COMMANDO YANKMedium: Comic books
Published by: Fawcett Publications
First Appeared: 1942
Creators: Unknown writer and Clem Weisbecker (artist)
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With superheroes still the rage in American comic books, editors at Fawcett Publications (Bulletman, Captain Marvel) decided in 1942 that one (Mr. Scarlet) wasn't enough for Wow Comics. The sixth issue (July, 1942) introduced two more, the aviation-themed (like Airboy) Phantom Eagle and the ground-based
Commando Yank. Both appeared on the cover, with Mr. Scarlet reduced to a mere inset, but Commando Yank was far more prominent.
From the name, one would at least half-expect one of those flag wearers, like Captain America, Captain Freedom or Captain Flag. But his was a relatively subdued costume, at least by superhero standards, consisting of khaki cover-alls, blue trim and a just touch of red. It seems to have sufficed. He didn't hold onto the Wow Comics cover for very long (replaced as of #9 by Mary Marvel, and making only sporadic appearances with her thereafter), but was a regular in America's Greatest Comics, where Spy Smasher, Minute Man, and the company's other especially popular characters were collected.
Commando Yank started out as a regular commando, with several men under his command, but wore his superhero suit, including mask, in action, just like MLJ's very similar (but flag-wearing) Captain Commando, who debuted only a month later. Eventually, it transpired that without the mask, he was war correspondent Chase Yale. Chase had assumed the role because he didn't think reporting on the war was doing enough to further his country's cause. He remedied that first by using his reporterial skills for Naval intelligence, and then by becoming Commando Yank. (Why he used a British military designation instead of an American one in his name was never explained, like it eventually was for the later Sgt. Fury.)
Several creators handled Commando Yank over the years, but none stand out for being particularly associated with the character. The artist who first did him was Clem Weisbecker, who also did Nyoka the Jungle Girl for Fawcett, as well as several characters for MLJ/Archie Comics, including The Black Hood and Archie himself.
America's Greatest Comics folded in 1943, and he never did have his own title. But in the back pages of Wow Comics, Commando Yank was one of the longer-lived heroes of the '40s, even outlasting the war itself. His final appearance was in Wow #64 (March, 1948). Decades later, DC Comics acquired Fawcett's inventory of superheroes, but hasn't made use of this particular one.