In 1950 the genius independently filmed movie Destination Moon was released. It stood as the trail blazing sci-fi movie that genuinely tried to examine the dangers of man attempting to fly to the moon and return safely back to Earth. The movie was produced by the combined genius of producer George Pal and the prolific actor/director Irving Pichel. It was co-written by Robert A. Heinlein, based on his novel Rocket Ship Galileo.
To coincide with the movie a comic book was produced to tell the story, but also inject scientific facts about travel to the moon into the story. In addition Pal included the famous cartoon character Woody Woodpecker, as he was a friend of Woody creator Walter Lantz. Woody featured in a cartoon that was shown as a short alongside Destination Moon, as well as being cleverly inserted into the the movie itself. The itself comic book stands out as a classic and early movie tie-in.
The Cross and the Switchblade was originally a book written in 1962 by pastor David Wilkerson with John and Elizabeth Sherrill. It quickly became a best seller, with over 16 million copies being sold around teh world, with it being translated into 16 languages. The book told the true story of Wilkerson's first five years living and working as an evangelical pastor in New York City. He focused his work on reaching disillusioned young people on the streets, attempting to encourage them to turn away from the drugs and gang violence. In 1970, the book was adapted into a movie, that starred the goody-goody singer Pat Boone as Wilkerson and Erik Estrada (in his screen debut) as Nicky Cruz, the teen gang member whose life was transformed by Wilkerson's ministry. Then in 1972, the Christian comic book publishers Spire Christian Comics under the leadership of Al Hartley, adapted the story as one of their many Christian comic book propaganda pieces produced during the 70s.
From the first Gulf War era, comes this jingoistic one shot piece of war propaganda. The comic is a ramped up, pumped-up, version of other military propaganda comics that have been published in the past. Oddly to off-set the over-the-top nonsense of the main story, the back cover features a Rocky and Bulwinkle parody, called "Iraqi and Abdulwinkle"!
In particular reference to the idiocy of the Nazi claims of there being a superior Aryan race, the piece ridicules Hitler and his cronies, for not even being physically like the Aryan ideal that they promoted. The story was reprinted and distributed as a propaganda pamphlet. Even though there was still endemic racism and segregation in the United States at the time, Hecht was someone who used his position to spread an anti-racism message in order to try and educate young readers of True Comics.
Quite frankly the whole thing is utterly bizarre, that rather than informing readers of the horrors of the regime in Libya, it ridicules and parodies in a juvenile and often puerile way. Who the target audience was for this one-off comic book is anyone's guess. But it has become a cult comic book collectible.