Foxhole #1, Joe Albistur, John Prentice and Bill Draut

Other then the cover, there is no Kirby art in Foxhole #1. Actually Jack’s output seems to have decreased during the time that Simon and Kirby launched Mainline, their own publishing company. Joe Simon has generally been considered the businessman in their partnership. However I believe the best explanation for Kirby’s decreased page count during this period is that he was also involved in the business end of running Mainline.

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Foxhole Comics #1 (October 1954) “Brain Wash” page 1 by Joe Albistur

An American soldier becomes a prisoner of war in Korea. His resistance to the Korean efforts to convert him to their political system leads to various sorts of punishment as an example for the rest of the prisoners. Later after the truce is declared, the soldier meets the Korean who inflicted the punishment. And yes I am being a bit vague in order to avoid spoiling the story in case you ever have a chance to read it. This, like most stories in Foxhole, was unsigned and credit boxes did not appear until issue #3. I believe the artist was Joe Albistur (and here). Currently I suspect that Joe was actually Joaquin and was from Argentina. Now this might seem to violate the basic premise that the stories were told by veterans. Apparently this meant either the writer or the artist had served. Jack Oleck was a writer commonly used by S&K and Oleck had performed his military service during WWII

Joe Albistur only worked for S&K during this period when the Mainline/Charlton titles were being done. He shows up in those titles and in the Prize romances and seems to have taken up the slack from Jack Kirby whose artistic contributions were at a low during this period.

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Foxhole Comics #1 (October 1954) “Eight Ball Hero” page 4 by John Prentice

“Eight Ball Hero” is a story of a soldier about to get a medal. While waiting for the presentation event, an army newspaper reporter asks around about the hero. It seems that everyone he talks to expresses surprise. In their opinion the only thing the hero was good for was griping about the army. As the reporter asks around he gets the story of what the soldier did to deserve the medal. No question about it the soldier was a hero. However his motivation was not what would be expected of a hero.

John Prentice is one of a trio that I refer to as the usual suspects. I gave them that name because they played such a prominent part in Simon and Kirby productions. Most of what John did for S&K was romance work so it is nice to seem him in a action story. Not that I have not seen it before. I previously posted about his contribution to Bullseye. Although Nick Caputo has pointed out there seems to be some Kirby involvement. I particularly suspect Jack may have been involved in doing layouts for Prentice’s Bullseye work. Another example of Prentice doing action was the cover for Young Love #55. In this case I do not believe John was working from Kirby layouts. The actions scenes for “Eight Ball Hero” do not seem as well done as those by say Bill Draut. Although on a whole Prentice does an excellent job of telling the story. John has a real smooth realistic style and he really captures the hero’s attitude. John was already in the service at the start of the war. He stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by Japan.

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Foxhole Comics #1 (October 1954) “Fruit Salad” page 1 by Bill Draut

When starting to read “Fruit Salad” one might get the idea that the story would have been better placed in Young Romance. This might especially seem appropriate because the artist is Bill Draut who did so much romance work for S&K. The story is about an American air force man who picks up two English ladies and takes them for a night spent with a friend. The story is told by one of the ladies who becomes unhappy when she becomes paired up with the friend. She finds the one they first met as courageous and fun while she judges her partner for the evening as rather morose. Like I said it sure sounds like a romance. But then an air raid reveals the true nature of the relationship between the two air force men and the lady’s opinion about the one she was paired with is changed. This is a great example of why I find the Foxhole so interesting. It is a war story told not during a battle but while on R&R. It is about the affects of the war on those who serve and what courage really means.

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Foxhole Comics #1 (October 1954) “Casualty” page 1 by Bill Walton

One other story from Foxhole #1 is “Casualty” by Bill Walton. The story is about a navy man who whines all the time and on the day covered by the story is convinced that something dreadful will happen to him. His ship is attacked and in the ensuing battle the group the seaman belongs to gets hit. But rescue comes and we later learn the fate of our man. I have to say this is not one of my favorite stories from Foxhole. The art by Bill is okay but he is not one of the better artists from the title. The story tries to provide interest and a surprise ending but does not really deliver. I do not want to make it sound that “Casualty” is bad, it just not as good as most stories from Foxhole. But even in this story you can tell an attempt has been made not to provide a run of the mill war story.

“Casualty” is the only story in Foxhole that was signed by the artist. It was signed as “Bill Walton, USNR”.