The Boy Commandos: Vol. 1 (DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Boy Commandos: Vol. 1


Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Feb 14, 2011 DC Universe Bookmark and Share

War stories from 1942, created by industry legends Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, this archive from DC Comics certainly has some value as a historical object. But would a modern audience be interested in reading it as more than a curiosity?

The less pleasing aspects of the book are pretty obvious. First and foremost, the coloring is headache inducing, especially in the first third of the volume: so many reds on oranges it’s practically painful to read. And the first couple of stories are a little rough, as perhaps the creators were finding their feet.

The stories pick up in quality before the coloring improves. At their best, these one-offs are little bit of Patriotism/Jingoism, a little bit of an O. Henry flair, and plenty of Simon/Kirby fisticuffs. The art seems to be proto-Kirby through and through, the foundation on which King Jack would later thrill readers with his early Marvel/Stan Lee collaborations and later with his Jimmy Olsen and Fourth World masterpieces.

Led Captain Rip Carter, leader of a military unit known as The Commandos, the four boys are part mascot, part comrade, and their adventures are coincidently the difference between success and failure (life and death) for the mostly nameless adults serving in the unit. A derby-wearing, funny talking boy named Brooklyn (from…Brooklyn, NY) is undoubtedly the star of the book; his hammy, street tough character is the crux of most of the action and the humor. His mates Jan (Holland), Alfy (England), and Pierre (France) rarely escape their stereotypes, but are plucky lads fighting against the Axis powers all over the globe.

This book certainly has value to comics historians and Kirby/Simon fanatics, or as a glimpse at WWII-era pop culture. But, while a few chapters transcend, its appeal to a modern sensibility is probably fairly limited. (

Author rating: 5/10

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