The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy HC
Publisher: Dead Reckoning (Naval Institute Press)
Release Date: September 19, 2018
Price: $29.95
Creator(s): Frank Martinek (creator), Craig Yoe (editor); Various writers and artists
Format: 272 pgs., Full-Color, 8.5"x11", Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-6824-7323-8
Age Rating: 12+
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

As a piece of comic book history, this is remarkable.  The various Don Winslow creations were an attempt to blend popular culture and subtle pro-Navy propaganda into media suitable for influencing future recruits.  It’s unclear just how well it worked, since World War II came along in the middle, but the idea was clever and interesting.

So were most of the comics, which were aimed at an audience similar to that for Terry and the Pirates or other adventure comic strips and comic books.  The movie serials were another expansion which the historical text part of this book covers, but the contents of the book are primarily from the 1940s comic books.

Fawcett Comics, which had Captain Marvel in their publishing line already, published the Don Winslow comics, which blended somewhat realistic adventure fiction with outrageous pulp villains, especially in the post-war stories.  Their perceived audience for comic books included a lot of kids, so the adventure stories have very limited sex and bloodshed, but lots of fistfights and explosions.  There’s a sexy female pirate, though, and a couple of really weird male villains that Dick Tracy would have loved.

Unfortunately, some readers may be discouraged by the Golden Age artwork and villains, faithfully reproduced.  This book will be primarily of interest to adults interested in older comics.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.