RED, WHITE AND BLUEMedium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1939
Creators: Jerry Siegel (writer) and William Smith (artist)
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All-American Comics, where Green Lantern, Johnny Thunder and other stellar comic book characters debuted during the 1940s, was the first title launched by All-American Publications, an offshoot of DC Comics. The first series in the first issue, and thus the first property in a stable that eventually came to include Wonder Woman, Hawkman and other
funnybook superstars, was "Red, White and Blue". It starred a trio of U.S. Servicemen called "Red" Dugan, "Whitey" Smith and "Blooey" Blue.
Red, Whitey and Blooey were pals during their early years in a town called Oakwood, who, when they came of age, did what so many patriotic young men were doing while Hitler ran rampant through Europe. Knowing very well that, despite President Roosevelt's assurances to the contrary, America would soon be at war, they enlisted in the military. They joined different branches, one identified with a blue uniform, one with a white one, and one with a brown one that, in a pinch, could sort of pass for a dirty reddish. In many cases. that sort of contrivance is what makes it easy for readers to tell characters like them apart at a glance.
But not this time. Red was the one who wore the blue dress uniform of Army Intelligence officers, Whitey wore the browns of the regular Army, and Blooey dressed in white like the other Navy seamen. Readers had to look more closely and examine their hair, before being able to spot them visually. Red (the smart, handsome one) was so-called because of his red hair. Whitey (the tall, gawky one) had light blond hair, about as close to white as a young hero can get. Blooey (the short, goofy one) had black hair, but as in many comic books, it was printed with blue highlights.
Despite their disparate duties, the three went on many missions together, alongside their FBI contact, Agent Doris West. To the extent she was anybody's girlfriend, Doris was attached to Red; but the others weren't in competition for her affections. They were just four guys having adventures, one of whom happened to be female.
That first story in All-American Comics #1 (April, 1939) was written by Jerry Siegel, whose greatest fame came from having co-created Superman, but who also did the same for such lesser lights as The Star Spangled Kid and Slam Bradley. Their artist was William Smith, whose considerably sparser credits include The King.
Red, White and Blue were reasonably popular at the time, even if they weren't setting the world on fire. They were on four early All-American covers, but had to share two of those with Gary Concord, Hop Harrigan and other headliners from inside. They appeared in the back pages of World's Finest Comics, a DC title, back before DC and All-American started being careful about their characters crossing the aisle and appearing in the "wrong" company's comics. On their own side, they ran in All Star Comics before that title was taken over by The Justice Society of America, and in Comic Cavalcade, All-American's answer to World's Finest, where the company's popular characters were given extra exposure. They were even in The Big All-American Comic Book, a giant-sized anthology of the company's stars, which All-American put out in 1944.
By the time the European war was over, those extra appearances had run their course. But they remained in the back pages of All-American Comics through the end of the war. Their final appearance there was in #71, September, 1945, after which they were replaced by another trio, this one of humously inept supporting characters from The Flash. DC, which now owns the All-American properties, has seen fit to leave this World War II series back in World War II. Not only has DC never used them since, which is highly unusual for its '40s characters — it didn't even mention them in Who's Who in the DC Universe, which is just short of unique.