Category Archives: Kid Gang

Star Spangled Comics #35 [1944] – Cover


This is one of the cover-only S&K books from when the boys were off in the service. Not really one of my favourites of those, seems to be something a bit off in the inking, but the looks on the faces is nice, and the thugs coming in from the back are a good touch.


Published 1944

Who’s Who – The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #3 [1985]


Two Kirby drawn entries in this issue of DC’s character index series, both inked by Greg Theakston.

First up is Willie Walker in his largely unexplained guise as the spirit of death among the New Gods, the Black Racer. Pretty good collage of images, although, yeah, that cosmic skier thing still looks weird.

Going back a generation we get the Boy Commandos and their adult sidekick Rip Carter, with a wartime action pose and headshots of all the members, including the lesser known post-war replacements Tex and Percy (oddly appearing in the war scene, as if they helped liberate us from the axis powers).


Published 1985

Star Spangled Comics #51 [1945] – Cover


Some nice goofy Golden Age fun on this cover, from the robot having a machine gun hand to it being clearly labelled “Robot Robber”. a lot of nice detailing on the robot, where you can see the genesis of some of the increasingly wild machines Kirby would design in later years.


Published 1945

Star Spangled Comics #40 [1945] – Cover


STAR SPANGLED COMICS #40, 1945. Boy, is that a complicated flying machine for robbing a bank. If it actually works, you could sell the patent for more than a bank robbery would haul in, and not get beat up by a bunch of kids and a moonlighting cop.


Boy Commandos #13 [1945] – Cover


BOY COMMANDOS #13 – 1945. Nothing like some patriotic propaganda late in the war, actually the final war-themed cover for the series. Of course, the boys would be coming home for stateside adventures soon, and had already lost one member for this cover.


Star Spangled Comics #38 [1944] – Cover


STAR SPANGLED COMICS #38, 1944, was from the era when Simon and Kirby were in the army, and only did covers for the DC/National books. STAR SPANGLED was still running the Newsboy Legion as the main feature, as it has been since #7, and many of the covers were these kind of wartime propaganda style cover, usually these playful kinds obviously designed to appeal to the kids on the homefront. The enthusiastic looks on the kids’ faces are a nice touch.


Published 1944

Boy Commandos #1 [1973]


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.

Boy Commandos #1 [1973]a

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.

Boy Commandos #1 [1973]b

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

Champ Comics #21 [1942] – Cover


Another of the almost two dozen Harvey covers from the early 1940s attributed to Kirby, this one featuring the Liberty Lads on the attack. I’m not sure about the extent of the Kirby involvement in some of those (after I’ve posted them all I’ll do a post about those whole set of them), but this one definitely seems to have a heavy Kirby hand, especially on the foreground Lad. I also really like both the inking and colouring effects on the water.


Published 1942

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #145 [1972]


In “Brigadoom” Jimmy and the Newsboys continue their investigation of strange beings in Scotland, including a great two-page spread of various beasts, and the introduction of one of my favourites, Angry Charlie.

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #145 [1972]

Their investigation eventually leads them to the Evil Factory, and battles with sea beasts and dinosaurs, and where Jimmy is experimented on and reverted to a powerful pre-historic form. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Superman pursues the San Diego Five String Mob, only to see them escape in a Boom Tube. We never do find out what all that was about. The Superman scene this time seems like an afterthought, kind of a “have to have Superman in here somewhere” scene.

Colletta inks the 24-page story, with Murphy Anderson doing the usual touch-ups. Anderson inks the full cover. An alternate cover for this issue was inked by Steve Rude for the cover of the first of the current JIMMY OLSEN reprint books.

Back-up this issue is the cover and lead story from STAR-SPANGLED COMICS #11, the fifth Newsboy Legion story from 1942, “Paradise Prison”, a 13-page adventure which sees the kids, after hearing claims of brutal treatment at a reform school (where they themselves could have been sent if not for the good word put in for them by Jim Harper), have themselves sent up. The warden, Mr. Goodley, puts up a fake front of running a comfortable reform school so the kids don’t inform the Guardian, but they’re able to see through his ruse.

Also of note, this issue has a full page ad to order the first issues of IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB and SPIRIT WORLD, which mentions Kirby prominently. It claims the books sold out quickly and they’ve “gone back to press with a special run”, but I suspect that’s not true and these were copies returned or maybe never even distributed.

Published 1972

Star Spangled Comics #36 [1944] – Cover


From the middle of the wartime run of S&K covers-only for the Newsboy Legion, the Legion figures in the background are a bit bland, but more than made up for by the foreground scene and crazy gun-toting short cowboy action.


Published 1944