Foxhole #2, Bill Draut, Jack Kirby and Another

Foxhole #2
Foxhole Comics #2 (December 1954) “Walkie-Talkie” page 3 by Bill Draut

The Commies cut a communication line and later kill the man sent to repair it. They then use the dead soldier’s walkie-talkie to contact the Americans pretending to be the soldier. The fake soldier reports that he is lost and will use the signal strength as a means of finding his way back to headquarters. Of course what the Commies are really doing is using this as a means of locating the American headquarters so that they can attack it.

Like he did in “The Replacement”, here Bill Draut uses an bird’s eye view at the start of the action before zooming in. I find this a very un-Kirby way of telling the story so I am convinced once again that Bill is not working from Kirby layouts. Another nicely done effort by Draut, particularly considering that the story is only three pages long.

Foxhole #2
Foxhole Comics #2 (December 1954) “Hot Box” page 1 by Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby only provided the covers for most issues of Foxhole. However for Foxhole #2 Jack penciled two of the stories. I previously discussed “Booby Trap”. The second Kirby contribution is “Hot Box” a real gem despite its short length of only two pages. What a splash panel! Despite it being a close-up, because of the head gear all you can see of the man are his eyes. Only part of the gun that he is firing is visible and we cannot see his target. But with the low angle viewpoint, the empty cartridges flying about and the effective use of perspective this is one of Kirby’s most exciting splashes. Jack keeps this sort of visual impact in each of the panels that follow. Only two pages, but Kirby makes the most of them. The story itself is rather simple. We are told that the plane was hit by flak during a raid. The aircraft was still flying but a fire had developed. The crew was trying to make it back but the effects from the fire was growing, hence the title for the story. Jack provides a dramatic end, it is almost another splash panel.

Jack Kirby did not draw many stories for Foxhole. Those that he did provide are just so incredible. I suspect that many artists would not give their best effort for such a short story as “Hot Box”. Jack on the other hand seemed to take this shortness as a challenge. He wanted to provide the all excitement of a fuller length story. I believe he was completely successful and that “Hot Box” was the best piece from Foxhole.

Foxhole #2
Foxhole Comics #2 (December 1954) “Dishonorable Discharge” page 1 by unidentified artist

“Dishonorable Discharge” seems a little out of place in Foxhole. For one thing most Foxhole stories are three to six pages long. If we discount Foxhole #7 (which was not a Simon and Kirby production) only “Dishonorable Discharge” is longer having ten pages. I do not know who the artist was but I do not think he did anything else for Foxhole or the other Mainline titles. Further the story itself seem more appropriate for a crime magazine then a war one.

The story takes place in ’36 and ’37 well before the U.S. entered the war. At the start we find Socker Bates doing deep sea diving for the navy. Socker wants to show a girl a good night on the town and he does, spending money like there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately it turns out he stole it from the navy paymaster. Socker is apprehended, sentenced to serve a year in prison and then given a dishonorable discharge. With his bad discharge, Socker has trouble finding work. Eventually he teams up with a down and out character who has a diving suit. Together they do salvage operations. A girl comes between them and Socker finds out that his partner is planning to run off with the girl and the money. That is until Socker Bates decides to take revenge.

Like I said it sounds more like crime genre then war. It is not even appropriate for Police Trap, Mainline’s crime comic. Police Trap focuses on the police angle not the criminal but the police are nowhere to be seen in “Dishonorable Discharge”. This story is so out of place for Mainline that I really do not believe that S&K had it made. Rather I suspect that S&K picked it up, probable at a bargain price, from some failed comic book line. Or perhaps from the artist when the story was rejected by its intended publisher. S&K did something similar when they bought some romance work from the failed publishing company of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. That romance work ended up in some of the Prize romance comics that S&K were producing at this same time. In any case “Dishonorable Discharge” is one the poorer efforts from the entire Foxhile comics.