[identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
As promised, in honour of his appearance in next weeks Brave and the Bold, the first of a sort of two part history of Crazy Quilt, criminal, artist and general nutcase!

CQ first appeared as a foe of the Boy Commandos in 1946. Now for the history part... The Boy Commando's were created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby after they moved to National Periodicals, and were one of the many "Street gang kid hero" teams that Kirby worked on (Others would include the "Sentinels of Liberty" and the "Newsboy Legion").

The particular gimmick behind the Boy Commando's was that they were an international team, orphans from many countries, mostly European, which explains why they operated on the battlefields of WWII, that's where most of them came from. The initial team consisted of the French André Chavard, English Alfie Twidgett, Dutch Jan Haasan, and from the USA "Brooklyn". They were, and let's see them get THIS one past the UN nowadays, an elite commando team composed of children, led by grown-up Captain Rip Carter.

After the war, they briefly stayed in Europe before retruning to America and losing most of the concept that made them interestingly different; Alfie, André and Jan all left (Jan to join newly found relatives who had surtvived the war) and Americans Tex (From, of all places, Texas) and Percy Clearweather (a genius, who wore spectacles of course) joined. The team didn't really do much business after that and they more or less vanished in 1949 (apart from reprints).

But that wasn't the end of them, but I'll deal with that later... Now on with the story, from Boy Commando's 15.

The man who would become Crazy Quilt was once apparently a painter known as Quilt (though other sources put his name as Paul Dekker) but with a particular flair. We see him touring post-War Europe, painting as he goes; castles, landscapes, and he had a certain notoriety amongst the art cognocenti, and another group too...



That's actually kind of nifty as a plan...



So with withering poetic justice, Quilt, the famous artist is rendered blind by his criminal rivalry. In desperation, Quilt seeks out all possible medical avenues, finally forcing a famed surgeon to operate on him with a radical, and risky, procedure! The operation is apparently a success, until the day the bandages come off...



So this established that Quilt isn't quite blind, he can stil see things which are brightly coloured, but everything else is an optical mess. Yup, I think I can see wht that might drive him mad... though that costume is something else! And still, he is a criminal at heart, and seeks to adapt his new condition to his work, which is sort of admirable, in a deranged sort of way.

His costume is worthy of special notice... it's certainly.... memorably colourful isn't it? :)

His crime spree spreads to post-War France!



If all you can see is bright colours, make anything you wish to target a bright colour! Affirmative action or what? Though "Beautiful Money! Nice Colors!" lacks a certain something as a battlecry

Of course, the Boy Commando's happen to be passing...



Bucky have a machine gun seems odd in retrospect, but was at least on a battlefield. Brooklyn, with a piece whilst casually walking through Paris? Just plain wrong!

Quilt and his gang escape, but empty handed



Again, nice thinking there...



Given the sheer insane size of the Louvre... good luck with that Rip! But I digress...

That night, crazy Quilt does indeed break into the Louvre, and for a painter like him there can be only one target... The Mona Lisa, alas one the the security guards gets in his way...



This being one of those stories. every single historical landmark they can work into the script shows up, it's like the episode of American cop shows when they come to the UK, and manage to stuff a weeks sightseeing into one four minute taxi ride...



And again, a nifty and logical approach in it's way.

And Brooklyn shows the value of the American education system here...





So the villain actually gets away!

He shows up only once more as their opponent, in Boy Commando's 28 in 1948. It's a very short appearance, but it does introduce what would become his trademark weapon, his colour-beam helmet. Again, this makes sense, he can only see things that are brightly coloured, so the helmet makes EVERYTHING brightly coloured...

It part of a story about Brooklyn's superstitious nature, where he basically breaks mirrors, walks under ladders and the like, and then karma comes back to slap him in the face.





As it turns out the entire story is a nightmare that runs through Brooklyn's head as he fell asleep in the dentists chair, waiting for the dentist to come in. So the second appearance of Crazy Quilt, and the introduction of the helmet, is entirely fictional, even within the confines of the DC.

Oh and the Boy Commando's? Well, it was revealed in the 1990's that it was Brooklyn who grew up to become a cop who was already well known to readers, under his real name... Dan Turpin, (who was also created by Kirby, though in the 1970's) who had a long and distinguished career in the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit, before meeting a rather vague, and possibly not permanent end in Final Crisis as Darkseids host body when Batman shoots him.

Next time, how Crazy Quilt met Robin!

Date: 2009-05-16 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vignettelante.insanejournal.com
Couldn't he just wear literal rose-tinted glasses or something? Ah, well, I suppose it's always been villain-logic that you need to change the rest of the world to suit you.

Date: 2009-05-16 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vignettelante.insanejournal.com
Ah, true. For some reason I was focusing on the "colors" part of "can only see bright colors".

Date: 2009-05-16 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] freddylloyd.insanejournal.com
The panel that first depicts Quilt's new vision is a nifty use of the four-color printing. Even if the doc has been colored lime green.

And one wonders if Kirby had a secret sympathy for an artist with a resentment. He never showed Crazy Quilt being captured.

Date: 2009-05-16 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dr_hermes.insanejournal.com
I've always been puzzled by how the Boy Commandos remained popular in their own title long after the war. They started as a sort of junior-Blackhawks, orphans from different European nations who had no family to claim them. Talk about kid sidekicks, these boys were trained as commandos and sent on missions into occupied territory. After the war, they stayed under Rip Carter's guardianship as a sort of crime-fighting team who seemed to be famous (people recognized them). Then Jan went back to Holland, Alfie and Andre followed in turn and were replaced by Tex and Percy. So the former international team was made up of all Americans. The whole point of the strip had been diluted and forgotten, it must have been going on momentum.

Date: 2009-05-17 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
You know, if you think about it, Crazy Quilt is not only a villain of his time, he's a PERFECT villain of his time. In an era of comics practically defined by their use of primary colors, he could ALWAYS see his opponent. (Nowadays, he might have a few problems.)
Oh, and is it just me, or does Brooklyn have an UGLY mug on him here? I have a 'Boy Commandos' story that takes place during the war, and he doesn't look anything like that.

Date: 2009-05-17 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
But this is AFTER Kirby, right? I thought Kirby only worked on the Commandos for a few years during the war, then dropped them for other pursuits.

Date: 2009-05-17 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
Oh. All right, I was wrong then. And yes, they would be BASED on Kirby's original, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything - artistic styles vary so widely that there are few constants with these sorts of things. I personally own something like 25 to 30 different variations on Batman, at least, and while Batman himself looks pretty much the same in most of them, there are comics where, if I didn't KNOW that so-and-so was supposed to be Bruce Wayne, I'd be going 'who's that guy? I'VE certainly never seen him before.'

Date: 2009-05-18 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aaron_bourque.insanejournal.com
I dunno, Some of those faces have a very Kirby look to them. And remember, Kirby in the 40s/50s was much looser than later Kirby.

Date: 2009-05-17 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skitty_kat.insanejournal.com
Oh, don't panic, boys. He didn't take the real Mona Lisa. As everyone knows, it's painted on a wooden panel and therefore can't be rolled up.
(I heard it on QI, it must be true)

I love all their accents. You just don't get those awful accents in comics anymore.

Date: 2009-05-17 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skitty_kat.insanejournal.com
I clearly don't read the right comics. ;) I don't remember really noticing the Squire's and I can't be arsed to dig through for Battle for the Cowl right now.
But you know what I mean - when you get a gang of kids and each has a different accent. That's always fun.
Like the Fearsome Five! Plasma, Madame Rouge, Warp etc ... they were fabulous for that.

Date: 2009-05-17 06:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skjam.insanejournal.com
It looks like Brooklyn is actually using the criminal's gun which he swiped in that first story (you can see it flying loose in the panel where they trip the crook) rather than carrying one with him. I'm guessing that this is his standard tactic, giving he does this in the second story--but gets caught at it.

Date: 2009-05-17 09:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mysteryfan.insanejournal.com
Interesting. I had no idea Crazy Quilt was a Boy Commandos villain.

And still, he is a criminal at heart, and seeks to adapt his new condition to his work, which is sort of admirable, in a deranged sort of way.
Heh. Agreed.

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