G.I. Robot - Weird War Tales 113

Whatever Became Of DC Comic’s G.I. Robot?

Friends, when it came to my tastes in comics as a kid, they were…well…weird. Sure I loved to pick up Batman when I could as well as Superman too. It was another DC Comic title that I gravitated to the most however and that was of course Weird War Tales. Why? That naturally had to do with being a monster kid and science fiction buff. Which is the reason I loved both The Creature Commandos and G.I. Robot!

G.I. Robot - Francesco Francavilla

Artwork is courtesy of the always impressive Francesco Francavilla.

I find it rather funny that in my youth, my Father was rather set against me picking up the likes of The House of Mystery. Yet had no qualms about me snatching up an issue of Weird War Tales. I don’t know, perhaps the former just had scarier cover art or something?
G.I. Robot - The House of Mystery

G.I. Robot actually first appeared in another DC Comics title. That was Star Spangled War Stories #101. As matter of fact this would be the first of six robots to be known as the G.I. Robot, with this first unit known as Joe.
G.I. Robot - Star Spangles War Stories

I can only assume that Joe stayed put when he ended up on Dinosaur Island. Which I certainly hope will one day make it into one of the live action DC films. The second robot with the G.I. moniker appeared in Star Spangled War Stories #125. This time it was a unit known as Mac who was teamed up with the original Suicide Squad, the team made up of WWII soldiers.
G.I. Robot - Mac

Mac made it a whole issue before sacrificing itself to halt a rampaging T-Rex. It was in Weird War Tales #101 that a brand new G.I. Robot was introduced known as J.A.K.E. 1 (Jungle Automatic Killer – Experimental Number 1). In this case the unit was teamed up with Sgt. Coker as they served in the Pacific War. Coker I should add is not only demeaning to his partner but frequently cruel as well.
G.I. Robot - J.A.K.E. 1

J.A.K.E. 1 made it twelve more issues until it too, like Mac, was destroyed. As you might have guessed though it is quite hard to keep a G.I. Robot down for the count. J.A.K.E. 2 appeared in Weird War Tales issue # 113. This is where I actually was introduced to the character!

Soon though he was teaming up with the likes of the Creature Commandos. Which is how the unit found itself on a rocket shot from Berlin, straight into outer space, to their apparent deaths.
G.I. Robot - Creature Commandos

While the Creature Commandos were later found to have survived the trip, the fate of J.A.K.E. 2 hasn’t been revealed in the comics. Although the DC Comics Encyclopedia makes mention that the robot survives up until the 31st century!

Since those issues of Weird War Tales there has been a J.A.K.E. #6.1, which was revealed in 2008. As well as a special mini-series that also began in 2008 entitled The War that Time Forgot. Written by the legendary Bruce Jones, it threw in a ton of Silver Age characters. Such as Enemy Ace, the Viking Prince, Tomahawk and of course a new G.I. Robot. One that I must point out calls itself…Joe.
G.I. Robot - The War that Time Forgot

What does the future hold for DC Comic’s robotic soldier? Obviously only time will tell but I am more than willing to bet that we haven’t seen the last of this particular comic character!

Did you know that the G.I. Robot made an appearance in 2010?

Not in a comic book of course but on the popular Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode entitled Plague of the Prototypes!. Not just our favorite military robot either, Sgt. Rock makes an appearance alongside Batman as well!

[Via] GameSpot Universe

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!

Creature Commandos - Title

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”.

Gaze in awe at the majesty of The Creature Commandos in animated form!

[Via] Tim DeForest

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.

Creature Commandos

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.