Friday, January 05, 2007

Why We Love Captain Storm

You don't remember Capt. Storm. No one does.

But you love him. You just don't realize it yet.

During the heyday of DC's war comics line, DC did what they could to give an invididual schtick to each title, sometimes going to extreme lengths. Creature Commandos; G.I. Robot; the Unknown Soldier; the Haunted Tank. Want to make sure you never have a second date with someone? Spend the first one explaining the Haunted Tank.

Yet, those are remember fondly (or at least wrily) as cult classics. But poor Capt. Storm is not; he's the Aquaman of war comics.

But that's okay, because just as we love Aquaman, we love Captain Storm, and here's just a few reasons why.

1. Captain Storm is a sea captain with a wooden leg.

How many handicapped heroes are there in comics today? Not faux-cripples like Dr. Mid-Nite and Daredevil who although "blind" can see better than I do or Captain Marvel Junior and Osiris, whose powers remove their defects; I mean actual heroes with handicaps. Or, for the matter, just plain characters. The only one I can think of in any of the comics I read is Firestorm's dad. Oh, and Oracle. And Sarge Steel. And I guess Jason Bard, the Naked Detective. And poor color-blind Roy G. Bivolo. And Hooley, the forger. And Jericho, who's not deaf and dumb, but rather just mute and stupid.

Okay, so there's lots of them. But they don't have wooden legs.

Any way, Captain Storm is a PT boat commander in WWII, who loses his leg when his boat is attacked by a Killer Sub. Not a regular sub. A Killer Sub. It's always called a "Killer Sub". I supposed that's to distinguish it from Blue Subs, Humpback Subs, and Sperm Subs.

Rather than take a desk job, as his CO recommends, he struggles through physical rehabilitation to regain his PT command, with the help of Nurse Cruel-Lea Tauntsalot, administratrix of tough love and part-time dominatrix for hire.

Not only is he shown regaining him command, but he hangs out with other wounded servicemen and helps inspire them, while Nurse Tauntsalot keeps pushing their fruit cup just out of their reach.

I don't mind that today's comics employ rape, decapitation, and defenestration; what I mind is when they give up on inspiring readers. One of the reasons I still prefer comics to lots of other media is that comics aren't cynically embarrassed about praising heroic ideals and inspiring the audience. Please don't lose that aspect of comics, because I really don't want to have to watch sports movies and Lifetime specials for the rest of my life.

Captain Storm is inspiring. Bring back Captain Storm.

2. Captain Storm is romantically haunted by his past.

DC's not above cribbing from other literature. Captain Storm is intended as a modern-day (well ... WWII-era) Captain Ahab. He lost his leg to the Killer Sub, and he's haunted by the thought of destroying it the way it destroyed his men. This puts Captain Storm in good company with other characters from great literature. Captain Ahab. Deadman. Lady Cop. "I must find the X that did Y to me/my friends ... and make him/her/it pay!"

If Bob Rozakis were still at DC, we'd eventually learn in a letter column that Lady Cop is, in fact, the granddaughter of Captain Storm and Nurse Tauntsalot, and that the grandson of the commander of the Killer Sub turns out to be the Killer in Boots. Of course, that's all still possible, because while Bob Rozakis may not write for DC any more, Geoff Johns does, which means that Captain Storm probably fathered an illegitimate child with Liberty Belle, which explains Lady Cop's Olympic-level Ass-Kicking Abilities.

3. Captain Storm has pretty art.

None of that scratchy Easy Co. art for Capt. Storm. The seabattles are rich, colorful, and vibrant. No decadent, enervating surrealism here, folks.

Oh, and that battleship? Not only did it survive the battle, but Bob Rozakis tells me that after the war it was decommissioned, reconditioned, and sold as surplus to a world-travelling entrepeneur.


5. Captain Storm will beat sharks senseless with his wooden leg.

If you don't love that, then you might as well read Archie, folks.


1000Words said...

We know who Capt. Storm is because we read New Frontier.

Personally, I'm old enough to remember buying the comics he was in!

Good stuff - DC needs to Showcase it.

Anonymous said...

ha. I know Bob Rozakis' daughter personally. I've met Bob. I'm not sure he likes Geoff Johns too much. That's just my opinion based on how he speaks about his work.

-Billy F

The Fortress Keeper said...

Hey, I love Capt. Storm too.

You got to like a guy who can shoot an enemy airplane down at point blank range.

Plus, he was a member of the fabled (pre-Vertigo) Losers!

Ron said...

Who says you can't keep a promise to your men while on your knees?

Tom Galloway said...

Don't forget that late in the Losers series, Capt. Storm also managed to lose an eye, causing him to start wearing an eyepatch. I figure if the series had gone another year or so, there would've been a parrot perched on his shoulder.

Sleestak said...

He's Capt Ahab without all the psychotic meglo baggage!

MMG said...

And according to Shaun McLaughlin he's Aquaman's long lost uncle.

Seriously, it's on Tegan's site and everything.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

So how'd he get promoted from lieutenant to captain? In the Navy, that's a pretty big jump.

joncormier said...

Weird, I just posted about a guy knocking someone unconcious with their own wooden leg as well - only in a movie. It's better in comics and underwater and with sharks.

SallyP said...

Is it me, or is that nurse having way too much fun watching the poor Captain fall over? The beating the sharks scene however, is fabulous.

David C said...

After that first page, I think I want more adventures of "Lt. Lea, Badass Battle Nurse!"

Scipio said...

"It's better in comics and underwater and with sharks."

But then again ...

most things are.

Chris Sims said...

Well I remember Captain Storm (from the Losers, of course), but even in his pre-Losers days, he's pretty notable as being a guy who once saved the life of a young DCU John F. Kennedy.

H said...

My first reaction was "Capt. Storm"?!?! Surely you kid me Scipio.

Then I read this line:

'he's the Aquaman of war comics'

Count me in.

H, Corresponding Secretary, Capt. Storm Fan Club

Anonymous said...

But he's not as cool as Captain STRONG, the Superman villain based on Popeye the Sailor Man

Anonymous said...

Surely based on second world war hero Douglas Bader ?

Scipio said...

Excellent, H. Glad to have you aboard!

HammerHeart said...

Man, that stuff is AWESOME, Scipio. Is that Dick Giordano's artwork? The panel with the japanese submarine torpedoing ships is a brilliant piece of visual narrative - just look at how much info is neatly arranged into that one gorgeous illustration. Pure class.

Has Capt. Storm been collected somewhere?

HammerHeart said...

Wait... on second thought, I'm guessing the art is from Irv Novick. It looks like the Flash comics that I read when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

It's probably Irv Novick. At least he's the only one I ever remember on the book. Some of his best work, IMHO.

Storm rocks, but he's not the bad-ass that Rock is, or as crazy as Jeb in the Tank.

Mike Nielsen

Accursed Interloper said...

"So how'd he get promoted from lieutenant to captain? In the Navy, that's a pretty big jump. "

Quirk of Naval terminology, which is fraught with such zaniness. He was in command of a vessel, so he's addressed as "Captain," even though he's a Lieutenant, and the vessel was a 75-foot plywood speedboat.
Damn. Doesn't seem any sensibler when laid out like that, does it? Sorry.

Dave said...

If that "scratchy Easy Co. art" remark was referring to Joe Kubert, it wasn't appreciated.