The Haunted Tank is living in the past. Even if there is a Fourth Reich, it isn’t necessarily an instrument of evil.
Here are some comic book titles that I would choose to read before reading a comic book called “The Haunted Tank.”
The Unflushed Toilet.
The Stale Potato Chips.
The Abandoned Wok.
The Beleaguered Prostitute.
I know, I know! Y’all want to see this one as well since I took the time to draw the other ones. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s one thing to put the title out there into the world and another one to draw it and create the character of the beleaguered prostitute. If I drew her, she’d somehow become real and I’d have to take responsibility for her troubles and tribulations. But that doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t rather read about her than the Haunted Tank.
When I was in first grade, I drew a picture of a haunted house that was put up in the Santa Clara Triton Museum of Art. Well, maybe not the actual museum. But they had these outlying structures that were kind of like round houses with elevated floors where they hung art for special occasions. They must have been showcasing art from students in the area and my haunted house was too extremely awesome not to be put on display.
Unless it really was in the museum proper. I don’t really remember it very well. I was only six years old! My mother is coming up to Portland to visit for Thanksgiving this year. I think I’ll ask her to dig up the picture so I can scan it and submit it for everyone to be amazed. She might also remember the story better. Or I can learn it was all a lie and she had a friend hang the picture up in her garage and took me by the “museum” to see my work.
The reason I’m not talking about The Haunted Tank is because it’s not worth talking about. Also, nobody is reading G.I. Combat except for people like me reading DC’s entire New 52 line. Which means nobody is actually reading this commentary by me either! So I can fucking say whatever I want here. Maybe I should tell a story that I’ve never told anybody before in my life?
Oh! Here’s one that makes me look awful and socially incompetent. But I take no responsibility for anything the twelve year old me did! That guy is long dead!
It was seventh grade and one of my best friends was Davide Bettencourt. Name not changed so that he can read this confession if he ever Googles his own name. What first really caused Davide and I to hang out as much as we did was his Apple II computer. I still remember in sixth grade standing just on the edge of the field during recess as he described one of his computer games to me. It was a little game called Wizardry. It sounded like everything I’d ever wanted out of a video game! A dungeons and dragons simulation that needed no dungeon master! He described how he had been exploring the first level and he found a sign that said “Corridor Off Limits! Turn back!” I had to play this game!
I ended up spending a lot of time with Davide playing Apple II games, Dungeons and Dragons, and video pinball since his father had a cabinet of the arcade game in their garage. In 7th grade, we began walking to school together since his house was on the way to Buchser. We’d usually walk home as well and probably spend the late afternoon playing games.
One morning before leaving for school, I noticed a fiction book near his computer called The Sword of Shannara. It looked interesting since I read a lot of fantasy books at the time. A few days later, I had my own copy having convinced my mom to take me to B. Dalton’s Bookseller to pick it up. The morning I took it to school, I didn’t show it to Davide. I decided to hide his copy behind his other books so that he’ll see me with my copy in class and think I took his book. Ha ha. Big prank, right?
Yeah, well that’s exactly what happened. He called me up after school that same day and accused me of taking his book. I told him this was mine and he said, “We’ll see. I wrote my name in it. Show it to me tomorrow.” I couldn’t believe it! He had accused me of taking his book? What a jerk! Suddenly the joke didn’t feel so funny. The next day, I brought the book for his examination. He scrutinized it closely, raising his glasses up to squint at the page, making sure no white out or eraser had been applied. Everything checked out and he let out a sort of hmph noise and that was that.
But that wasn’t that, was it? I felt upset and betrayed that he would really think I stole his book. Sure, it was completely stupid and illogical. But maybe part of me wanted him to be angry. Perhaps we had simply been spending too much time together. And I could be a real selfish narcissistic asshole. At the time! Remember how I said that 12 year old is long dead?
That morning, the silence between us suggested our friendship was running on fumes. Once he realized his name wasn’t in the book, he may have figured the whole nonsense was done. He’d just have to find out what really happened to his book. Of course, it was right there not two feet from where he was examining my book and I could have easily revealed it and said, “Ha ha! It was a joke! Sorry!” But I didn’t. And I was upset in a way that I couldn’t vocalize at that time. Betrayed and confused and really over my head with the emotions this seemingly innocent prank had brought to the surface. I knew we wouldn’t be hanging around together much more.
So the next morning, I brought a magnet with me to Davide’s house and ran it across all of his diskettes. He didn’t suspect a thing at the time. Everything to him was still normal. We still walked home from school together that day but everything he did bothered me. He picked a flower on the way home and began ripping the petals from it. Every time he did it, I’d stop and let him walk further and further ahead of me. He occasionally turned back and asked what was up and I don’t think I even responded. He headed up his stairs and I went home. I think he ended up calling me later with a short conversation saying his mom was going to be taking him to school and he couldn’t walk with me anymore. And that was that. I started walking to school with Philip Newby after that day.
I don’t think Davide ever confronted me about what I did. We just stopped talking. One day, Phil asked me about it. He said Davide’s sister saw me erase the disks. I, of course, denied it. But I’m sure Phil knew. And even if it were untrue that Davide’s sister saw me, it was damn obvious that I was behind it. It’s one of the shittiest things I’ve ever done although I’m sure I’ve done others that compete with it since then.
I don’t know if the twelve year old me was really ever sorry for what he did. But the me of nearly every year since then has been. That 12 year old was a complete jackass.
And then I read some of The Haunted Tank!
Ten pages into The Haunted Tank and all of Scott Stuart’s army buddies have been gunned down by the enemy. It’s just old man Jeb and his grandson Scott and the Haunted Tank and the disembodied voice of The General left to complete the mission. The mission would still be a mystery except that the cover stated it plain and simple: The Fourth Reich needs to be found!
As the Haunted Tank rumbles across Afghanistan, Crazy Old Man Stuart tells Scotty all about his adventures in World War II while manning the Haunted Tank. The Haunted Tank’s mission was to combat all of the weird, mystical stuff that Hitler was up to. As everyone knows, Hitler was after all kinds of mystic and religious artifacts like The Ark of the Covenant and The Holy Grail and The Spear Longinus.
I knew Nazi Zombies were based on historical evidence! Because comic books present historical evidence!
All of the panels showing the weirdness that The Haunted Tank and its crew had to face makes me simply wish that this book was that old book. Nordic Giants. Valkyries. Nazi Robots. Miniaturization. Zombies. Screaming Luftwaffe. That comic book looks like a lot of fun! I guess that’s why the Haunted Tank is after the Fourth Reich! That way, the Haunted Tank can battle crazy shit brought to life by a secret Fourth Reich that has been working on mystical and technological craziness for seventy years! Otherwise, the Haunted Tank is simply going to have to run over Taliban foot soldiers with out-dated soviet weapons.
And the Haunted Tank does it’s job by taking its two man crew to
Antarctica The North Pole to confront yet another Nazi war machine!
Nazis in the Arctic? I wonder if the “N” in N.O.W.H.E.R.E. stands for “Nazi”?
And then it’s the continuing story of The Unknown Soldier having to deal with a bunch of radicals with crazy fucking demands.
Make that fucking reasonable demands.
So the horrible terrorists that The Unknown Soldier sound like they really want to improve the government. But tie their wants to violence and the belief that the antichrist has come, and now those demands really sound crazy! I’m pretty sure the antichrist crap is government disinformation to get The Unknown Soldier to attack a group that threatens the government’s status quo.
Someone gets a lead that sends The Unknown Soldier into a completely different set of circumstances. So first it’s about this Red Jihad being exploded all over America. And then it’s about The Constitution Army threatening to improve things. Then there’s random violence and a terrorist threat. Now it all comes down to a fake computer game company that’s going to steal from a bunch of banks using hackers and everything else was just a smoke screen to distract the government. But it didn’t work because The Unknown Soldier found them all! Too bad the issue ends with him being shot in the back of the head.
I mean too bad for him! I’m all for this story arc ending early.
G.I. Combat #6 Rating: -1 Ranking. It only loses one rank this month for the uninteresting Unknown Soldier story. The Haunted Tank story was mostly lame as well but I liked the flashback panels and imagining what a great comic book this would be if it simply reprint old issues of The Haunted Tank.