A Tribute to the of

Well, I'm sorry to report we’ve lost another Golden Age artist. As I type this, on July the 12, 2017, in the wee hours of the morning, Sam Glanzman set sail for his final voyage, likely aboard his beloved U.S.S. Stevens.

I only spoke to Sam once, but it was a nice interview he gave to me and I've mentioned his generosity before. He gifted me with a few things and I'll always be grateful. Sam was to be a special guest at the 2015 San Diego Con, but after searching around I learned he had to cancel and while the rest of the time was great, I was always a little disappointed I didn't get to meet him and shake his hand.

Drew Ford has been diligently working on a campaign to raise some funds for a tribute book to Sam and to help defray some medical expenses, so if you’re of a mind to help, please check it out.

Sam had a regular feature in the Joe Kubert Presents series back in 2012 and 2013, based on his memories of his time aboard the U.S.S. Stevens, obviously his most recognized body of work and each was a treasure, with incredibly detailed art penciled and inked by Sam. In issue #1 [Sage #303], Joe Kubert talks about his friend and his very deliberate recruitment of Sam for this 6-issue mini-series, though that’s a bit of a misnomer. These books were 52-page anthology and there's nothing "mini" about that. Back to Joe's comments from page 37: "I got hold of Sam Glanzman, an artist who I always admired. He was kind of retired up in the northwoods of New York State. He agreed to take up the reins by doing some stories about the U.S.S. Stevens, a destroyer on which he served during World War II. So, he picked up his pencil, pen and brush and went to work. I was thrilled when I saw his first stories, and I'm sure you will be, too." Each of the six stories by Sam are excellent, so it was a tough decision, but I settled on his “U.S.S. Stevens Snapshots” from issue #3 (February 2013), partly due to the wraparound cover by Joe Kubert, who also edited the books and it's nautical theme. It seemed appropriate.

The 10-pager (and of course it was written, penciled and inked by Sam) starts with Mr. Glanzman's trademark realistic depictions of U.S. Naval warships. Sam takes us back to August 31, 1943 where the U.S.S. Stevens, along with two battleships, three carriers and other destoyers were on a warm-up raid on Marcus Island in the Pacific. "Our aircraft and the big guns of the battleships South Dakota and Alabama smashed the hell out of Marcus Island, then…CEASE FIRE! CEASE FIRE!"

The U.S.S. Stevens, following orders, departed. Sam then depicts a young Seaman Glanzman talking with his shipmate "Pinky" about how lovely the day is and calling the clouds "God’s pillows." Pinky is thunderstruck and reminds Sam they're at war, but Glanzman replies that during this welcome lull it's more like a pleasure cruise and it sends him into reminiscing about his childhood in Virginia.

He recalls being aboard a cruise ship or ferry with his mother and opening a cabinet. Startled, he runs to tell his mother he’s discovered a dead chicken. His mother shows him it's actually a feather duster.

Later, back to business as the destroyer takes out an enemy refinery "somewhere off Borneo," shelling with impunity. With that successful mission, the crew is again enjoying a little down time when Pinky comments to Sam that he thought he was from New York, not Virginia. Sam replies that New York is home now, but he and his family lived in a shack off the highway directly behind a large sign board. He describes his dog, "Buddy," the outhouse they used and the pump in the kitchen for water.

Interrupting his trip down memory lane, the crew notices Minesweepers on detail clearing the harbor of enemy mines. Sadly, both the Quail and Bluebird strike mines and suffer heavy damage. The skipper of the U.S.S. Stevens decides to investigate, but he has a theory. Sure enough it wasn't mines striking the 'sweepers, but an enemy gun battery concealed in a cave ashore. The destroyer deployed three shells from an aft mount and made short work of the enemy position.

Story time begins again afterward with Pinky asking Sam about any friends he had as a boy in Virginia. He mentions a native boy named Ralph Cloud. He mentions how the friend and his family had a horse they rode bareback, the moving around the Glanzman family did, living in an old one-room schoolhouse and with friends on a farm where his brother, Dave fell into a pig wallow. Then Sam's memories turn to a later time, after his Naval career. "I never thought that later, once out of the Navy, I would live on a mountain…yeah! A mountain in the hills of Oneonta, New York. I spent almost ten lonely years on that mountain. Not always alone, mind you. My children called the place "Daddy’s Mountain." They visited often and I had my work, my bike, a cat I called Eve and her four kittens: Eeny, Meeny, Miney and Moe. And there was my dog, "Beauty", always by my side. She would sit by me for hours like she was sharing my thoughts on life and God."

"But that’s another story…maybe for next time!"

I loved the personal touches in this story and indeed in all Sam's U.S.S. Stevens tales. They alone were worth the price of admission and I highly recommend these anthology books that were one of Joe Kubert's final projects.

You'll be missed, sailor, but we thank you for your many wonderful sea stories and to paraphraise an old mariner's blessing, may you enjoy fair winds and following seas, shipmate.

You'll want to visit us again on the first of August for the latest review. You know the way and if you've got anything on your mind to include questions or comments, you know how to express yourself, too. Just send an e-mail to me at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you then and...

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2017 by B.D.S.

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