Saturday, July 29, 2017
The Commandos Are Coming!
I guess I never realized that the Boy Commandos were so popular. I first encountered the Simon and Kirby DC material when it was tapped to fill up the extra pages in the back of the Fourth World books after DC's ill-fated decision to jump its prices to twenty-five cents way back in those halcyon days of the early 70's. I loved those comics brimming as they were with vintage material but apparently it cost DC once and for all its lead role in the market
Of the Simon and Kirby material which was used, I liked Manhunter the best, Sandman the best after that and Newsboy Legion in third position. The Boy Commandos who appeared in the back pages of the Mister Miracle. The WWII adventures felt out of place. But getting hold of the series in bulk and reading them with a firmer feel for the whole of the Golden Age output, I have to say they age quite well.
The Boy Commandos debuted in the pages of Detective Comics #64 and got a cover appearance in the very next issue. But after that, despite their great success in terms of sales (apparently only second to Superman and Batman) they were relegated to the back up pages of Detective Comics and World's Finest. The boys were widely available but not cover featured much if at all.
The exception was of course when they got their own self-titled comic. Boy Commandos was a quarterly comic and each issue gave us four adventures featuring Brooklyn, Alfy, Andre, Jan along with their adult leader Rip Carter. The title last long after the war and long after both Simon and Kirby had effectively left it for other challenges at other companies.
The first volume of Boy Commandos showcases the debut and many stories from the series as well as the complete stories from the first two issues of the Boy Commandos comic.