Why does CGC note both OOAW 168 and SSWS 151 as "First Appearance of The Unknown Soldier"?
0

23 posts in this topic

4,452 posts

I always thought SSWS 151 was first solo Unknown story aka beginning of the Unknown solo run. 

s-l1600.jpg

s-l16345.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,135 posts

Blame Star Spangled War Stories #157.

 

See the source image

This is a reprint of Our Army at War 168. In the original story, an "unknown soldier" is killed while helping Sgt. Rock and is buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

However, in SSWS 157, DC added a few framing pages to the story where they reveal that the solider who was supposedly killed was actually the real Unknown Soldier, who obviously survived the ordeal. 

I think (can't be totally sure) that CGC used to label SSWS 151 ad the "first solo appearance of the Unknown Soldier." Do they not do that anymore?

We used to talk about this in the Bronze War thread, but I don't remember the consensus. I think we have to accept OOAW 168 as the first appearance, though. 

Edited by MisterX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,049 posts
44 minutes ago, MisterX said:

We used to talk about this in the Bronze War thread, but I don't remember the consensus. I think we have to accept OOAW 168 as the first appearance, though. 

Other people are welcome to accept whatever they want, but count me out! SSWS 151 is his first appearance, full stop. Connecting the character to OAAW 168 is a well done retcon, but it's still a retcon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,816 posts
On 9/10/2020 at 4:35 AM, Hey Kids, Comics! said:

I always thought SSWS 151 was first solo Unknown story aka beginning of the Unknown solo run. 

s-l1600.jpg

s-l16345.jpg

Yes, Our Army at War 168 is the first appearance of the Unknown Soldier. 151 is the Soldier’s first solo appearance. Great copies you have of books that are must haves for any Soldier fan!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54,191 posts

Normally I abhor retcons but in the case of the 1st app of the Unknown Solider, I don't have a problem with it. I still do need a copy of SSWS 151 though. Love that cover so much more than OAAW 168

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,049 posts
On 9/11/2020 at 9:39 AM, bronze johnny said:

Kanigher and Kubert’s intent was always for OAAW 168 to be the Soldier’s first appearance

I'd love to know what you're basing this on. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55,559 posts

DC should do a new book "The real unknown soldier-apparently the others were german spies-"

:flipbait:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,816 posts
1 hour ago, Crimebuster said:

I'd love to know what you're basing this on. 

Read what I wrote carefully. SSWS 157 wasn’t done in error. The fact that Kubert and Kanigher retconned the story says it. Do you think they decided to do this by chance? This issue has been argued and trying to compare this to any retcon is silly. The creators have the exclusive benefit to define their creation. That said, 151 is a must have for any Soldier and War Comics collector and is the BA War Key.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,049 posts
1 hour ago, bronze johnny said:

Read what I wrote carefully. SSWS 157 wasn’t done in error. The fact that Kubert and Kanigher retconned the story says it. Do you think they decided to do this by chance? This issue has been argued and trying to compare this to any retcon is silly. The creators have the exclusive benefit to define their creation. That said, 151 is a must have for any Soldier and War Comics collector and is the BA War Key.

Given your condescending tone, I'm not sure there's any point in engaging with you on this.

But for the benefit of people who are reading this thread to find out the answer to the original question, I'll just say that I'm assuming if you had some evidence to back your claim that "Kanigher and Kubert’s intent was always for OAAW 168 to be the Soldier’s first appearance" you would have provided it. I was asking because I thought maybe there was an interview or something? Or a lettercolumn comment that I haven't seen? Because I certainly don't see anything in reading OAAW #168 that they intended that character to ever appear again. And they certainly didn't mention in SSWS #151 that they were bringing back the character from OAAW #168 either. 

You say that "The creators have the exclusive benefit to define their creation." Sure. They have the right to retcon the character however they want. What they don't have the right - or ability - to do is retcon our reality. That reality is this:

OAAW #168 appeared with a cover date of June, 1966. It features a nameless soldier - or soldiers? - only seen in shadow so we can't see his face, who Rock calls "the unknown soldier." The issue is a tribute to the idea of the unknown soldier being the true hero. 

SSWS #151 appeared with a cover date of July, 1970, more than four years later. It introduces a character called The Unknown Soldier who has a distinct narrative shtick - he's a master of disguise who takes on a new identity to fit every new mission. 

SSWS #157 appeared with a cover date of July, 1971, a year later, where they reprinted OAAW #168 with a new framing sequence where Rock basically says "oh, this is not just an unknown solider, it's the Unknown Soldier." 

I'm not sure whether you're claiming that they intended in 1966 for this to be a new character, or whether you're claiming that when they designed the Unknown Solider in 1970 they were thinking of the story from four years earlier, but I don't see any evidence in the comics that either of these things are true. I've read all these comics too, and it seems clear to me barring something to the contrary that I'm not aware of that the story from 1966 is a one-off; that they created a new character in 1970; and that they retconned things in 1971 to tie the two together. I haven't read anything in the actual comics to suggest otherwise. 

I submit that if they intended the character in 1966 to be an actual new character and not just part of a one-off story, they wouldn't have waited four years to actually develop him into, I should add, a pretty different concept with the disguise elements. I also submit that if they intended in 1970 for this to be the same character, they would have said so when they introduced him, and not waited another year. Further, I'll even submit that they had something very different in mind when they did the story in 1966, because the whole point of that story is that it's the unknown, nameless G.I.'s who were the real heroes of WWII and not our big hero Sgt. Rock, and so by retconning that so that it actually was a big hero - the Unknown Soldier instead of the unknown soldier - they completely undermine the entire point of the original story. 

It's a pretty seamless retcon otherwise, and the OAAW #168 story is a good one. But in our universe, as far as everything I've read and am aware of, it's not the first appearance of the Unknown Soldier, because that character wasn't created until 1970. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,053 posts

No horse in this race but very interesting...And interesting how a CGC label can "define" something that may not be as definite as believed to be?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,816 posts
1 hour ago, Crimebuster said:

Given your condescending tone, I'm not sure there's any point in engaging with you on this.

But for the benefit of people who are reading this thread to find out the answer to the original question, I'll just say that I'm assuming if you had some evidence to back your claim that "Kanigher and Kubert’s intent was always for OAAW 168 to be the Soldier’s first appearance" you would have provided it. I was asking because I thought maybe there was an interview or something? Or a lettercolumn comment that I haven't seen? Because I certainly don't see anything in reading OAAW #168 that they intended that character to ever appear again. And they certainly didn't mention in SSWS #151 that they were bringing back the character from OAAW #168 either. 

You say that "The creators have the exclusive benefit to define their creation." Sure. They have the right to retcon the character however they want. What they don't have the right - or ability - to do is retcon our reality. That reality is this:

OAAW #168 appeared with a cover date of June, 1966. It features a nameless soldier - or soldiers? - only seen in shadow so we can't see his face, who Rock calls "the unknown soldier." The issue is a tribute to the idea of the unknown soldier being the true hero. 

SSWS #151 appeared with a cover date of July, 1970, more than four years later. It introduces a character called The Unknown Soldier who has a distinct narrative shtick - he's a master of disguise who takes on a new identity to fit every new mission. 

SSWS #157 appeared with a cover date of July, 1971, a year later, where they reprinted OAAW #168 with a new framing sequence where Rock basically says "oh, this is not just an unknown solider, it's the Unknown Soldier." 

I'm not sure whether you're claiming that they intended in 1966 for this to be a new character, or whether you're claiming that when they designed the Unknown Solider in 1970 they were thinking of the story from four years earlier, but I don't see any evidence in the comics that either of these things are true. I've read all these comics too, and it seems clear to me barring something to the contrary that I'm not aware of that the story from 1966 is a one-off; that they created a new character in 1970; and that they retconned things in 1971 to tie the two together. I haven't read anything in the actual comics to suggest otherwise. 

I submit that if they intended the character in 1966 to be an actual new character and not just part of a one-off story, they wouldn't have waited four years to actually develop him into, I should add, a pretty different concept with the disguise elements. I also submit that if they intended in 1970 for this to be the same character, they would have said so when they introduced him, and not waited another year. Further, I'll even submit that they had something very different in mind when they did the story in 1966, because the whole point of that story is that it's the unknown, nameless G.I.'s who were the real heroes of WWII and not our big hero Sgt. Rock, and so by retconning that so that it actually was a big hero - the Unknown Soldier instead of the unknown soldier - they completely undermine the entire point of the original story. 

It's a pretty seamless retcon otherwise, and the OAAW #168 story is a good one. But in our universe, as far as everything I've read and am aware of, it's not the first appearance of the Unknown Soldier, because that character wasn't created until 1970. 

Your calling me out as condescending and then going on about making an argument by taking part of my entire point isn’t the way to go about this. Look at the remaining part of my argument. There’s only one Unknown Soldier. You can make submissions about World War 2 unnamed heroes but Kanigher and Kubert created one Unknown Soldier in 168 and the story is “I knew the Unknown Soldier,” which is also specified on the cover of 168. Kanigher and Kubert didn’t have any other Unknown Soldier in mind. There’s only one. The fact is they do have license to do what they want with their creation even if it means changing a story to bring that character back to life. That’s done quite often. They could have simply created a new character and left it at that. They didn’t and the significance of 157 is that the Unknown Soldier in 168 is the Unknown Soldier Of 1970. The other thing to keep in mind is that the Soldier’s alter ego is Unknown, and that’s significant in the Soldier’s case because it would provide greater definition. It’s not the creator’s objective to change reality when they are giving greater definition to their creation. Calling this a “seamless retcon” begs the question. The retcon whether seamless or not is in the case of the Soldier, the decision made by Kanigher and Kubert for creative reasons. You can draw your interpretations of the reality of period of 1966 - 1970 as it relates to the Soldier. That’s your right and I respect your position👍

Edited by bronze johnny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,816 posts
11 minutes ago, Wall-Crawler said:

No horse in this race but very interesting...And interesting how a CGC label can "define" something that may not be as definite as believed to be?

CGC rectified this error and now has officially recognized Overstreet’s correct designation that OAAW 168 is the first appearance of the Unknown Soldier while 151 is correctly defined as the Soldier’s first solo book.

The beauty of this hobby is that there are sometimes different “avenues” to defining books- a character’s first appearance doesn’t always follow the same course like AF 15 where Spidey’s first appearance is certain.  There are at times passionate disagreements over a character’s first appearance- Hulk 180 or 181 is a good example, and check out the evolution of Sgt. Rock where OAAW 83 is the Rock’s true first appearance instead of 81, and 82. One reason for 83 as Rock’s first appearance has to do with Kubert’s working with Kanigher on that issue. They were working together on the “evolution” of Sgt. Rock prior to 83. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54,191 posts
1 hour ago, Wall-Crawler said:

No horse in this race but very interesting...And interesting how a CGC label can "define" something that may not be as definite as believed to be?

We've seen inconsistencies like this before. CGC is not an expert in first apps and in cases where there is dispute they should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Edited by Grandmaster B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,621 posts
1 hour ago, Wall-Crawler said:

No horse in this race but very interesting...And interesting how a CGC label can "define" something that may not be as definite as believed to be?

Grandmaster B is right on the money with his comment.

Over the years, there have been many different people at CGC with access to entering information on the labels. This sometimes results in discrepancies, which may be what you're seeing here...

Edited by The Lions Den

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7,945 posts

It's too bad there were no letters of comment printed on #157 in subsequent issues of Star-Spangled War Stories (I just checked my stash).  I'd love to have Kubert on record as to what he was thinking in assembling #157- was it part of some master plan, or instead an expedient last minute solution to an impending deadline?  Put me in the skeptic camp, as I'm leaning towards this being a retcon borne out of necessity.  Consider:

1- after introducing the Unknown Soldier recurring feature in #151, Kubert then gave us his origin in #154, without alluding to any of the events of Our Army at War #168.

2- Two issues into the series, #153 has a reprint "introduced" by the Unknown Soldier in a framing sequence (kind of like #157).  Again in #162 they reprinted an old war story with a couple of new pages as a framing sequence for the Unknown Soldier.  

3- Originally Kubert was both scripting and drawing the feature, bringing on Bob Haney as scripter with #155, and then farming out the art to Doug Wildey in #161 and Dan Spiegle in #163 and #164, before turning the strip over to Jack Sparling on a semi-permanent basis beginning with #165.

All of which makes me wonder if Kubert as artist/writer/editor was spread too thin and reached for a reprint solution at the last minute to get #157 out the door on time.

 

Does anyone have a reader copy of Our Army at War #168 handy?  Apparently the original story was published with 15 pages, the reprint in Star-Spangled #157 was cut to 11.  Any insight from those missing pages?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
842 posts
2 hours ago, bronze johnny said:

Your calling me out as condescending and then going on about making an argument by taking part of my entire point isn’t the way to go about this. Look at the remaining part of my argument. There’s only one Unknown Soldier. You can make submissions about World War 2 unnamed heroes but Kanigher and Kubert created one Unknown Soldier in 168 and the story is “I knew the Unknown Soldier,” which is also specified on the cover of 168. Kanigher and Kubert didn’t have any other Unknown Soldier in mind. There’s only one. The fact is they do have license to do what they want with their creation even if it means changing a story to bring that character back to life. That’s done quite often. They could have simply created a new character and left it at that. They didn’t and the significance of 157 is that the Unknown Soldier in 168 is the Unknown Soldier Of 1970. The other thing to keep in mind is that the Soldier’s alter ego is Unknown, and that’s significant in the Soldier’s case because it would provide greater definition. It’s not the creator’s objective to change reality when they are giving greater definition to their creation. Calling this a “seamless retcon” begs the question. The retcon whether seamless or not is in the case of the Soldier, the decision made by Kanigher and Kubert for creative reasons. You can draw your interpretations of the reality of period of 1966 - 1970 as it relates to the Soldier. That’s your right and I respect your position👍

Your unclear expression and claims to know the creators’ intentions both undermine your arguments. It seems—though I’d never assert to know anyone else’s intent—pretty likely that they had to do a reprint and came up with a framing concept to justify it. Never underestimate the likelihood that frenzied deadlines drive decisions more than long-term thought-out plans did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,816 posts
16 hours ago, JTLarsen said:

Your unclear expression and claims to know the creators’ intentions both undermine your arguments. It seems—though I’d never assert to know anyone else’s intent—pretty likely that they had to do a reprint and came up with a framing concept to justify it. Never underestimate the likelihood that frenzied deadlines drive decisions more than long-term thought-out plans did.

Sorry you didn’t get my earlier post. I stand by my position that Kubert and Kanigher didn’t make the connection for any reason other than to ensure it was the same character. The intent of these creators of the Unknown Soldier is supported by the publication of the story in 157. There’s no alter ego that traditional heroes working undercover here to provide greater definition to this unique character. However, there is a retcon to connect the Unknown Soldier in OAAW 168 to SSWS and that connection wasn’t made by accident. 

As far as frenzied deadlines, take a look at how much Kubert did since SSWS was published every other month and the months preceding issue 157 (including the prior month immediately preceding publication of 157) doesn’t indicate that Kubert was having any issues meeting deadlines and there’s nothing to support the speculation beyond what’s published: that same month he drew the cover and a 12 page story for OAAW 233 that Kanigher wrote, and the cover for G.I. Combat 148. The preceding month had Kubert draw and write a 6 page story and cover for Tomahawk 134 along with his drawing only the covers for OFF 131, DC Special 12, and OAAW 232. Again, there’s no evidence to suggest either way that Kubert was playing catch-up. In fact, I couldn’t find anything about his having difficulty in meeting deadlines and Kubert himself didn’t indicate so (at least I couldn’t find any evidence to support this). I did find some interesting stuff that Kubert said about his time at DC in an interview with the Comics Journal back in 2012:

9BACCBF9-9781-490E-842D-5DF4D8D47D79.jpeg.7eac8fbc059f235c892bb3ab27bf1b3f.jpeg

There’s OAAW 168 and SSWS 157 making the connection. We can spend from now until the end of time arguing whether Kubert and Kanigher intended to throw it in or not because Joe would not make any change to Kanigher’s writing without the latter’s ok for which there is no evidence that he disapproved since the story was amended and published. The fact is that Kubert and Kanigher, are the creators, not some later generation writer/artist trying to benefit from redefining someone else’s creation. One thing about Robert Kanigher is that he was no slouch nor was he sloppy about his work and creations (John Romita has mentioned a story about making a slight change to Kanigher’s writing and how Kanigher’s reaction was far from positive). That being said, you’re welcome to speculate that Kubert was working with great challenges on meeting deadlines. I can respect that.

Best,

john
 

 

Edited by bronze johnny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
198 posts

Not to get off-topic but Kubert and others did some tricky moves in this era to make use of reprint material, like the following:

Bomba the Jungle Boy becomes Simba (Tarzan 100-pagers)

Hopalong Cassidy becomes Monty West (Tomahawk)

Dobie Gillis becomes Windy & Willy (Showcase -on)

My point being that the DC editors found creative ways to rework old stuff for their purposes (in those cases all formerly licensed properties).  So taking an old OAAW story and chopping it for SSWS was not something I would try to read into as a particularly big deal.  Likely most readers had no clue, in some cases at least, that reprinted pages were appearing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0