I think we can all agree that War is boring. But what about War with ghosts, goblins, and other spooky supernatural beaties? Now THAT’S War we can get into… And that’s (in a less glib way) what comic book writers have hit on throughout the years, mixing the weird with the violent to get something wholly new – and usually very fun. Here are ten comics that bring the Supernatural to War:
10. Graveyard of Empires
The currently running series at Image by Mark Sable and Paul Azaceta poses a scary question: what if American and Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan had to team up… To fight zombies? The answer, of course, is that there would be buckets and buckets of blood. Lets hope those zombies don’t figure out how to use tanks or rocket launchers...
9. Creature Commandos
Introduced in DC’s Weird War Tales, the Creature Commandos is made up of a vampire, a werewolf, a Medusa, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the scariest monster of all… A regular guy! Boo! Together, they fought in World War II, before getting transported to the future – and their own series – to battle monsters usually significantly less than human. The fighting squad has recently been rebooted again as the currently running Frankenstein and The Agents of S.H.A.D.E.
8. I Am Legion
This French graphic novel written by Fabien Nury and illustrated by John Cassaday also takes place in World War II, as the Nazis search for a 10-year-old vampire named Ana, and clash with Allied forces. Meanwhile, a guy in a fedora carrying a bullwhip keeps shouting, “That little girl belongs in a museum!” Which makes no sense.
7. The Light and Darkness War
Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy created this Epic Comics’ release from the late ‘80s, which featured a Vietnam Vet dying (or maybe he does), and ending up stuck in the middle of a war for control of the afterlife with all his old ‘Nam buddies.
6. G.I. Combat
Though most of DC’s ongoing war comic – which was published for over 35 years – was “true to life,” there’s one key feature that vaults it up this list: The Haunted Tank. Set during World War II (surprise!), the recurring feature told the story of Jeb Stuart, a Confederate soldier sentenced to haunt the titular tank in order to help his descendants make it out of the War alive. If that wasn’t weird enough? Jeb was sentenced to be there by the spirit of Alexander the Great. Naturally.
5. The War That Time Forgot
Okay, a little bit of a cheat as this might categorize as Science Fiction rather than Supernatural. But the DC Comics series featured a group of – you guessed it – World War II soldiers, who are stranded on an island populated by dinosaurs. We’re sure there’s some magic or something in there somewhere, though, so it’s totally okay to put on this list. Cough.
4. Light Brigade
Set during (do I even have to say it at this point?) World War II, Peter J. Tomasi and Peter Snejberg’s DC Comics mini-series pit a small cadre of soldiers against Fallen Angels disguised as Nazis for possession of a mystical sword.
3. War Is Hell
Though Marvel’s war comic started as an anthology, with issue nine it took a severe left turn, and instead became about a cowardly man named John Kowalski, who was forced by Death to “live” through the deaths of other men and women, in their bodies. He couldn’t stop them from dying, but he could make their lives a little better before they did expire, like the most sadistic episode of Quantum Leap ever. It was set during World War II.
2. Weird War Tales
As you can probably guess from the title, this DC Comics anthology ran the gamut, from robot soldiers, to armies of the undead, to reincarnated soldiers battling for all time. Each issue was hosted by Death in a soldier’s uniform, which is really impractical because he’s a skeleton, so what does he need clothes for? Just saying.
1. The Other Side
Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart’s brilliant Vertigo series was set in World War II, and… Wait, it wasn’t? Really? Hey, turns out it was actually set in Vietnam, and showed the War from both sides, through the eyes of 19-year-old soldiers from each army. As they come together for an inevitable confrontation, they may be going mad… Or they may be seeing visions of ghost, demons, and things even more awful than that. One of the better depictions of war in comics, ever, and it even manages to mix in the supernatural, too!