Archival Site 2004-2006 see See http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/kirby/

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Boy Commandos v2 #1

A pair of 12-page S&K reprint BC stories from 1942 in this issue.

"The Sphinx Speaks" is the third BC story, from DETECTIVE #66 (1942), and opens with a framing sequence set in the future (just as the second BC story has a framing sequence in the past). A thousand years in the future, a reporter is sent to do a story on a recently unearthed mummy. The mummy comes to life, talking like a New Yorker from the 1940s, which means he must have met Brooklyn, and indeed he did. The Commandos were in Egypt, disguised as part of a trading caravan and invading a Nazi-held town.

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During the attack, Brooklyn hides in the case of a mummy as part of an ambush, which is how the mummy of our framing sequence picked up the story and his accent. Not quite sure what the point of the framing bit was, other than to give S&K something else fanciful to draw, but it was worth it for that

"Heroes Never Die" is from a few months later, one of the stories from BOY COMMANDOS #1 (1942). Rip Carter and the boys find themselves in China, helping in the fight against the Japanese invaders. An old man recognizes Rip as the return of the legendary "White Dragon" from 100 years before, and tells Rip and the boys the story of an American marine who put together a rag-tag bunch of foreigners, including four young boys who resemble the Boy Commandos, and battled against bandits and warlords, finally dying and promising to return in a time of need.

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The old man, who was the original Captain Carter's lieutenant, dies after recounting his story, content that the "White Dragon" has returned, and Rip remembers that there was an ancestor of his who sailed across the Pacific and was never heard from again. Like his ancestor, Rip vows to free China, one city at a time.

One of the reasons Boy Commandos is my favourite of the S&K features from DC in the 1940s is the wide variety of stories and locales, and this is a good example.

The splash page claims this is fictionalized but based on a true historical figure, an American marine who was "the Chiang Kai-Shek of his time... who to this day is revered in China as a saint". Anyone know if there really is such a story, or if this was all made up?

The cover is a modified version of the original BC #1 cover, with the original V-formation planes in the background removed and replaced with various nazi guns pointing at the Commandos in the foreground.

Published 1973

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