Weird War Tales #89 Poster Primate Platoon (1980) Jim Starlin


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Before Weird Western Tales and Weird Mystery Tales, there was Weird War Tales, the oldest and longest- running of DC’s Weird titles, hosted by the Grim Reaper himself, portrayed as a talking skeleton in military garb with a seemingly bottomless barrel of supernatural anecdotes from all ages of warfare. This issue features what may have been the most frightening menace of all: a crack unit of Nazi-trained gorillas known as the Primate Patrol (not the Primate Platoon, as pronounced by the cover, although wehn you think about it, aren’t all platoons made up of primates?) In point of fact, the simians in question were neither a patrol nor a platoon (nor do they wear swastikas on their helmets), but a race of mutant talking apes forced to work as prison guards for the German Wehrmacht. By the end of their all-too-brief six-page story, the gorillas are all-too-easily turned on their Nazi masters by a few resourceful American POW’s, making Jim Starlin’s superb cover by far the most memorable thing about this issue. James P. “Jim” Starlin (born October 9) is an American comic book writer and artist. With a career dating back to the early 1970s, he is best known for “cosmic” tales and space opera; for revamping the Marvel Comics characters Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock; and for creating or co-creating the Marvel characters Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora and Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. After writing and drawing stories for a number of fan publications, Jim Starlin got his break into comics in 1972, working for Roy Thomas and John Romita at Marvel Comics. Brought in by fellow artist Rich Buckler, Starlin was part of the generation of artists and writers who grew up as fans of Silver Age Marvel Comics. At a Steve Ditko-focused panel at the 2008 Comic-Con International, Starlin said, “Everything I learned about storytelling was [due to] him or Kirby. [Ditko] did the best layouts.”