One of the comics I picked up at this year’s Comic Con was this fine issue of Weird War Tales, featuring The Creature Commandos. I think a more appropriate title for this series would have been Batshit Crazy War Tales or Our Writer is on Acid War Tales.
I think the Ross Andru cover (above) pretty much sums up the concept of Creature Commandos in one image: monster soldiers fighting lions. That’s some wacky shit right there. Okay, they didn’t fight lions in every issue, but maybe they should have. It couldn’t have made things any worse.
Briefly, the Creature Commandos were a team of G.I.s who were altered by the mysterious Project M (I wonder what the “M” stands for?) into hideous but formidable monster soldiers who fought the Nazis during WWII. Who were the Creature Commandos?
-Myrna Rhodes – whining judo chopping Medusa!
-Lucky, the sort-of-mute Frankenstein monster with the ironic name!
-Griffith, the wolfman with the heart of gold!
-Sgt. Vincent Velcro, the human vampire! You heard me – the man’s name was Velcro.
The Creature Commandos were led by a square-jawed asshole officer who constantly belittled and made fun of them during their dangerous commando missions in Europe… and beyond! Of course, they were feared and hated by the very people they were sworn to protect, blah blah blah…
I think writer Robert Kanigher meant for the Creature Commandos to be funny, but it’s hard to tell. I’m going to be charitable and assume that the humor in Weird War Tales #119 is intentional, because otherwise it means that Kanigher is completely insane.
This issue starts off with our heroes visiting a London wax museum, where they are mistaken for wax monster dummies by the crowd. When the Creature Commandos move and talk it freaks everybody out:
Okay, take a look at that narrative caption: “Once again the Creature Commandos are whiplashed by the revulsion felt by the race of humans from which they were banished by the fortunes of war – now fleeing in horror at the sight of them!” Is that supposed to be funny? As in, laugh-at-my-awkward-writing funny?
The Londoners flee, leaving the Commandos to bitch and moan about how they are freaks who will never be accepted. You know what I can’t accept? The egregious abuse of the ellipses at the hands of the Creature Commandos. It’s as if the only punctuation they can use are ellipses… and exclamation points!!!
If you were actually speaking those lines as they were written, it would sound like: “No hideout on Earth (lengthy pause) for US!” Even Lucky the Frankenstein Monster gets in on the ellipses abuse, and he doesn’t even speak English.
Anyway, the Creature Commandos go on a secret mission in Italy to save some villagers or something. Led by their asshole officer, they save the day, but the very people they save run in terror at the sight of these monsters, which leads us to a recurring motif in the comic, the Whining Sequence:
“No use (lengthy pause) there’s no place on Earth (length pause) for us!”
Fortunately, one of the folks they save has invented an Italian Time Machine. You would think that an Italian Time Machine would only go back in time to the glory days of Rome, but this one goes forward, too. The despondent, whining, ellipses-abusing Creature Commandos travel forward in time ten centuries, to an Earth populated by Giant Blonde Clones. It’s nice to see that trouser-piping has made a comeback ten centuries from now.
The Giant Blonde Clones are fascinated by these tiny new arrivals. I’ve included the following panel because it’s practically the only one in the book in which the Creature Commandos don’t misuse punctuation (like I’m one to talk) and there is what I believe to be an overt attempt at humor on writer Robert Kanigher’s part.
Unfortunately for the Creature Commandos, the Giant Blonde Clones that rule Earth want to eliminate the Creature Commandos because of their individuality. You see, the Giant Blonde Clones believe that the unbridled individuality of mankind eventually led to a global nuclear holocaust – that and mankind’s short stature. Ten centuries in the future, all conflict and strife have been eliminated by genetic homogeny and gigantism. So you see, these tiny little freaks from the past must die! Instead of stepping on the Creature Commandos, the Giant Blonde Clones intend to dispose of them humanely – by feeding them to tiny lions in a tiny coliseum!
Fortunately, in the middle of the savage lion combat, Lucky notices that the Head Lion has a painful thorn in his paw, which he removes. The lion is so grateful that… well… it’s a little disturbing…
After the Frankenstein-on-lion butt sex panel, the Creature Commandos escape from the Giant Blonde Clones by riding the lions like ponies back to their Italian Time Machine and return to World War II. I didn’t know that you could actually ride lions, but apparently you can. Perhaps you have to sodomize the lion first, then you can ride it. You know, I’m going to try that next time I’m at the zoo.
Weird War Tales #119 is hilarious and I am proud to include it in my collection of truly bad comics. Because I’m a little unclear as to the motivation of the writer, I’m a little hesitant to give it The Pain Award, but I must... I MUST!!!