Enter: The Creature Commandos

Hello again fiends, it’s been too long since we last spoke, but ol’ Th1rte3n has been knee deep in the Horror Business! Anyway, a while back, the effervescent Vic Sage posted a piece about DC’s outré platoon of grotesque grunts, The Creature Commandos. As I mentioned a few posts back, I was in the process of writing my own post about the Commandos when I hoped over to The Retroist and saw Vic’s post! Setting the article aside, I vowed to return to it someday, like a lost lover adrift on a turbulent sea. So I pressed on covering my normal assortment of classy films and other assorted ghoulish nonsense, until today! Now that time has passed, and with Vic’s encouragement, I present to you “The Lost Post of Daniel Th1rte3n: Enter: The Creature Commandos!”!

I remember vividly my days spent haunting the comic racks of our local drugstore as a youth. While superheroes were never my thing, there were always a multitude of other salacious yarns to entertain my fevered brain on those gunmetal grey shelves hanging precariously upon the rotating rack deposited unceremoniously in the paperback novel section of the store. Everything from demon bikers, to sorcery fearing barbarians were present, all vying for my hard(ly) earned allowance. Now, I had seen many a strange tale in my seasoned seven years, but what greeted my eyes one fateful day in late 1980 almost melted my brain with the sheer force of its mere existence.

As my eyes wandered aimlessly from title to title, I finally settled on an issue of Marvel’s Star Wars. Giving the rack one more turn, I noticed a comic book jammed crookedly behind another title. I reached forward an unsuspecting hand and lifted the periodical from its disjointed resting place. My eyes went wide and my mouth agape at the vision emblazoned on the cover of that newsprint tome. A group of Nazi’s was having what appeared to be a serious mental breakdown. Two of the soldiers were turned, fear stricken gazes staring right into the soul of the reader, as if to say “Can you believe this crazy scheisse?” And believe me friends, said scheisse was crazy indeed, for directly above the soldiers a combination of Universal Monsters and Full Metal Jacket were doing their best Kool-Aid Man.

The soldiers exploding through the wall contained among their ranks: a Frankenstein Monster (Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor), a werewolf (Warren Griffith), a vampire (Sgt. Vincent Velcro), and some dude in a red shirt (the ever jack-assy Lt. Matthew Shrieve). And that was all it took to create a life-long fan of this army of the damned.

As the team made further appearances (and added a Medusa, Dr. Myrra Rhodes to their ranks) , I couldn’t imagine their exploits getting any better. How could they top monster soldiers fighting Nazi androids and super-soldier children? How could they? One word: Dinosaurs! While investigating the disappearance of Allied spotter planes in the South Pacific, the Commandos happened upon an Axis occupied island populated by prehistoric beasts, whom the team trick into destroying a Japanese Naval Fleet (this story as loosely adapted in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode “Four Star Spectacular” that Vic included in his post). Soon the awesome quotient would increase even more when a robot joined the team. J.A.K.E. the G.I. Robot joined the team as they discovered a lost colony of Atlantis, where the construct would eventually sacrifice itself to save our heroes (although a new J.A.K.E. was constructed in time to join the team on their return to Dinosaur Island). But alas, all good things must end. At the end of the war, through a series of mishaps involving a rocket piloted by the Commandos aimed at Berlin but knocked way of course, our team of hapless monsters was blasted into space seemingly forever destined to be rejected by humanity.

In subsequent years the team was updated and revamped in 2000, but it just wasn’t the same. I hope that someday, someone carries on the legacy created by J.M. DeMatteis and Pat Broderick and spins new tales of The Creature Commandos set during World War II. Additionally a collection of all of their past exploits would be welcome as well! Until next time, stay spooky!

The Creature Commandos In The War That Time Forgot

A huge thanks to friend of the Retroist, Tom Krohne over at ‘The Blog That Walks Like A Man’, for giving me the heads up on this intro for Cartoon Network’s Batman: Brave and the Bold episode “Four Star Spectacular”.

I’ve mentioned once or twice how even as a kid I was obsessed with all things related to the Universal Monsters…and horror in general. But I remember going into a local gas station in my youth and seeing a DC Comic entitled Weird War Tales…and on the cover looking back at me were the Creature Commandos. I would not leave the store without that comic in my hands…thankfully my Father took pity on me.

My love for the Creature Commandos would only continue to grow after reading that issue. For those not in the know it deals with a top secret team of soldiers during WWII that are part of Project M, an organization that experimented and tried to specialize biotechnology and in some cases…necromancy. The Creature Commandos were one such “success”:

“Warren Griffith – Warren was a simple farm boy who suffered from clinical lycanthropy. Project M gave him the ability to change into a true Werewolf.

Dr. Myrra Rhodes – Also known as Dr. Medusa. After inhaling strange fumes, she grew snakes for hair and superficially resembles one of the Gorgons.

Lt. Matthew Shrieve – Matthew was their team leader. He was a fully human hard as nails soldier.

Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor – Lucky barely survived stepping on a mine. He was stitched back together against his will so he resembles the Frankenstein monster and has damaged vocal cords.

Sgt. Vincent Velcro (or, in modern series, Velcoro) – Vincent volunteered for the project in order to commute a 30-year sentence in the brig for crippling an officer. Like a Vampire, he can now change into a bat and requires human blood to survive.”

You can see from their descriptions on Wikipedia…this wasn’t exactly a happy-go-lucky team of operatives!

The reason Pvt. Taylor has damaged vocal cords by the way is because on a mission in France the team found a scientist in a Nazi death camp, they couldn’t free her and with her knowledge of deadly chemical warfare…they had to end her life as to keep said knowledge from the Nazis.

Pvt. Taylor was so ashamed of his actions that upon returning to base he attempted suicide…but the Project M scientists repaired the damage and revived him though his vocal cords had been completely destroyed…so for the rest of the series he was rendered mute.

That was Weird War Tales for you, friends.

Like I mentioned up top, a huge thanks to Tom Krohne, make sure to follow that link to his blog. It’s full of awesome Monster art and facts, just tell them we sent you!

A big tip of the hat to UltimateJKC1994 over on YouTube for uploading that Creature Commandos video!