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Navy Combat #1-20 (June 1955 - Aug. 1958).

Navy Combat #10

Torpedo Taylor is the head of the torpedo room on the U.S.S. Barracuda during World War Two. As you can see from the image on this page, he's a strapping lad; he's as good with his fists as he is at running the Barracuda's torpedo room. He's more than just a pretty face, however; he's got a good brain in his head, and often contributes ideas that help sink Japanese ships and save the Barracuda. In one story he pilots--by hand--a torpedo at a damaged Japanese ship, hence his nickname.

Taylor is a high-spirited sort, often getting in trouble with the Barracuda's C.O., but when times are worst Taylor comes through with the gunshot or the idea that saves the Barracuda and helps kill the "Japs."

Taylor is one of the few naval heroes of the Atlas line that I know about; there's Sailor Sweeney, but as far as I know he's much more of a humor character than one meant to be taken seriously, as Torpedo Taylor so obviously is intended. Far more space was given to the "Rock" Murdocks and Combat Kelly.

But then, that reflects the traditional bias in the military towards the fighting grunt and away from the swabs. Unlike many of the other Atlas military stories, the Torpedo Taylor stories were more open in their bias towards the enemy, the Japanese being portrayed in very racist and stereotypical terms. Navy Combat #20


All the "Torpedo" Taylor's stories was drawn by a fantastic Don Heck, inked by himself.

His style remember strongly Milton Caniff and Frank Robbins. His work in this series is, in my opinion, one of the best in his career.

Artist Jerry Ordway said:

"Several years back, around December of '88, I met Don at the DC Comics Christmas party.  Al Vey and I spent most of the party talking with Mr. Heck, who was a truly nice guy.  He was filled with anecdotes about early Marvel, and also aware of what was going on currently in the field, which impressed me.  I had the pleasure of inking Don's work, when an unpublished Steel the Indestructible Man issue was integrated into a couple of issues of All-Star Squadron back in the early eighties.  Needless to say, it was a great learning experience for me, as well as a thrill, as he was a favorite of mine for his work on Iron Man and The Avengers.

Don Heck was a truly underappreciated artist.  His Atlas work (Pre-Marvel) was terrific, with a clean sharp style, and an ink line that wouldn't quit.  He will be missed, but his work lives on."


Navy Combat #7