The ‘Nam #4 (1987)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Editor: Larry Hama

Writer: Doug Murray
Pencils: Michael Golden
Letters/Colorist: Phil Felix

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? I’ve decided to share a comic from the $.25 bin review I did for Erasing Clouds. Get ready for the 1987 Marvel combat classic, The ‘Nam #4.

The Vietnam War was a televised conflict that exposed the horrors of combat to American families during the evening news. At times upbeat and at times critical, television crews delivered a glimpse into the world of American soldiers serving their country. TV played a key role during the Vietnam War, mainly fueling anti-war sentiment. A television correspondent joins a village surveillance mission in issue #4 of The ‘Nam titled “Six O’Clock News”.

Sergeant Top, a menacing figure, informs his soldiers that Dennis Lawrence will be filming an upcoming mission for a major network. The soldiers are excited about being on television, and maybe their families will see them in action. Top leads a fleet of helicopters into a supposed Viet-Cong (VC) friendly village, but Top seems to be more interested in getting good shots for Lawrence instead of focusing upon the mission. Lawrence, portrayed as an effeminate figure that is out of place in the masculine world of war, is excited about the great footage Top is providing. A surprise attack by VC forces destroys a few helicopters which leads to the rest of the helicopters landing in the middle of heavy gun fire. After regrouping and calling in an air-strike, the soldiers evacuate leaving the village in flames. Although the soldiers survived a chaotic battle, their efforts were not filmed due to a technical mistake by Lawrence.

The ‘Nam was one of the underrated greats in the comic book universe. It did not act as pro-American propaganda, but instead gave a somewhat gritty and unapologetic glimpse into the Vietnam War. “Six O’Clock News” is a good story by writer Doug Murray featuring great penciling by Michael Golden who is able to create a cartoon like visuals that do not come across as silly or childish.


TonyDoug Wright is the owner and head writer at Champion City Comics, a webcomics and comic book community, and is the owner of 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.