Thursday, July 23, 2015


The "horrible weapon" is a bubble pipe, just so you know.
What makes a superhero? Well, it helps to have a secret identity, a good motive for fighting crime, and if you don’t possess any actual super powers then it’s at least helpful to have some thematic abilities of some sort. Or, on the other hand, you can be a paid actor on a parade float who’s got a mad-on for murderous department store Santas and a something-else-on for a fellow parade performer in a Bo Peep frock.

That's gonna be a short war.
This is Captain Combat, a one-shot superhero debuting in Star-Studded Comics No.1 (published by Cambridge House, 1945). A nameless actor and professional acrobat (“And a good one at that,” he adds, while trying to score with a woman hired to play the part of Mother Goose), Combat debuts during a generic but fanciful urban parade as “one of those comic heroes the kids are so crazy about,” adding his nom de guerre as though it means something.

Sealing the deal with Mother Goose, Combat rushes to change clothes only to stumble across a clandestine meeting of would-be criminals decked out in Santa Claus costumes. Their leader – also unnamed, but let’s call him Santus Horribilis – explains a breaking-and-entering scheme predicated on a bizarre secret weapon – gas-filled bubbles, blown from a pipe doused in a soporific serum!

Lemme just recap all of that: A nameless actor hired to play a superhero stumbles across an army of larcenous Santa Clauses armed with deadly bubble pipes and it gets in the way of him trying to plow Mother Goose. Are we all together? Okay.

Combat doesn’t show much bottle in his initial outing, as he’s promptly knocked out by poisoned bubbles and hucked into a freezing river by Santus Horribilis. Freeing himself, he rededicates himself to his mission with these stirring words: “I never did like crime or criminals … but after this, I’m going to declare a one man war on crime…!” Probably this is an oath I’d make if I hadn’t just gotten my ass handed to me by Santa Claus, but perhaps I lack Captain Combat’s vision.

Combat manages to rally a little, although his primary act of derring-do is to bring the cops along when he kicks a table into Santa Horribilis’ gut, forcing him to suck a bowlful of his own poisoned soapwater. What a way to go. And for the record, we never find out if Captain Combat ever managed to get up on Mother Goose. I hope he finds satisfaction in his one man war on crime.

This is some top-notch dialogue.

1 comment:

Bram said...

That's a crazy composition in that "oath" panel. Gutsy choice to bury your hero in the corner, but it works.

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