151 [1974], inked and lettered by D. Bruce Berry.  At this time the title featured The Losers, a team made by combining three separate cancelled war features, Johnny Cloud, Captain Storm and Gunner & Sarge, placing them in various theatres of operation in WWII. It was primarily written by Robert Kanigher, but for a dozen issues in the middle of their run, starting with this one, Jack Kirby was the writer/artist for the feature, which turned out to be a surprising highlight of the last year of his five-year run at DC. Kirby drew on his own war experience, filtered through his boundless creativity, to tell some exciting stories.

For his first story, Kirby places the Losers in a small town in occupied France, where they have the mission to rescue famed (but apparently never photographed) concert pianist Emma Klein, being hidden by the Maquis. The youngest Loser, Gunner, gets captured, and the others come in with the help of the Maquis. I like how the women brought in as hostages get into the fight in the middle of their rescue.

Kirby does an especially good job with a sequence on the last few pages, showing the the entire town being leveled by Allied shelling following the rescue. Very cinematic, with Kirby setting up Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” as the soundtrack to the destruction in the previous scene (which is significantly before APOCALYPSE NOW used it in a similar vein).


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