Posts tagged ‘Alfy Twidgett’

Detective 124 – The Joker listens to the radio, Slam Bradley comes to Canada, and the Boy Commandos lose one member and gain another

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A horrible cover for Detective 124 (June 1947), but the Joker story is better than his previous two outings in this book.

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Edmond Hamilton scripts and Bob Kane pencils this story, in which the Joker decides to base his new series of crimes on the top song of the day, as announced on the radio.

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Batman realizes the Joker’s crimes must have been planned before the songs were announced, and that the Joker is having his men send in votes for the winning song.

The unusual thing, for me, in this scene is that the votes are sent in by mail.  I assume this is an accurate detail from how the hit parade was chosen in 1947, but it relies on a really prompt mail service.

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So Batman and Robin try tracking the letters, but fail to stop the Joker, instead having to battle him amidst a huge electrical display, corresponding to the song “Stormy Weather.”

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Slam Bradley comes to Canada in this story.  The only remaining series that began in Detective 1, Slam Bradley’s series has not had any stories with interesting enough plot or story for me to mention for an awful long time.  Shorty’s role in the series increased, to the point where the stories are often more comedic than serious.  But a Canada story is always interesting, in the hopes of seeing something other than snow, trees, mounties and french lumberjacks.

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This story has snow, trees, mounties and french lumberjacks.  Figuring that their chances of catching an escaped felon would improve if they became mounties, Slam and Shorty ask to join for a limited time, and are allowed to.

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So then we get Shorty is the dress reds, which are far too big for him.  While the french lumberjacks are laughing, Slam catches the bad guy.

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The Boy Commandos are asked to be in a movie, filming in England, in this Curt Swan story.

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As soon as they arrive, Alfy gets a letter from his aunt (the one who refused to let him stay with her), informing him that she has enrolled him in Oxford.  He wants to stay with the team, but Rip insists he get an education.  Poor Alfy wanders off, but before the page is done, his replacement, Tex, is being introduced.

At least the fact that he is being enrolled in Oxford indicates that the “boys” are now adult age, despite not being drawn that way.

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Rip, Pierre and Brooklyn wind up stopping a plot to steal the crown jewels, aiding by Tex, a rodeo rider who also happens to be in England, and Tex is invited to join the team.

Alfy does appear again, in the following month’s issue of Boy Commandos, which retells the change in team membership.

Detective 110 – Batman in London, and the Boy Commandos come home from war

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There is a lot of transatlantic travel in Detective 110 (April 1946).  Scotland Yard officially invites Batman and Robin over to help them catch Professor Moriarty.  Sherlock Holmes has apparently died decades before his nemesis.

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Batman and Robin head over, with Alfred going as well, but on his own excursion, dressing up as Holmes.  You’d think he might want to see his family or friends, but apparently not.  Maybe they all died in the blitz.

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The story is ok, not great.  Pretty formulaic, and it doesn’t really make much use of London as a location, or anything quintessentially British.

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World War 2 comes to an end for the Boy Commandos.  The last few issues had run stories set during the war, although it was acknowledged that they were happening in the past.  Curt Swan does an admirable job capturing Kirby’s look on the series, much better than most of the others who had filled in over the past couple of years.

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With the war over, Rip is heading back to the US, as is Brooklyn.  Jan is going back to the Netherlands to his uncle’s farm, while Pierre has no living relatives, and Alfy has an aunt, who apparently is a real bitch, because she has told him she doesn’t want him.  Rip arranges for the boys to come with him, and they all head to Brooklyn.  The city, not the boy.

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Brooklyn shows them around his town, and we meet Maggie, who had been his girlfriend before the war.  No real acknowledgement is made of the fact that four years have passed, and the “boys” are most likely adult age now.

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They wind up getting into a New York street fight, and winning of course.  Rip joins them at the end, explaining that he has been commissioned to keep the boys together as an elite global strike force, to keep the peace.  This is a little less preposterous when you consider that they are young adults now.

Detective 64 – the execution of the Joker, the Boy Commandos debut, and Air Wave gets Static

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The Joker once again fails to get onto the cover with Detective 64 (June 1942).  Its a generic Batman and Robin picture, vaguely militaristic, with the airplane.  But I may just be reading that into it, as this is the first issue to be written after the attack on Pearl Harbour.

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Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson send the Joker to the electric chair in this tale.  The Joker turns himself in, and confesses to all his past crimes.  He gets sentenced to death, and executed.

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And that’s just the beginning of the story!  His men take his corpse and revive it, and he begins another spree.

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The Joker at least puts up a front, pretending to be honest.  Batman tries to have him executed again, but the sentence was carried out, and the Joker is no longer wanted for his past crimes.

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Of course Batman exposes him, and there is a battle, and the Joker appears to die.  We clearly see that he did survive.  The Joker appearing to die at the end is almost mandatory by this point.

But a real change did happen.  From this point on, the Joker does not kill, he is just a thief.   All the way until the 70s.

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The Boy Commandos debut, a Joe Simon and Jack Kirby series with no connection at all to the concept of “Detective.”  But is was great, so who cares?

With little in the way of explanation, Rip Carter, from the US army, has assembled a group of orphaned children and leads them into battle during World War 2.  Pierre Chavard, from France, Jan Haasen, from the Netherlands, Alfy Twidgett from England, as well as the stand-out character, Brooklyn.

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The main character in this first story is actually someone else entirely, a burned out Frenchman, Leon La Farge, who gets his spirits and fight back from the Boys, and becomes a major resistance fighter.

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The war scenes are vivid, but while the Commandos are involved, they are not focussed on.

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As the opening narration informs us, Batman, Green Arrow and the Crimson Avenger all have sidekicks, so clearly Air Wave needs one as well.

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And like all the other heroes, he gets a talking parrot as a sidekick.  Hmm, no, that’s not right.  The parrot is of use in this story, as it helps Air Wave prove his innocence after being framed for murder.

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Larry names the parrot Static, which is a great name for a sidekick for Air Wave, but not so great for the parrot of a law clerk.

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