The ‘Nam #16
Marvel Comics
Year Published: 1988

Writer: Doug Murray
Art: Wayne Vansant and Geof Isherwood
Letters: Augustin Mas

Gems in the Bin is a weekly column where I select a comic book from the $.25 bin at Fanfare Sports and Entertainment in Kalamazoo, Michigan for review. Will I strike gold or will I pay too much for an awful comic that should have been shredded? This week has been very hectic for me, and I didn’t have time to grab a gem from the bin. However, I wrote a column like this for Erasing Clouds, a music and literature blog, back in the day. I’m sharing an October 2006 find from Fanfare Sports and Entertainment. The comic was The ‘Nam #16.

Originally posted at Erasing Clouds.

When I was eight years old, my parents purchased a copy of GI Joe #4 and gave it to me as a gift for my first communion. So what does this have to do with The ‘Nam? Larry Hama, the main writer for GI Joe, was also the co-creator of The ‘Namand served as consulting editor for this unsentimental series that examined the live of various Vietnam soldiers. This popular series ran from 1986 until 1993 when poor sales forced Marvel to discontinue The ‘Nam.

In this issue titled ‘Good for the Goose’, Sgt. Rob Little is sent with his platoon to examine South Vietnamese villages for VC activity. The tension in high in Little’s platoon, especially due to the fact that one solider, Jerry Ramnarian, is more interested in drugs than following orders. During a routine village inspection, the platoon is ambushed and forced to retreat. Helicopters are called in to pick up the soldiers and to fire rockets into the village. Little is saved but Ramnarian is left behind, presumed dead, and captured by the VC.

Doug Murray’s script is not a glorification of war, but it is a dose of reality for those who experienced the nightmare that was Vietnam. Well written and captivating, The ‘Nam also benefits from the art of Wayne Vansant and Geof Isherwood. It appears that my luck with the $.25 bin is paying off because I snagged another bargain.


TonyDoug Wright is the owner and head writer at Champion City Comics, a webcomics community, and at The Lost Soul of Rock and Roll, a weekday rock music blog. He is also a proud father and is married to the coolest and most beautiful girl on the planet.