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!