Hank Chapman

Hank Chapman

Hank Chapman (living status unknown) is an American comic book writer for Marvel Comics' two predecessors, Timely Comics and Atlas Comics, and later for DC Comics, where he specialized in war fiction. Though much of his Timely/Atlas work went unsigned, comics historians estimate that Chapman, a staff writer, penned several hundred or more stories.

Among his notable works is an early self-reflexive story, in 1951, in which he and editor Stan Lee appear; and the creation, with artist Jack Abel, of the DC Comics character Sgt. Mule, a pack animal that helped its Allied keepers fight the Nazis in a variety of World War II stories.


Chapman's earliest known credit is as one of the many Golden Age of comic books professionals who contributed to the epic crossover battle between the Sub-Mariner and the original Human Torch in "Marvel Mystery Comics" #8-10 (June-Aug. 1940), plus an additional story in "The Human Torch" #5 (Fall 1941; due to a numbering quirk, there was a previous #5, cover-dated Summer 1941). His precise contributions are as lost to history as those of other writers and artists who legendarily jammed on this hastily created confrontation. As described by historian Jess Nevins in his online article "The Timely Comics Story", Sub-Mariner creator Bill Everett and Human Torch creator Carl Burgos

Wayne Boring or Al Plastino (sources differ).] By the following decade, Chapman was one of at least five staff writers (officially titled editors) under editor-in-chief Stan Lee at Marvel forerunner Atlas, along with Ernie Hart, Paul S. Newman, Don Rico, Carl Wessler, and, on teen-humor comics, future "Mad Magazine" cartoonist Al Jaffee. Among the titles for which Chapman wrote, beginning in early 1951, are the horror/fantasy series "Adventures into Terror", "Adventures into Weird Worlds", "Astonishing", "Marvel Tales", "Mystery Tales", "Spellbound", "Strange Tales", "Suspense", and "Uncanny Tales"; the war titles "Battle", "Battle Action", "Battlefield", "Battlefront", "Battle Brady", "Combat Casey", "Combat", "War Action", "War Adventures", "War Combat" and "War Comics"; the Westerns "Red Warrior" and "The Texas Kid"; the adventure-drama series "Girl Comics", "Man Comics", "Men's Adventures", and "Young Men"; the crime fiction series "Crime Exposed" and "Justice"; the romance titles "True Secrets" "Love Romances"; and such miscellanea as "Sports Action", and "Speed Carter, Spaceman".

Chapman's last known Atlas works were in comics cover-dated May 1954. His next known credit is a story in the DC anthology title "All-American Men of War" #18 (Feb. 1955), followed by four years without recorded credits until his name surfaced in two June 1959 DC titles, "G.I. Combat" #73 and "Our Fighting Forces" #46. These would be the first of at least 105 war stories he would write in those comics along with "Our Army at War", "Sea Devils", "Capt. Storm" , and "Star Spangled War Stories".

His and artist Jack Abel's character Sgt. Mule — whose name, "Millie", meant she was actually not a mule (male) but a hinny (female) — appeared with various keepers including Private Mulvaney ("Our Army at War" #149 & 160, "Star Spangled War Stories" #136); Private Skinner ("G.I. Combat" #104); and Private Smith ("Our Army At War" #117).

Chapman's last recorded credit is the story "Paper Bullets", with artist Abel, in "Our Army At War" #181 (June 1967)

Chapman, who married Bonnie Hano, a production staffer at Atlas, later left comics to become a magazine writer. [Interview with Atlas/Marvel artist Stan Goldberg, "Alter Ego" #18 (Oct. 2002), p. 12]


Tony Isabella: "Chapman wrote hundreds of fine stories for Timely/Atlas and DC Comics from the 1940s through the early 1960s" [ [http://www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/back20050809.shtml Tony's Online Tips (column of Aug. 9, 2005), by Tony Isabella] ]


"Chronological by date of original publication"

*"Monsters on the Prowl" #21 (Feb. 1973)::"The Drop of Water" (art: Gene Colan), from "Marvel Tales" #105 (Feb. 1952)
*"Crypt of Shadows" #4 (July 1973)::"Locked up!" (art: Carmine Infantino), from "Adventures Into Weird Worlds" #9 (Aug. 1952)
*"G.I. Combat" #148 (July 1971)::"Blind Bomber" (art: Mort Drucker), from "Star Spangled War Stories" #84 (Aug. 1959)
*"DC Special Series" #18 (Fall 1979)::"Frogman Fury" (art: Ross Andru & Mike Esposito), from "Our Army at War" #102 (Jan. 1961)
*"G.I. Combat" #146 (March 1972)::"The Secret Battle Eye" (art: Joe Kubert), from "Our Fighting Forces" #66 (Feb. 1962)
*"Our Fighting Forces" #133 (Oct. 1971)::"No Place for a PT Boat" (art: Joe Kubert), from "Our Fighting Forces" #76 (May 1963)
*"G.I. Combat" #144 (Nov. 1971)::"Straw Pilot" (art: Joe Kubert), from "Our Army at War" #147 (Oct. 1964)



* [http://www.ess.comics.org/ess/docvstan.html "A Look at the Atlas Pre-Code Crime and Horror Work of Stan Lee", by Dr. Michael J. Vassallo]
* [http://www.fanzing.com/mag/fanzing36/feature2.shtml "Our Fighting Forces", by John Wells]
* [http://www.dcindexes.com/database/creator-details.php?creatorid=489 Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics: The DC Database]
* [http://www.lib.msu.edu/comics/ Michigan State University Libraries: Index to the Comic Art Collection]
* [http://www.comicsvf.com/us/1854.php ComicsVF.com: "Astonishing"]
* [http://www.comics.org/ The Grand Comic Book Database]
* [http://www.atlastales.com/ Atlas Tales]
* [http://www.maelmill-insi.de/UHBMCC/ The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators]

External links

* [http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/pedgcurtis/Storyw1_page_1.htm Four-page story "The Nightmare" fromm "Astonishing" #4 (June 1951)]

Further reading

* "Hank Chapman, Man Of Mystery", "The Tomb" #13 (June 2004): UK horror-comics magazine, Peter Normanton, editor
*Bails, Jerry, & Ware, Hames, "The Who's Who of American Comic Books" (privately published, 1973-76); entry, p. 31

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