Monday, 26 July 2010

Forgotten Heroes: Crimebuster

Action Ash
Most of you will recognise this character from the cover of Rage against the machine's second album Evil Empire. Trying to find the origin of the image once while bored I found out that it was originally painted by artist Mel Ramos as a portrait of the Golden Age comic book hero Crimebuster. I had never heard of this "Crimebuster" so, of course, it was straight to the google mobile.

Created by Charles Biro and Bob Wood for Boy Comics, Crimebuster was Chuck Chandler, who's father was killed by a Gestapo agent known as Iron Jaw. This was because the lower half of his face had been blown off and replaced by huge metal jaws (brutal, right?). So Chuck did what any young lad, shattered emotionally from the death of a parent, would do. He created a costume out of his Hockey uniform, got a pet monkey and went around beating up Nazis and criminals. You can check that out HERE (and don't ask me who the naked Greek mythology reject is on the first page, because I have no idea).

Later on he lost the cape and put on some slacks because his girlfriend said that she refused to be seen with him while he wore that ridiculous costume. Personally I'd have told her where to go, but that's just me.

I found all this out late last year, and had since forgotten about the character, until I came across this:

WTF? SRSLY! (click on picture to read the story)
This is truly a concept for a villain I haven't seen re-used. Literally half male, half female, split down the middle. This story had me laughing out loud at some points. Not just because of the freak of nature bad-guy, but because of certain bits of dialogue and the fact that the police commissioner switches from calm to bat-shit insane anger twice on page 9.

The Crimebuster stories seem to be a strange juxtaposed mix of child like antics, annoying comedy moments (mainly thanks to Squeeks, the pet monkey) and brutal violence all amidst dark scenarios, that certainly wouldn't be found in kids comics today. For instance, while swimming for safety he and his injured mother are shot at by German soldiers, one of which manages to glance a shot off of Chuck's melon, causing him to let go of his mother who in turn drowns.
Another example being, after his first attempt on Chuck's dad's life fails, Iron Jaw finds his victim in hospital, beats up a nurse and then slashes one of the poor guy's main arteries.
Sweet dreams kids!

I love Crimebuster and I have nothing more to say on the matter.

On second thoughts, in the words of the hero himself, I do have something to declare...

One, I don't like your face!

Two, I have a left and right to change it with!

p.s. A No-Prize to anyone who gets the reference in the He-She story to Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat. (Yeah, I read books too.)


Valhallahan said...

He She is so worth remembering next time I need to do fancy dress.