As per the standard in other Marvel titles, Stan Lee eventually departed and left the reigns to another writer, in this case, Roy Thomas. Issues #29-41 featured the first major creative shake-up since the departure of Kirby as penciler.

Thomas made his mark on the title with the return of Eric Koenig, adding him to the main cast of Howlers, the last major addition the title would see. In an attempt to boost the rouges gallery, Colonel Klaue is introduced, a decidedly Marvel-like villain with a metallic arm, who would rise to rival only Von Strucker in menacing the Howlers. The plots also took on a little more variety in locations and sometimes took more then a few noticeable cues from films.

Despite these changes, the trend with Thomas' issues are average, but exciting adventures, with only #35-37 rising as classics in his run.

Supporting characters begin to make more of an impression in this run, with more appearances by Bull McGiviney and his second-in-command Ricketts Johnson, Captain "Skipper" Savage, and love interest for Dino, Ilsa Koenig.

For more on Roy Thomas' time on Sgt. Fury, check out our 2012 interview with him here


Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #29  "Armageddon!" 
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • First issue scripted by Roy Thomas, one of only two writers to write for both of Nick Fury's 1960's title series.
  • The creative team of Ayers/Thomas settles down for the next 13 issues.
  • Appearance by Hitler, Gobbels and Skipper Savage.
  • This story is recreated in the 1993 Fury oneshot.
  • Reprinted in
    • Sgt. Fury #131
    • King Sized Sgt. Fury #7
    • Sgt. Fury Marvel Masterworks v.3

Picking up directly from last issue, Fury and the Howlers are caught in a gambit with Von Strucker and his men in the town of Chebeux. Evacuating the town, Von Strucker unleashes a string of explosions in the town setting a fiery backdrop to Fury and Von Strucker's battle.

After the rather insightful script that was the last issue, Thomas busies himself with wrapping up the story without delivering anything really special. The last-minute rebellion by Von Strucker's officer ignores Von Strucker's act of letting the townspeople go and seems to be thrown in just to remind readers that Von Strucker is a nasty character (yes, I realize he was willing to sacrifice the town, but he didn't). The last half of the issue, the "final" mano-a-mano" between Fury and Von Strucker with a blazing town burning to hell around them although not boasting the best dialogue (contrast it with their Strange Tales battle), remains impressive visually and would later inspire many a flashback in other Fury stories. Although the original issues themselves (and Von Strucker's later return) hardly peg it as the milestone that the story has gone on to enjoy, the final words from Von Strucker do however gain a strong resonance in light of the future.

Its interesting to note how this story resonates within the Fury canon. SHIELD v.2's opening arc presents a flashback scenario that reverses the story in this issue; Von Strucker responsible for the massacre of civilians in a German town (Gruenstadt) in 1944. The events are indeed very similar on a surface level and may have been meant to replace them, highlighting the Baron's evil and using the situation as a "final battle" between the characters (thus the setting in 1944, despite Von Strucker long being out of favor with Hitler by this time). The 1993 Fury oneshot opens with a splash page recreating the cover to this issue, citing the events of Chebeux as happening in 1944, this time stating that Fury convinces Von Strucker to have everyone leave (the original issues clearly shows its what Von Strucker wanted all along) and they duke it out in the burning town. Furthermore the oneshot provides an epilogue involving Rick Stoner and Fury having to answer to his unorthodox methods. In both cases Von Strucker's decision to evacuate the village according to his code of honor is ignored in favor of highlighting his villainy.

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #30  "Incident In Italy!"
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • Reprinted in:
    • Sgt Fury #132
    • King-Sized Sgt. Fury #7
    • Sgt. Fury Marvel Masterworks v.3
  • Dino mentions playing Wyatt Earp in a film before enlisting.
  • The young partisan is clearly intended to be movie actress Sophia Loren.

The Howlers parachute into an impossible battle in Italy where much to the surprise of the squad, Sgt. Fury orders that they all surrender. Taken to a nearby prison camp, Fury reveals the mission to the rest, make contact with prison commander, secretly a partisan, and steal Mussolini's secret cache of gold. The partisan prison camp commander is found out and the Howlers have to make an impromptu break out of the camp. Outside they are aided by teenaged partisan, named Sophia (Loren?) who helps them drive the gold out of Italy.  

The Great Escape is mined once again for this tale's first half with the last half not quite living up to the description of "one of the most unique motorcades of all time". Plenty of action ad quips galore, although Pinkerton's action spotlight is uneven and just exposes the silliness of his umbrella antics when its overdone. The surprise 'guest-star' is certainly a surprise, although the idea of Howlers hitting on a 16 year-old girl is a bit awkward. And the classic line in this story has to be, upon Fury learning that the young partisan leading to the gold is in fact a 16 year old girl (and Sophia Loren no less) and not a boy, Fury exclaims, "Well chalk up another boner for knucklehead Nick Fury!" Indeed. 

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #31 "Into The Jaws Of...Death!"
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • Reprinted in #92 and #133 and Sgt. Fury Marvel Masterworks v.3

Happy Sam is jumped by Nazi agents outside of Allied headquarters in London and smuggled to Gestapo headquarters in France where the enemy pump him for info on Operation Overlord. The Nazis give word that they have Happy Sam and Fury leads the Howlers in for a rescue mission.  

Solid, but average issue features the Howlers in battle over land, sea, and air. With the exception of seeing Happy Sam in action with and without the Howlers, there's really nothing here you haven't seen. Major Frobisher is another in a long line of inept goose-steppers and it all seems status-quo.  Even Izzy seems to realize the repetition of the issue when comments on the Nazi message denting his helmet again. Not really worth it unless you find it in the quarter box. 

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #32  "A Traitor In Our Midst!" 
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • Reprinted in #93 and #134 and Sgt. Fury Marvel Masterworks v.3

Dr. Daneeka infiltrates the First Attack Squad headquarters as a doctor sent to give the Howlers their physical. There he implants one of them with a hypnotic suggestion which comes into play on the Howlers next mission, to retrieve a shipment of heavy water in Norway.  

The Manchurian Candidate meets The Heroes of Telemark in this exciting story which spotlights our favorite Flatbush mechanic. Thomas wrings out some nice humor from the familiar army physical routines (Percy keeps his scarf on!) and Dum Dum quips one of his best marriage joke. Some minor suspense is maintained for the final act and gives Izzey a juicy part to play. Also worth noting for aviation fans, a Messerschmit jet puts in a nice appearance. 

Sgt. Fury King-Size Special #2 "A Day of Thunder"
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • Features reprints of :
    • Sgt Fury #11
    • Strange Tales #135
    • Sgt. Fury Marvel Masterworks v.3
  • Appearance by Frenchie, 'Happy' Sam, and General Dwight Eisenhower

The Howlers initiate a complex plan a day in advance of D-Day to cripple Nazi defenses along Normandy. Capturing German officers, blowing up Luftwaffe air bases and ammunitions dump. Along the way they are captured and nearly executed, but a rescue by French underground allows the Howlers to continue their wave of demolitions. Eventually the Howlers meet up with Allied soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy and guide them in against the enemy. 

A day of thunder indeed; the Howlers engage in a full two days of grueling combat that wraps up in the midst of D-Day. Thomas easily weaves in the historical with the fictional exploits of Fury and Howlers very well. Frenchie and the French underground score a rare rescue of the Howlers from imminent death. The thoughts of the Howlers at the end of the invasion are appropriate to the moment. Dugan's attack on his captors with the pole still tied to his back is classic Howler action. Nonetheless, the story itself doesn't feature anything spectacular but it's an enjoyable read. 




Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #33 "The Grandeur That Was Greece!"
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#34 "The Origin Of The Howlers!" 
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #35 "Berlin Breakout!" 

Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • An imaginative alternate version of origin events can be found in What If... #14 (1)
  • Appearances by Bull McGiviney, Skipper Savage and Ricketts Johnson
  • Eric Koenig joins the main cast, last seen in #27.
  • Dino is flown stateside due to injuries.
  • Storyline reprinted consecutively in #135 -137 and Sgt. Fury Marvel Masterworks v.4
  • Issue #33 reprinted in #99, #34 in #101, and #35 in #103

The Howlers are assigned to accompany Peter Kazantis of the Greek resistance. Ferried to the Greek mainland by Captain Savage and his submarine crew, the Howlers run into a trap set up by a traitor in the ranks of the resistance. Capture and escapes later, Fury is forced to leave his men behind as he escorts Kazantis away from the Nazis.

Returning to base, Fury and Sawyer await G-2's locating the captured Howlers, allowing for time for recollection as to how Happy Sam recruited Fury and Red Hargrove for a mission in Holland, where Fury first met Dum Dum (read: flashback issue).

Intelligence learns the Howlers are being held in Berlin and Happy Sam comes up with a cover mission to learn troop placements in Berlin to insert Fury, McGiviney, Johnson and Eric Koenig behind enemy lines to rescue the team.

Thomas' jewel in the crown of his run on the title, adding new life to the tile with the reintroduction of the Koenigs, Eric and Ilsa and a flashback issue that answers some long asked questions about the origin of the Howlers. Substantial back story is given to Fury, Happy Sam and Dum Dum with #34, a must have issue for ALL Nick Fury fans. The Guns of Navarone offers more then a little inspiration to #33 and #34 is a classic Howlers escape, on television no less. The addition of Koenig is hands down one of the best innovations in the team, besting even Pinky as his character's German background and his sister Ilsa went on to add considerable story material in the future. These issues are a must in every Fury fan's library. 

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #36  "My Brother, My Enemy!"
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • Reprinted in #105 and #138.
  • The driver, whose jeep Fury commandeers is supposed to be Jason Sitwell, father of future SHIELD agent Jasper.

Rookie Howler, Eric Koenig faces an emotionally charged mission as he must square off against his childhood friend, Wilhelm Hauser; now an SS officer guarding a Nazi strategist aboard an Italian-bound train.

Espionage laced-tale makes excellent use of newbie Howler Koenig, with Thomas milking his German roots for all its worth. Koenig's inner turmoil of having to prove himself to the rest of the team and somehow make up for his nation's atrocities makes for a healthy dose of drama into a title which too easily settles just for humor and lite-action. The story cleverly foreshadows the future spying that Nick Fury, Dum Dum, and Gabe will do in their SHIELD careers, and in fact the entire team seems well-suited for more missions of this sort. The only drawback that prevents this from being a guaranteed classic is a silly last-minute change to their army uniforms before the fisticuffs, truly a silly development in an otherwise stellar issue. 

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #37 "In The Desert...To Die!"
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers (Cover by Gil Kane)
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • Reprinted in #107

The Howlers parachute into North Africa to learn the mystery of the Desert Hawk, a nomad warrior who is leading raids against English forces. There the Howlers learn that the real Hawk is a prisoner of the Nazis, who are forcing the warrior's daughter, Sheila, to lead the desert warriors against the Allies.

Roy Thomas's spin on Lawrence of Arabia makes for an exciting change-of-pace issue with plenty of action for most of the cast (except Gabe). Reb's horsemanship and lasso tricks actually seem natural for once and he even gets the company of desert babe (with sexy British accent even!) Sheila, although by issue's end the privileges of rank earn Fury her affections. Also Dum Dum once again proves he's the best Howler to get captured, but sadly Percy's involvement in the story seems like a missed opportunity for some good fun. 

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #38  "This One's For Dino!" 
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Bob Agnew
  • Reprinted in #109

After a letter from a recuperating and nearly paralyzed Dino, the Howlers hop a plane for an unauthorized mission behind enemy lines to find the only doctor who can save Dino's legs.

Another rescue mission, another daring raid on an enemy stronghold, more dumb goose-steppers for the team to butt heads with, its all status-quo with this one. Thomas wisely enliven the tale with plenty of supporting players like Dr. Warren Parker and recent nisei recruit Jim Morita, but in the end its less then the sum of its parts. If anything this issue is worth reading for Izzey trying to pass off 'pig Latin' as German to a Nazi sentry, otherwise, this one is only worth it from the quarter box. 

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #39 "Into The Fortress Of...Fear!" 
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Artie Simek

  • First appearance of Colonel Klaue
  • Reprinted in #111

The Howlers break into a Nazi fortress, under the command of Colonel Klaue, where a new jet plane is being tested and built.

Notable for the first appearance of the future steel-fisted leader of the Blitz Squad, this issue is fun, but nothing you haven't already seen before. Another Messerschmit  jet shows up and the Howlers somehow manage to cram themselves all into the cockpit. Koenig pulls a Dino with a group of pretty, young frauleins and the rest of the team get their moment of action. Confrontation between Fury and Klaue is hardly earth shattering and lacks the tension of those with Von Strucker, but its nice to see the Howlers get a regular foe again. 

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #40 "...That France Might Be Free!" 
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • Reprinted in #113
  • Appearance by 'Happy' Sam
  • Dino returns to the Howlers, having recuperated from his wounds.

Frenchie is captured and the Howlers hightail it to France to rescue him. Along the way they run afoul of a Nazi ploy for the Howlers to break out an imposter instead.

Excellent issue with plenty of Howler one-on-one action and a plot with some surprises in store. Frenchie makes a welcome return to the comic and the plot involving his imposter is quite good. In fact, while reading it I was expecting the German-hating Frenchwoman to reveal herself to be a traitor. Dino's return at issue's end is also another welcome surprise. Thomas captures the Howler formula well in this issue; pitting the Howlers in close-quarters action that involves allot of improv and daring escapes. The mention of Eric's sister foreshadows future issues well.

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #41 "Blitzkrieg In Britain!"
Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: Dick Ayers
Inks: John Tartaglione
Letters: Sam Rosen

  • Roy Thomas' last issue as solo writer.
  • Appearances by the Blitz squad and their new leader Colonel Klaue.

Dino's back and he's got the Howlers for his Army training film. Meanwhile, Dino's latest lady love is really a double agent and she is the key to Colonel Klaue's and the Blitz Squad's revenge on Fury and his men.

Fast paced issue juggles Dino's return to the Howlers, his ill-fated romance with Nina, and a return appearance by Colonel Klaue AND the Blitzers. The last half features one of the best Howlers/Blitzers showdown, with only Fury's bout with Klaue a tad on the under whelming side. Also Fury's little speech where he invokes Junior and Pam seems a tad much for the occasion, but oh well. All in all, this is certainly one to go out and get. 

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