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A German air ace during World War II, Hans von Hammer, aka the Hammer of Hell, aka the Human Killing Machine, aka Enemy Ace, first appeared in Our Army at War #151. Von Hammer himself didn't appear on the cover -- instead, a gigantic cover blurb asked, "Who is the blazing ENEMY we dared not show on this cover? Who? Who? WHO? WHO?" The character was modeled after Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen, the famous "Red Baron." After appearing in OAAW for a total of three issues, Enemy Ace got a tryout in two issues of Showcase, both pictured below.

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OUR ARMY AT WAR #151, FEB. 1965 SHOWCASE #57 SHOWCASE #58

Enemy Ace artist Joe Kubert: "Enemy Ace was another Bob Kanigher creation. The premise here was a so-called 'baddy' who assumes the role of a hero. It was an enjoyable strip to do. It was a complete change of pace, as far as illustration was concerned... and story, too. I think trying to inject the feeling of flight on a six by nine inch piece of paper is not an easy thing to do, yet it was a very enjoyable task." (Amazing world of DC Comics, July-Aug 1974)

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.Enemy Ace writer/creator Robert Kanigher: "I draw from life, from personal experiences. That's what makes my stories what they are. Readers recognize in my work one drive, one thought, one mind. The stories bear my stamp. Before I do a script, two things must happen. I must see the characters in the darkened theater of my mind. And I must feel their emotions as if I were inside their skins. Then, I just do it. I give artists emotion and characterization. If they're talented, they can draw what I ask. I don't write comics. I use the medium. I never missed a deadline in my life."

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SSWS #138, APRIL 1968 SSWS #139, JULY 1968 SSWS #140, SEPT 1968

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SSWS #141, NOV 1968 SSWS #142, JAN 1969 SSWS #143, MARCH 1969

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SSWS #144, MAY 1969 SSWS #145, JULY 1969 SSWS #146, SEPT 1969

Joe Kubert: "After having done a great deal of research, going through many, many books on these early airplanes, what they consisted of, how they flew. I concluded that the guys who flew these flimsy, bailing wire, spit and cloth things that were slapped together... those first combat pilots must have been incredibly brave. Some of the planes had no covering on the bottom. You could see the ground right below your feet! I meant to get that feeling of air, and flight, and sky. Incorporating all these things into the flying and battling so far above the earth was a change of pace for me and something that I enjoyed very much." (Amazing world of DC Comics, July-Aug 1974) BELOW: Fokker Dr-I, by Joe Kubert.
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SSWS #147, NOV 1969 SSWS #148, JAN 1970 SSWS #149, MAR 1970

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SSWS #150, MAY 1970 SSWS #151, JULY 1970 SSWS #182, SEPT 1974

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..There are two different Enemy Ace action figures, one from Hasbro, a G.I. Joe that comes with the German Air Ace's uniform and his wolfen best friend. This figure, pictured right, sells for a mere $199.00.

A Hammer of Hell figure is also available from DC Direct. This one's got a wolf too, and it also comes with a miniature Fokker DR-1 Triplane mounted with twin Spandau machine guns. This Enemy Ace figure costs a far more reasonable $29.95. Get it, and pretend you're a "Human Killing Machine"! Fun for the whole family.

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DETECTIVE #404, OCT 1970 DC SPECIAL #26, FEB 1977 ENEMY ACE SPECIAL #1, 1990

.Kanigher and Kubert's Enemy Ace series, easily one of the most brilliant ever published in comics, is available as a DC Archive Edition. The volume reprints Our Army at War #151-155, Showcase #57 and 58, and Star Spangled War Stories #138-142, covering the character's hard to find first appearances and a large chunk of his history.

If you've never read Enemy Ace (you poor, Godforsaken creature), this volume is guaranteed to blow you away. There's never been a comic series like it. And if you're an Enemy Ace fan from way back, here's your chance to see those great old stories in the top-quality format they have always deserved. The Ghost of the Killer Skies lives on in this killer edition!


COMING NEXT ON DIAL B FOR BLOG:

FINISHED COLOR ARTWORK BY
NEAL ADAMS • MAC RABOY • STEVE DITKO • JOSE GARCIA LOPEZ
JIM MOONEY• BRUCE TIMM • ALEX ROSS • MATTHEW MAYHEW!


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