Thursday, July 27, 2017

Diverse Commandos!


While Jack Kirby was whittling away in the DC shop during the 70's a few titles were trotted out to take full advantage of DC's rich trove of vintage stories. We get two issues of Boy Commandos, a title which once upon a time during the war was as big a seller nearly as Superman and Batman. Above we see a re-purposing of the original artwork by Kirby and Joe Simon for the debut issue of Boy Commandos.


But you'll quickly note several differences. One is the color scheme and another is the addition of a foreground battery of Nazi soldiers. Also missing is the phalanx of aircraft behind the Commandos.
The guns in the foreground though are not by Jack Kirby, nor are they by Joe Simon who was also working at DC at this time. No the editors made use of the consummate talents of Luis Dominguez to render them. It works really well and the styles blend much better than you might expect.


There was only one more issue of this truncated series and for that we get a brand new cover by Carmine Infantino and Joe Orlando. There's an oddness to this one as the figures of the Boy Commandos conform in a strange way to the curvature of the stone arch they are hiding behind. It's not maybe logical but visually it really ties the cover elements together.


Sales alas were not all they might have been and the series ended. It would be a long long time before DC reprinted anymore of these. I'll be taking a look at those this weekend.

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4 comments:

  1. I first came across these stories as back-ups in Mr. Miracle. I didn't like them at all but now I'm a great deal older, I appreciate them much more. I still like the GA Sandman adventures best however.

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    1. I'm reading the Sandman stories right now and I'm liking them a lot. The Boy Commando stories had a surprising variety.

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  2. Hey Rip. When I look at this style that Simon and Kirby used a lot (the rangy, almost elastic bodies with the whiplash brush), I wonder where Kirby starts and Simon stops. I've always heard that their artistic collaboration was mostly Kirby doing the penciling and Simon doing the inking. There is a lot of hatch-work (feathered lines standing in for shadows) in some of their work from the 1950s, and I always thought it was Simon putting in lines you almost find in no other Kirby inker. But when I see this, I wonder if the rubbery layouts had more of both hands in the pie. Have you heard of any experts talk about who did what work back then? I'm just curious.

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    1. I've read what you have -- that Kirby was the primary pencil artist. Like you I always assumed the purest Simon and Kirby stuff was inked with the details you mention by Simon. Simon says that sometimes it was reversed, but I'm guessing that was rare. Simon teamed with Kirby because of his dynamic style and his speed, so it seems counterproductive to switch up the roles.

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