Captain Commando. Artist: Alex Blum.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: MLJ/Archie Comics
First Appeared: 1942
Creators: S.M. Iger (writer) and Alex Blum (artist)
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Superheroes were all the rage in American comics during the early 1940s, and a significant number of them were of the "patriotic-style" sub-genre, like Captain Flag or Miss Victory, who wore red, …

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… white and blue costumes full of stars and stripes. (In fact, one prominent pair of them even took the names The Star-Spangled Kid & Stripesy.) Captain Commando was one of them, tho in other respects he was similar to a non-flag-wearer published by Fawcett Comics, called Commando Yank.

Captain Commando was so feared by Nazis, they doubled the manpower in their seacoast garrisons, when they heard he was on the way. They'd have given anything to know he was really John Grayson (no relation to Bob, Chuck, Dick or Joan), whom the world knew as a wimp. John's's identity was so secret, even his son, Billy, didn't know — tho not so secret he wouldn't change clothes in front of a common seaman, if Billy was in danger of finding out.

But Billy figured it out anyway by the end of Cap's introductory story, which appeared in MLJ's Pep Comics #30 (August, 1942). Billy had put on a pint-sized military uniform and, with three friends who called themselves "The Boy Soldiers" (who would probably have called themselves "Commandos" if DC Comics hadn't staked out a claim to that name the previous month) snuck aboard a ship taking Cap on a mission. Readers were encouraged to join The Young Soldiers of America, by filling out a form in the same issue.

Cap was created by writer S.M. Iger (Shark Brodie, Neon the Unknown) and artist Alex Blum (Sky Girl, Kaanga). The company didn't have enough faith in Cap to put him on the cover (which featured The Shield, The Hangman and later, Archie; but he did get a regular slot in the Pep Comics back pages.

But it barely outlasted the war. Cap's final appearance was in Pep #56 (March, 1946). And in '45, he'd only alternated with Pokey Oakie, as MLJ abandoned superheroes in general, in favor of humorous features.

In fact, Cap was abandoned even worse than most. Even a couple of decades later, when most of them were dragged out of limbo for a walk-on in Mighty Crusaders #4, he wasn't among them.


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Text ©2008-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Archie Comics.