Category Archives: Kid Gang

Boy Commandos #14 [1946] – Cover


I love the look of the inking on the ship on this cover, and the overall look of the pirates. This is probably my favourite of the non-war themed BC covers.


Published 1946

Star Spangled Comics #48 [1945] – Cover


Some more late wartime cover artwork with the Newsboys from S&K while others were handling the interiors. This is a fun one (should have used this one on the anniversary of the weblog…), although Scrapper looks a bit off.


Published 1945

Boy Commandos #12 [1945] – Cover


The Coast Guard gets the nod on this wartime cover by Simon & Kirby, as part of an attack on Japan. Nice cover, especially the ship in the background there.


This issue also has a three-page story “Coast Guard Reconnaissance” signed by S&K and reprinted as a Kirby classic in NEW GODS #4, but the Kirby Checklist says it was Simon solo, which looks right.

Published 1945

Star Spangled Comics #37 [1944] – Cover


I really like this example of the wartime S&K covers. As with many of the Newsboy Legion covers, the focus was on the effort of people on the home front in aiding the war effort (while the Boy Commandos covers featured that team on the various front lines), and it comes across nicely on this one, without being overbearing, and some nice rendering on the machinery.


Published 1944

Mister Miracle #5 [1971]


In “Doctor Vundabar and His Murder Machine” Kirby has a lot of fun with his new Big Barda character this issue after her debut the previous issue, as she exercises out in the yard for the opening splash, shows off her strength as Scott takes delivery of a Civil War cannon for his act. While Scott and Oberon practice the act, Barda enjoys the scenery like nothing she’s seen on Apokolips but gets attacked by Virman Vundabar’s men.

Mister Miracle #5 [1971]

And yes, Kirby even makes a point about how the name “Virman Vundabar” is goofy, so don’t bug me about it. It’s Granny’s sense of humour. She named “Scott Free”, after all.

Scott flies off to the rescue, and winds up in the car wash of doom. God, just those bizarre connections that Kirby could make work. Great scene with Scott, having escaped, standing behind the gloating villains not aware he’s there.

Letter column plugs the next issue with Funky Flashman, who “doesn’t know the meaning of the words ‘Fair Play’ or, if he does, he’s never bothered to practice it”. Ouch. I’ll have to get to that issue soon.

Also in this issue, the first chapter of the “Young Scott Free” story that leads into the classic “Himon” in #9. A great story as you get a look at Granny Goodness and her treatment of her “orphans” and their indoctrination  and Scott’s early defiance, leading to his first encounter with Metron.

Mike Royer inks the 22-page lead story, his first issue of this title. It’s kind of notable because this is the issue where he changed Barda’s face on the first go-round, prompting Kirby to take the original heads from the photocopies of the pencils so they could be restored, so the copies of these pencils have those faces removed and Royer was much more faithful after that. Colletta inks the back-up and Royer inks the cover, with some touch-up by Neal Adams to make the weapons look more obvious (the original version appears in COMIC BOOK ARTIST SPECIAL EDITION #1).

The S&K reprint for this issue is “The Invasion of America”, a Boy Commandos story from DETECTIVE #76 (1943), previously covered from another reprint. A fun story, I especially like the scene with the kids coming into New York harbour, talking about how the role of their own countries in New York history.

Published 1971

Star Spangled Comics #34 [1944] – Cover


Another of the early covers from when S&K were off in the military and DC just ran covers by them on their various books. This is a fun one, with nice bright colours, a great pose for Gabby and great reaction shots on the Guardian and other Newsboys.


Published 1944

Star Spangled Comics #33 [1944] – Cover


The Guardian and the Newsboy Legion take some time to help out the troops from all branches of the service in this patriotic wartime cover by Simon&Kirby.


Stay tuned, one more cover, featuring a patriotic-garbed Captain, coming up later tonight.

Published 1944

Star Spangled Comics #31 [1944] – Cover


This is the first issue of STAR SPANGLED to just have an S&K Newsboy Legion cover as the boys were off to the army, handing off the interiors to others in the interim. Great way to send off, with one of the many strongly patriotic wartime covers, with nice expressions on the faces of the boys. Very nice planes back there, too.


Published 1944

Boy Commandos #2 [1973]


This is the second of two issues published in 1973 reprinting 1940s S&K Boy Commandos stories. Boy Commandos is my favourite of the major S&K work for DC from the 1940s, so these are welcome reprints to go with the stories reprinted in MISTER MIRACLE the year before.

“Nine Lives for Victory” is a 9-page story from BC #2 (1943). In this one the boys pick up a stray cat, and keep it hidden from Rip Carter as it’s a violation of regulations. It sneaks its way aboard on a mission to France. The team runs into a nazi patrol and let themselves be captured to keep the rest of the Nazis off the trail of the rest of their mission. The hidden cat then attacks the rat-ish looking nazi officer.

This creates enough confusion for them to finish their mission and get away. Back in England, the boys expect to be rewarded but are instead put on kitchen duty for disobeying orders while the cat is toasted as the hero of the mission.

The second story is an 11-page story from BC #6 (1944), “News from Belgium”, where the team are given a mission to smuggle parts for a printing press into Belgium so that the underground can continue to produce their newspaper of real news of the world to counter the Nazi propaganda. The team gets split up along the way, and Brooklyn and Alfy wind up being helped by a Belgian farm girl who disguises them in girl’s clothing, which is pretty amusing. Later re-united with the rest of the team, they get the parts to the newspaper editor, and come up with the idea of baking the newspaper into loaves of bread, so they can be delivered right under the noses of the occupiers.

Some of the inking on this story is especially good, especially the scenes in the Belgian forest. Also, I know I don’t give too much attention to the scripting in these things, but there are some interesting things in this one, like “with a practiced landing that would put even the feather-footed tiger to shame” and “the ominous thud of booted feet bodes evil for those living under the Nazi heel”. There’s some really nice scripting and imagery in here.

Published 1973

The Greatest Golden-Age Stories Ever Told [1990]


THE GREATEST GOLDEN-AGE STORIES EVER TOLD was a 1990 DC hardcover collection various stories from the 1930s to the 1950s DC comics, plus those of other publishers they acquired. Simon&Kirby are represented by a reprint of the 12-page Boy Commandos story from DETECTIVE COMICS #69 (1942), “The Siege of Krovka”.

After a great opening splash of the Commandos on a fanciful ice sled (and I have to say, the splash-page logo use for BC stories is excellent), we get the mood of the times with a scene of Hitler ordering his troops to take Russia, never mind the cold. This speech is nicely delivered as Hitler exits “Der Fuehrer’s Steam Bath”. We’re then told that “the fear of their Fuehrer’s wrath drives the brutal, moronic Nazi legions forward”. Moving from the Nazis, we see the brave Russian defenders, as epitomized by one particular group, the Vanin family. FDR also makes a cameo, with a radio speech. When the town is under siege, young Tanya sneaks out to send a message, getting shot in the process. Struggling on, she gets found by Rip Carter and the Boy Commandos with their sled. After getting her message, Rip and three of the boys go off with a plane and glider to help hold Krovka until reinforcements can arrive, while Brooklyn and Tanya get left behind and take the sled, blowing up some German munitions convoy.


Tanya earns Brooklyn’s respect thanks to her skill with a tommy-gun on the way over, and she seems taken with him as well, although she does give him language instruction book so she can understand him. A book on learning English, that is.

Very fun story, although focusing a little bit less on the boys than usual. The art is excellent, very well rendered and fast-moving.

Author bios in the back also have a short blurb about S&K as well.

As far as I know, there was only a hardcover edition of this book, unlike most of the books in DC’s GREATEST… STORIES EVER TOLD series.

Published 1990