the Wanderling


The below multi-page illustrated story "JEEP," drawn by master cartoonist and artist Jack Davis, first appeared in issue #27 of Two Fisted Tales published May - June 1952.

From the get go the story is fairly straight forward making it clear that the events so depicted transpired during the Korean War. Both the month and year is stated in the opening paragraph as well as the fact that the story coincides time-wise with the one year anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Two things are of major importance here, at least as they apply to me and what is being presented. First, the story circulates around a jeep, the importance of which will come clear in a moment, and secondly, the fact that the story carries a strong supernatural ring to it

Briefly, a G.I. named Fisher, a private slick sleeve in the U.S. Army and a FNG, is assigned as the driver of a brand new, zero mileage jeep. For some unseen and unknown reason Fisher, organic and endowed with consciousness, and the jeep, azoic and inorganic, bond or link together somehow in a mysterious, almost supernatural, Siddhi like way.

For example, when Fisher, his sergeant and captain, out on some undisclosed mission, possibly recon, run into an enemy road block, the accelerator jams open causing the jeep to race through the piled up debris and a barrage of machine-gun fire without harm. Fisher is congratulated for a job well done, but the jeep, not Fisher did it. Then, as the lead vehicle in a small convoy on the way to deliver a load of ammo the jeep stalls. The driver following directly behind them, having no tolerance or patience for the stall, speeds around them and no sooner than they do than they hit a land mine blowing them to pieces. Later on Fisher and the sergeant are out in the jeep searching for casualties when they are suddenly ambushed by what looks like a Korean irregular using a tommy gun. Fisher dies straight out and the jeep never starts again.

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Korean War, May 7, 1951. The photo above, a wartime event forever caught in stop-motion that happened even before I ever started high school, a photograph of an event that I, for whatever reason, have never forgot. The photo shows three American G.I.'s lighting up their cigarettes during a break in battle using the red hot barrel of a machine gun that got that way after firing nearly nonstop all night long trying to ward off hordes of advancing Red troops attacking them somewhere in central Korea.

"The boy's jeep started up a second later! Now don't tell me that was a coincidence! That jeep had an
instinct! That jeep knew the road was mined! That jeep was alive! I watched both grow into veterans!"

"Any young kid growing up who had a jeep in their childhood, especially one of the early World War II jeeps, more than likely have a million stories to tell. I have a few myself, some minor, some humorous, some inconsequential, others of major proportions and forever unforgettable. From a young boy searching for gold to fighting fires through to my adolescent years racing locomotives across raw desert land as fast as the jeep would go, I've had a bit of both or all."


As the above quote alludes to, Jeeps, especially those original World War II type jeeps that started showing up for sale on the civilian market right after the war, played a huge role in my mid-childhood to adolescent years. Starting a couple of years before I turned ten, not only jeeps, but the person who would eventually become my Stepmother came into my life. Following what could be called nothing other than a rather unclassical or far from typical courtship period between she and my dad, wherein during that period my brothers and I met and got to know her and vice versa, she and my dad married.

From the very beginning I liked being around my soon-to-be stepmother --- which I'm shortening here to be called stepmother --- and of which, those several days to a week or so we had together I have nothing but fond memories. We went to the zoo in Griffth Park, the observatory, and walked through Fern Dell. She took us to the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and to the Brown Derby that I still remember looked like a hat. We went up and down Angels Flight, ate taquitos at Olvera Street and took a Pacific Electric redcar to the beach in Santa Monica just for the heck of it. We rode in her if it wasn't, it looked all but brand new pre-war 1940s four-wheel drive wooden Ford station wagon down to El Segundo for malts and burgers at Patmar's, probably the coolest all around drive-in restaurants around in those days.

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Not long after she and my dad became a happily married couple than my two brothers and I moved into her huge behind-the-walls compound in Los Angeles. Initially living like one happy, albeit extended, family.

Extended it was. My stepmother was quite wealthy and hired people to do everything. She had never been married before she met my dad nor had she ever had any children of her own --- or any around her for any amount of time for that fact either. In that she hired people to do everything she did the same in the process of overseeing us kids. It worked out great for me because as soon as she noticed I had a certain propensity toward art she talked my Uncle, who lived in the Santa Fe, Taos, New Mexico area, and a well established artist in his own right, and who had been going back and forth per my grandmother's request, to stay on the west coast and have me protege under him. My younger brother had a nanny, but for my older brother, any attempt on my stepmother's part to make things right with him did not work out so well. Bottom line he hated her and made her life as miserable as possible. He remembered our real mother and our family and would not accept our stepmother in any role --- plus she interfered with his relationship with our father. He wanted him exclusively and did not like the fact that she took basically all my dad's time. In the end my brother got so belligerent and hard to handle they decided to put him in the Mckinley School for Boys in Van Nuys and later in the California Military Academy in Baldwin Hills. For me, being as I was his younger brother and not being able to fully grasp the bigger picture, I was a little perplexed by it all. However, when I went to see him on occasion I thought it was kind of cool, little uniforms and all, everything neat and tidy. Besides, in my own life things were flowering. My uncle, although classically school trained in the arts, was a bohemian through-and-through and I followed him around like a little puppy dog basking in his intellect, philosophy, and creativity --- always under the distant watchful eye of my stepmother and, of course, floated by baskets full of her money.

Once my uncle decided to stay my stepmother set him up in a fully equipped artist's studio and covered all expenses, including models, lots of models, even though he was a desert landscape or still life sort of a guy. All my uncle had to do was have me as a protege, develop my budding talents, and arrange for me to have as many art and educational experiences as possible, although my stepmother questioned my sudden interest in life modeling.


In her new found role of motherhood my stepmother noticed my younger brother and myself, along with a bunch of other neighborhood kids, spent an inordinate amount of time 'playing cowboys' --- with cowboy hats, cap guns, holsters, boots, etc., and in doing so we often ended up in the street. Using her logic, she thought, what could be better than having their own real ranch to play on, especially so, not in the street. So that's what she did, bought a ranch.

Nearly as quick as we moved onto the ranch than my dad, who along with my stepmother remained living in the city, started to look around for tractors and all kinds of farming and ranch equipment, causing the local dealers to drool at the mouth over the prospect of a new rube. However, instead of any traditional farm or ranch equipment to speak of, and as pretty and beautiful and shiny the bright green and yellow John Deere tractors and combines looked on the showroom floor, my dad decided on a four wheel drive World War II jeep. He actually bought the ranch jeep after seeing an ad that offered surplus jeeps for $278.00 I had shown him in a comic book. All of us kids were trying to figure how to get one ourselves when he saw us looking at the ad and he decided to investigate what was going on.There were literally hundreds of scams around right after the war saying you could buy surplus jeeps from $50.00 and up and that's what most of them were, scams. However, after really looking into it he discovered he could actually purchase a brand new, or at least never used, World War II Jeep for $225.00 cash right off the docks in San Francisco, which in reality turned out to be not docks in San Francisco, but across the bay in the naval ship yards at Vallejo or Alameda. I know because I went with him.[1]

My easy going growing up boyhood lifestyle on the ranch with my brothers and all didn't last forever though. Several years into their marriage my dad and stepmother went on an extended trip to Mexico and South America because of what my stepmother viewed as an increasingly unfriendly business environment. During the two-year period my dad and stepmother were gone their marriage deteriorated to such a point it ended. Before they left, sometime before the summer of 1950, my older brother was sent to live with my grandmother while my younger brother went to live with a couple of which the woman of the couple was somehow known to my stepmother. My Uncle, who had basically had charge of me since I was eight years old was going back to Santa Fe and after some negotiating was able to convince the couple that took my younger brother to take me as well. It didn't work out so hot, with me running away on more than one occasion, each time ending up with my stepmother, or ex-stepmother by then as the case may be.

"Even though she and my dad were no longer married I spent a good part of every summer while I was in high school on one property or the other she owned in the Mojave, most usually the one not far from Piute Butte. The short time I was there during the summer prior to high school, following the Tehachapi quake but before going to my uncle's in Santa Fe, she had only just bought the property or was in the process of buying it. At that time it was pretty much a run down former attempt at a dude ranch. One year later, during my first full summer there, what she called a 'ranch' --- even though as a ranch it was a little on the sparse side in what I would call standard ranch fare --- had been completely rebuilt and refurbished with a rather long fully stocked bar, food service facilities, swimming pool, dance hall, live entertainment, along with rodeos and boxing matches on the weekends. It also had at least two dozen one-armed-bandit slot machines in a secret hidden room, plus like I like to say, a flock of ever present hostesses --- several of whom took me under their wing and one or two that may have been slightly more friendly than they should have been considering my young age, the youngest at the time at the very least being six years older than me."



At the same time my stepmother was in the process of setting up her new ranch I was just on the verge of starting high school. During the summer before high school, the exact same summer and months as the above Two-Fisted Tales with the "JEEP" story came out, and I heard my stepmother had returned from South America, as described in the above quote, I ran away from the home of the foster couple I was living with, ending up at her ranch totally unannounced.

"Although impressed that I ran away just to be with her she thought it best to get in touch with my dad and see what she should do next. Unwilling to talk with my grandmother she called the woman of the foster couple I ran away from, who she knew and was friends with, hoping to find out if I should be returned to them or to locate my father, telling the woman that I was in good care and everything was OK. The woman of the couple told my stepmother to 'keep the fucking little asshole, I don't give a shit what happens to him.' Then she added, 'Don't forget his prick of a little brother, either.'"

BRENDA ALLEN: Footnote [6]

My stepmother, taking into consideration there were no subtle or hidden messages in her response, being quite clear as well as taking her at her word, contacted my uncle to see if he had any idea where my dad was. He didn't, but told my stepmother if she could find no other solution and she could get me to Santa Fe he would deal with situation until everything could be hammered out. In that my uncle lived in New Mexico and I was on my stepmother's ranch in the high desert of California and she felt time was at an essence, she thought flying me to Santa Fe would be the way to go. Rather than sticking me on some grungy multi-day cross desert bus ride to my uncle's and not knowing for sure if I wouldn't just get off somewhere on the way, she had a pilot she knew fly into a close-by one-time, albeit long abandoned military airfield called Victory Field and pick me up. The pilot, a former P-47 Thunderbolt jockey was flying a two seat North American AT-6, ensuring, she hoped, I would be less likely to get out mid-trip. It was the first time I had ever been off the ground and into the air in any kind of a World War II aircraft, so for me the trip to my uncle's was not only highly memorable, it was as well white-knuckle exciting.[2]











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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.

Footnote [1]

"Although a lot of people think it is a lot of horse manure, my dad actually bought the jeep after answering an ad similar to the one below. The ad offered surplus jeeps for $278.00. There were literally hundreds of scams around right after the war saying you could buy surplus jeeps from $50.00 and up and that's what most of them were, scams. However, after really looking into it he discovered he could actually purchase a brand new, or at least never used, World War II Jeep for $225.00 cash right off the docks in San Francisco, which in reality turned out to be not docks in San Francisco, but across the bay in the naval ship yards at Vallejo or Alameda. I know because I went with him."





Footnote [2]

Directly under the final paragraph below is a mail order ad titled While They Last: Outstanding Bargains that started showing up in comic books for the first time right around the same time my ranch family was breaking up. The ad offered almost every type and piece of Army surplus infantry gear that any kid my age at the time would have ever possibly wanted --- and for me personally I wanted 'em all.

Most of you who have read any amount of my online works know that as a young boy growing up I was big on box top and the like offers, offers such as Ovaltine's Captain Midnight's Radio Premiums, especially so Captain Midnight's Code-O-Graphs, and more specifically the 1942-1945 Photo-Matic version that figured so prominently throughout my childhood into adulthood. As I viewed it, comic book ads were a quick jump from box top premiums, falling into a similar or like category. Matter of fact the first comic book ad I ever answered was for me to become a Junior Air Raid Warden, of which the ad appears just below the Army surplus ad. I don't think I was even in kindergarten when I sent for the Air Raid Warden kit.

Please notice the two smaller versions of the surplus ad below the Air Raid Warden ad, although similar to the color ad, both offer signaling mirrors for 35 cents. Signaling mirrors played a prominent role between the famed mathematician, meteorite hunter, and astronomer Dr. Lincoln La Paz and my uncle and me in my early childhood as found in The Kensington Stone. Every time I went to the giant surplus store Palley's I always came back with a bunch of World War II army surplus stuff like canteens, pistol belts, parkas, infantry backpacks and Army M43 folding shovels. After the breakup of my ranch family comic book mail order made it a lot easier. Notice in those days a kid could order knives, machetes, and axes if one was so predisposed.

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Ten years before the Korean War, an otherwise forgotten U.S. Army officer by the name of William Samuel, operating basically on his own with a small cadre of Chinese troops, was so deeply imbedded in the far-afield boots-on-the-ground Chinese wartime infrastructure that, by unknowingly long-distance default, fell under the command of Gen. Joseph Stilwell and the CBI theater. In that Samuel had all kinds of actual hands on experience fighting along side the Chinese against the Japanese in virtually the same kind of environment the British-India XXXIII Corps would encounter once deployed, most likely powers that be, remembering Samuel, dispatched him to provide the Corp command with all the relevant information he could in the short time he had available to him. Samuel, speaking of himself, writes:

"I was, after all, a captain of infantry in two long wars. I lived with Chinese infantry troops in the field for nearly three years---subsisting with them, nearly starving with them. The few American soldiers in China had very little support from the United States during World War II. We were at the end of the world's longest supply line, and anything that reached us from home had been flown over Japanese occupied countries, over the great Himalayan Mountains into Kunming, thence to be trucked and packed in by animals to us, wherever we might be."

Before the war ended Samuel was long back and fully entrenched once again in China, fighting along side Chinese troops retaking Ishan, Liuchow and Kweilin. Interestingly enough, ten years later, after being called back into the Army for the Korean War, in the height of battle, Samuel experienced nothing less than the infinite, breaking through to full Attainment, the same level of Enlightenment as attributed to the ancient classical masters:

"During the Korean War, an artillery round burst among my men on the left flank. Several bodies were hurled about and I ran to see the extent of the damage and whether the platoon leader was still effective. Sick to my stomach at the sight, I sat down among three of the bodies sprawled along the slope. I became aware of a visual 'Presence' hovering beside them. A misty, blue-white light of sorts. A different kind of light, primal, persuasive and powerful. I could not explain what I saw then, nor can I now, but with the sight, and because of the sight, I was absolutely certain within myself I was being shown evidence of the deathlessness of Life--the survival of the Child, the Soul of men. I felt a marvelous sense of relief, almost gratitude, concerning those men and everything happening that day. Within a few minutes of that incident, my regiment, and my part of the line in particular, was hit by an enormous wave of shell fire and oncoming Chinese troops. Hell erupted in a manner that no one can sufficiently describe or picture for another. One simply must experience something like that to fully understand."

Samuel goes on to write who he faced that day in battle:

"The day I moved King Company onto line in Korea, I was given the Order of Battle of the 'enemy' opposing me just across the valley on the next mountain. Facing my regiment, and me in particular, was the Chinese 60th Army, the same troops I had lived with and trained for two years in China. We met again, eight years later, in a terrible and senseless slaughter."



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