Name: Chase Yale
First appearance: Wow #6 (Summer 1942)
First (and only) DC appearance: Power
of Shazam! #12 (Feb. 1996)
Featured appearances: Whiz #6–59, 102??
In current continuity, the Commando Yank has appeared only in a
flashback to the 1942 formation of Fawcett City heroes. (Power of Shazam! #12)
Written by Jack Holt
Commando Yank first appeared in WOW COMICS #6, cover dated July 15,
1942 and originally released sometime around April 17 of the same year. Apparently
created by the Chesler studios Charles Sultan, the strip later featured art
by Carl Pfeufer and Dan Barry. He started out as a masked solider without
too many super hero attributes. He didnt even have a secret identity. He just
apparently enjoyed wearing that infernal mask. (DCs Captain Desmo had a similar
affectation for a white flying helmet).
In his first adventure, Commando Yanks debt to both the movie newsreels and
the radio dramas was obvious. You can almost hear the crisp, overdramatic
newsreel delivery as I let the story speak for itself:
The Commandos! Who and what are they? How many of us know
the inside story of these daring raiders?
The Commandos! Glorious fighting men of England! By day,
they plan, . . . by night, they attack!
Right into the stronghold of the enemy they go, right into
the very jaws of death!
A small band but with the courage of thousands! The harder
and bigger the task, the more eager they are to win—
And leading them?
Well, its a Yank! Yes, a red-blooded American! Maybe from
your town or yours or yours—
Thrill every moment to that unsung hero . . . Commando Yank!
And the radio drama continues in the adventure as Commando Yank goes to Norway
on a reconnaissance mission disguised as an old fisherman. He uses a corny
radio drama accent in one sequence that is unintentionally funny. Here is
the sterling dialogue. Please note the disgusted inn-keepers reaction:
Yimme, please a sandvich, ya?
Harrumph!! the innkeeper responds, but hands him the note anyway, obviously
hoping Commando Yank will just TRY to actually speak Norwegian instead of
a bad stage accent.
It is not to be.
Tanks please. C.Y. responds. Meanwhile the nearby Nazi troopers are clearly
enjoying their lager a little too much because they miss the whole exchange.
Thank goodness or it would have been Fawcetts shortest cover feature character
Hey, if I were a Norwegian who was playing host to German troops and this
goon, I probably would have shot him. Good thing the innkeeper was a patriot!
Anyway, the story gets a lot better. Commando Yank is detected back at his
boat, which is revealed as a speedboat instead of a fishing trawler. Our fighting
Commando battles his way free and takes off to an undisclosed location on
the British coast.
Commando Yank enters what appears to be a dilapidated fishing shelter. However
as he quickly descends a secret stairway, an underground tunnel to Base 33
is revealed. General stereotyped British bon home transpires where we see
the unwavering bravery of the British forces—all of whom, however, turn
naturally to the Yank for any leadership and guidance.
Anyway, they decide to target the Norwegian Undergrounds goals, but to attack
at an unexpected location up the coast. They will destroy radio and supply
lines and take German prisoners if they can.
The plan begins, with the commandos entering beetle boats to invade the Norwegian
coast. They are accompanied by two British destroyers and air cover by a wing
of Hampden bombers. And a good thing too.
The fighting is fierce. (Another unintentionally funny line occurs in this
segment as Commando Yank uses old American Indian tricks of warfare as he
and his troops blast their way up a deserted street. Personally, Im guessing
Sitting Bull, Pontiac, and Chief Joseph wouldnt have wasted their time blasting
up a deserted street. But thats just me.
Commando Yank is hit by a snipers bullet in the shoulder, but manages to
take out the sniper with his own pistol. He also engages in a lot of hand-to-hand
combat, including fisticuffs with the defending Nazi troopers.
Finally, however, the commandos win the day. They return victorious to England.
The first few adventures are very similar, featuring different European locales
all cheerfully resisting Hitler and his crew. They are a sort of travelogue
of conventional scenes from old movies about foreign countries. Typical was
Danger at the Dike from AMERICAS GREATEST COMICS #7, dated Spring 1943. In
that adventure, Commando Yank appears disguised in his mask, wooden shoes,
and a cap. Meanwhile, Vandermeer, the leader of Hollands underground, hides
a coded message in a meerschaum, and the evil Nazis burrow a tiny hole in
one of the dikes facing the Zuider Zee. Commando Yank is just barely able
to defeat Baron Glutz, stop up the hole in the dike, and use a windmill to
leap onto the struts of a low-flying RAF fighter before the night is over.
Incredibly, the hero climbs inside the planes cockpit and returns home to
England with the pilots.
Our faceless hero was a young boys wish fulfillment, but not a serious hero
even by Captain Marvels standards. I have to assume that Fawcett asked for
something more accessible. The nameless, faceless hero was just too unbelievable.
But it was a series of baby-steps.
In The Adventure of the Enemy Express from WOW COMICS #13, we learned for
the first time that Commando Yank was, in reality Chase Yale, a reporter working
for the American Broadcasting System and using shortwave to broadcast across
the channel to occupied France and to the world. He was shown using a quick
speedboat to slip through the Nazi coastal patrols and slip into France. There,
he entered factories and towns to meet with underground leaders and plot the
disruption of German plans.
Chase Yale resided in the Hotel Aster. An odd feature of the old building
is that it faced a small courtyard on one side that was bounded by a different
hotel. Oddly, Chase Yales window was one of the two that opened on the courtyard.
Across the way was Commando Yanks HQ. Chase would leap from one window to
the other creating the illusion that Chase and the Commando were not the same
man. Commando Yank simply retired to his room, leapt across the courtyard,
and re-appeared as Chase Yale in the Hotel Aster.
Also, early on, Chase Yale pretended to disbelieve rumors of this masked
Commando Yank, the terror of the Nazis. Recklessly, Chase would broadcast
information on the rumored activities of Commando Yank and the resistance.
Then, transforming into the Commando, he would carry out his rumored plans
to confound the enemy.
In that very issue though, the idiocy of this approach was shown. The Nazis
actually almost catch the Commando because of Yales broadcast. Incredibly,
Commando Yank uses fast footwork to defeat two German-sympathizing trainmen
and a detachment of soldiers. He hijacks a munitions train and gives the arms
to the French Underground.
At the end of the story, Yale again publicly doubted the existence of Commando
Yank and brags on air about how his prediction that the enemys munitions plant
would be upset by the resistance was proved to be true.
Contrary to all those Hogans Heroes reruns you might have seen, the
German Army was filled with a lot of very bright people. Chase might as well
have hung a sign on his neck that said I am Commando Yank.
This story idea was, wisely, later abandoned. Baroness Orczys Scarlet
Pimpernel could get away with that kind of taunting because he was dodging
muskets. Machine guns are a little harder to laugh off.
All in all, the Commandos stories did not ever gel as well as the well-defined
Marvels or Bulletman.
In an odd correlation with All-Americans ALL STAR COMICS, Commando Yank fought
the dread Black Dragon Society in a story called Mikado for a Day. The story,
from WOW COMICS #18, dated October 1943, is eerie for many reasons. The art
appears to be by Phil Bard, who did a mean swipe of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
The aforementioned Black Dragon Society was lifted from ALL STAR COMICS #12
from the previous year. And to top things off, Chase Yale was referred to
repeatedly as Carter Yale. Its almost like a Gardner Fox story
got lost and rewritten by the Chesler studio!!
In the tale itself, Carter Yale hears about the plight of Americans who lived
in a section of Tokyo called Little America. The Chinese and American forces
are helpless to save them from execution at the hands of the Black Dragons
—who intend to throw them into the volcanic Mount Fujiyamas smoldering crater.
Commando Yank hitches a ride on the wing strut of a Chinese reconnaissance
plane and parachutes onto Mount Fujiyama. In short order, he dispatches the
Black Dragons and rescues the Americans. They decide to hide in plain sight,
a la Poe, and return to Little America in the heart of Tokyo. From there they
hope to make plans to escape.
But instead, a surprise visit from the Emperor gives Commando Yank a priceless
opportunity. He captures the Emperor and holds him at gunpoint. Because ordinary
Japanese soldiers are trained to obey the Emperors slightest command and do
not see him, Commando Yank is able to get the Emperor to order the return
of the Americans to their countrymen as non-combatants. Commando Yank stays
with the Emperor until the command is carried out.
The Emperor calls upon a prototype of Nippo, Captain Marvels foe, and two
other bodyguards. However, Commando Yank defeats the bruisers and takes over
the Mikados throne. Then, from inside the palace grounds, he orders a second
attack on Pearl Harbor.
What?!?!?!? you say. Yep. You read it right. But since the American forces
were prepared this time and it wasnt a sneak attack, the Japanese fleet is
Wish fulfillment and jingoism at its best. And somewhat similar to the effect
of Doolittles raid perhaps.
At the end, Commando Yank leaves the Emperor alive to avoid creating a martyr
(I guess the Black Dragon folks were too anonymous to count).
But the stories did start to become more and more believable. Carl Pfeufers
appearance on the art chores also meant some great action-packed stories.
Commando Yank seemed to start focusing more on the war in the Pacific. And
he continued the newsreel-like coverage of the war. So, in WOW COMICS #36,
dated May 1945, for example, Commando Yank and MacArthur are both shown in
the same story liberating the Phillipines. Commando Yank smokes out a few
underground Japanese Army contingents, destroys a munitions plant disguised
as a village, and frees Filipino slave-laborers. MacArthur does the heavy
lifting of freeing the island at the end.
In one unusual moment, Commando Yank mistakenly believes a Filipino freedom
fighter is a traitor and tosses him at the Japanese troops. After learning
of his error, freeing the man, and encountering the brave slave-labor force,
he discovers that one of the slaves is the daughter of the man he tossed away.
The story ends assuring us those stories of Japanese soldiers having health
problems and retreating are lies. In reality, Commando Yank defeated them
Fawcett must have ordered a stockpile of stories during the war to cover
for the possibility of losing its artists and writers to the draft. Wartime
tales continued for a while after V-E Day and V-J Day, from the Official War
Archive. Many appear to be recycled stories of one sort or another as the
publisher tried to adjust to having a character called a commando in peacetime.
For example, in WOW COMICS #40s The Secret of the Vial (inadvertently called
Tokyo Takeoff in the table of contents), Commando Yank battled Doctor Yaki on
a secret volcanic island base. The island was kept a secret by shooting down
all over flying planes and by capturing all the American forces that landed
near the island.
Doctor Yaki had invented a serum that makes men into giants. (Again, this same
idea was used many times by Gardner Fox, whose Professor Hugo Strange and
Mister Who both used similar formulas.) And he used the American pilots and
soldiers as gladiatorial combatants to test his brutal creations.
Like a costumed James Bond, Commando Yank infiltrates the hidden base, finds
the lost American pilots, defeats the giants and Doctor Yaki, and blows the whole
thing to kingdom come.
This seems to mark the start of a sort of spy-game Commando Yank. Chase Yale
travels the world for his paper and moonlights as the costumed freedom fighter,
setting wrongs to right and advancing the United Nations (i.e., the victorious
allies excluding Russia) interests throughout the world.
Again, in Scoop at Sea from WOW COMICS #47, Chase Yale is sent to Batistas
Cuba, where he becomes involved in a plot to assassinate a beautiful young
woman. Chase was summoned by his editor from the National Hotel in Brazil
by a cryptic note. Because he doesnt know why hes in Havana, Chase explores
the bay area (in a shirt that he must have stolen from Lance OCasey and monogrammed
with a big C.Y.).
Seeing two boats on a collision course, he tries to intervene. Commando Yank
first frees the girl from handcuffs on board a sailboat as a captainless vessel
is heading toward her. Then he defeats agents from an unidentified totalitarian
country. It turns out the girl is soon to take the throne of Slovenia and
the agents were trying to assassinate her.
Finally, after the case is solved, Yales editor finally wires him that he
is to keep a lookout for the Princess in Havana. As Chase puts it, he scooped
As I understand it, Commando Yank lasted up until Mary Marvel herself was
replaced by Ozzie in WOW COMICS #59, but I do not have enough issues to confirm
Commando Yank was an ordinary soldier without superpowers or superhuman abilities,
but some skill at tactics, hand-to-hand combat, and disguise.
It was suggested, but never stated as far as I know, that he was a fair linguist
and was able to speak many different languages, including French, Dutch, Chinese,
In his stories, everyone always appeared to speak English even when, in context,
it was clear they must be actually using their native tongues.
He wore a gray tunic and gray pants, a blue weapons belt, black boots with
red and white socks, and a blue hood that covered his eyes in a mask but left
his nose and mouth bare. On his chest he wore a large white circular emblem
in the center of which was a blue star. In the center of the star was a small
Excellent pictures of him can be found on numerous early and late issues
of Fawcett's WOW COMICS, including his first appearance in #6, and an excellent
side view on the cover of #8. He appeared as a smaller figure on many more
covers of issues featuring Mary Marvel and the other WOW-sters.
I hope this was some help even though my sampling is small
The word "commando" had a more exotic connotation at the time.
And the word "Yank" sounded so patriotic. I noticed he had no origin.
Nor is there an explanation of why an American is leading all the British
commandoes. Reminds me of that American character in the movie "Pearl
Harbor", who just shows up in England and starts shooting down all the
German planes. As dated as this character sounds, he might actually be interesting
to revive someday.
Ibis the Invincible
Name: Prince Amentap
First appearance: Whiz
Comics #1 (Feb. 1940)
First DC appearance Power of Shazam! #12 (Feb. 1996)
Name: Princess Taia of Thebes
appearance: Whiz #1 (Feb.
DC appearance: Power
of Shazam graphic novel
Featured appearances: All-Hero #1 Ibis
the Invincible #1-6 • Whiz Comics #1-155
was originally Prince Amentep of ancient Egypt. He was chosen by
Thoth (the God of Wisdom) to bear the Ibisstick, a magic wand which
could grant its owner's every wish. Amentep and his lover Taia had
everything their hearts desired but soon grew bored. They were also
oppressed by Amentep's cruel uncle, the Black Pharaoh. Using the
Ibisstick, they placed themselves under a spell of sleep and vowed
to awaken in "more interesting times." Believed to be dead,
their mummified bodies were later found by archaeologists and placed
in separate museums. Amentep ended up in Fawcett City. In the 1940s,
he was awakened by the wizard Shazam who knew of the prince from
his years in Egypt.
Ibis (as the museum employees had nicknamed him) set out to find
his lost love, Taia. Once they were reunited, Ibis began operating
as a mystery man and joined the loose affiliation of heroes who worked
for Shazam in Fawcett City. The Black Pharaoh resurfaced, kept alive
by dark sorcery. After the war, Ibis returned to his mystical sleep
and was awakened in modern day by Mary Marvel. He helped the Marvels
against Shazam's daughter, Blaze. Ibis defeated her handyman, Black
Adam, and took responsibility of minding the Rock of Eternity while
Shazam traveled. (Power of Shazam! #12) When
the Venusian worm called Mister Mind destroyed the Fawcett suburb, Fairfield,
Ibis was able to absorb much of the bomb's destructive force, but
not save lives. This severely taxed his powers; his former lover
Taia then placed him in suspended animation.
Ibis and Taia apparently died on a recent mission with Zatanna, (Seven
Soldiers: Zatanna #1) but they soon resurfaced only to be
forced to return to their hibernation.
The lovers nearly died again while attmpting to prevent the god
Set from acquiring the Helmet of Doctor Fate. They failed but put
managed to put a a protective spell on it. Ibis then reached out
to 17-year-old Danny Kasim Khalifa for help. Danny is an American
descended from Egyptian royalty. When he found Ibis and Taia, they
were already mummified and in their slumber. Ibis magically entrusted
Danny with the Ibistick which guided him to their patron, Thoth.
Danny succeeded in getting the Helmet back from Set and put a new
spell on it to ensure that no evil force could retrieve it. (Helmet
of Fate: Ibis)
Ibis the Invincible was a Fawcett Comics character who first appeared
in WHIZ COMICS #2 (which also contained the debut of Captain Marvel among
others). He and the other Fawcett heroes were acquired by DC in the 1970s.
Ibis was originally Prince Amentep of ancient Egypt. He was chosen by Thoth
(the God of Wisdom) to bear the Ibisstick, a magic wand which could grant
its owner's every wish. Amentep and his lover Taia had everything their hearts
desired but soon grew bored. They were also oppressed by Amentep's cruel relative
(his uncle, I believe), the Black Pharoah. Using the Ibisstick, they placed
themselves under a spell of sleep and vowed to awaken in "more interesting
Believed to be dead, their mummified bodies were later found by archaeologists
and placed in seperate museums. Amentep ended up in Fawcett City. In the 1940s,
he was awakened by the wizard Shazam who knew of the prince from his years
in Egypt. (An unnamed man looking at the sarcophagus in the original Fawcett
story was revealed as Shazam in DC's THE POWER OF SHAZAM.) Ibis (as the museum
employees had nicknamed him) set out to find his lost love, Taia. Once they
were reunited, Ibis began operating as a mystery man and joined the loose
affiliation of heroes who worked for Shazam in Fawcett City, among them Spy
Smasher, Minute Man, Bulletman, Bulletgirl, Mr. Scarlet, and Pinky. (Pre-Crisis,
they were known as the Squadron of Justice and were the heroes of Earth-S.
They were featured in a crossover with the JLA and JSA in the 70s.)
I know little of Ibis' Golden Age stories other than the fact that the Black
Pharaoh resurfaced, kept alive by dark sorcery. After the war, Ibis returned
to his mystical sleep and was awakened in modern day by Mary Marvel in an
issue of THE POWER OF SHAZAM.