Posts tagged ‘Jan Haasen’

Detective 113 – Batman helps a woman catch oysters, and the Boy Commandos visit Jan


Detective 113 (July 1946) has a surprisingly progressive Batman and Robin story by Bill Finger, with art by Dick Sprang


We meet Captain Jibbs and his daughter Josephine, who wants to run an oyster boat just like her aging father did.  The Captain believes that this is man’s work, and Jo should have no part of it, so she sets out to prove herself.


Batman is pursuing a mobster, Blackhand, which brings him down to the docks and into contact with Jo.  After their first conversation, instead of telling her to go back to shore or in any way take second place to him, he asks if he and Robin can help her in her fight against Blackhand.

On the surface that might not seem like much, but this is 1946, and a sexist attitude was pretty much a given.


Jo does wind up being captured by Blackhand and his men.  Batman almost drowns, and Robin gets to give him a good punch before he can save him.


After Blackhand is rounded up, Jo and her now-accepting father are re-united.  The story makes it clear that she will continue to run her oyster boat, and not take a subservient role in her own life.  Her suggestion that she and Batman dine on oysters could have some secondary meaning.


So just forget my (now deleted) inaccurate comment about Jan never returning, because here he is!  The Boy Commandos head to Amsterdam in this Curt Swan story, and take some time off to go visit their former teammate.  Oddly, Rip Carter has no interest in seeing Jan, and doesn’t even include that in his schedule.


The boys find Jan unusually cold an stand-offish, but that’s because some gangsters have taken over the farm.


And somehow, even though this is Jan’s story, Brooklyn still gets the starring role.  The boys refuse to give up on Jan, and together they fight off the gangsters.

I want to say this is Jan’s last appearance, but I’m scared of being wrong again.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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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