Johnny Hazard the Newspaper Dailies Volume: 1944-1946 HC
Publisher: Hermes Press
Release Date: December 2011
Price: $49.99
Creator: Frank Robbins
Format: 288 pgs.; B&W; Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-6134-5004-8
ICv2 Ratings: 5 Stars out of 5 stars

Johnny Hazard the Newspaper Dailies Volume One: 1944-1946 collects the first two years of Frank Robbins' long-running comic strip Johnny Hazard reproduced from the original King Features press proofs.  The clarity of the reproduction is nothing short of amazing and every panel reveals the dynamism of the legendary artists work; his strips don’t appear to have aged a day.

It's a beautiful and frequently (even for its times) brutal strip that shows off Robbins considerable talent at creating wartime action, stunning beautiful women and incredibly realistic planes and vehicles.  Among his other accomplishments is an ability to create comic relief that isn't an annoying intrusion and a gift for creating memorable characters.  Chief among them being the repugnant Half-Face who's convincing in spite of the fact he looks like he was moonlighting from a Golden Age issue of Airboy.

Johnny Hazard is frequently considered to be just another wartime comic strip or worse, an imitator of Milton Caniff's much better known Terry and the Pirates.  But the level of storytelling on display here, as well as the command of composition, show that Robbins wasn't an imitator of Caniff; he was a serious competitor.

Even people with little interest in comic strips are likely to enjoy these strips, but anyone with a passing knowledge of Robbins' work (especially the many who only know him through his work for Marvel Comics in the 70's, which many seem to have hated at the time) will be startled by the quality of his early work.

--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant