Apr 9, 2017

The Top Ten Ways to Dispatch the Young Allies

"We fight together through stormy weather.
We're out to lick crooks and spies!
We won't be topped and we can't be stopped.
We are the Young Allies!

The Young Allies first appeared as a backup feature in Captain America #8 (1941), and soon spun off into their own 20-issue title (1941-1946).  They were extraordinarily popular during World War II, also appearing in in Complete Comics #2 (1943), Kid Komics #2-#10 (1943-1944), Amazing Comics #1 (1944), and, after the War, in Marvel Mystery Comics #75-83 (1946-47).

The group consisted of Bucky and Toro, the teen sidekicks of Captain America and the Human Torch,  plus four heavily stereotyped non-superheroic teenagers: the working-class stiff Knuckles (Percival Aloysius O'Toole), the swishy rich kid Jeff (Jefferson Worthing Sandervilt), the tubby Tubby (Henry Tinkle), and the minstrel-show reject Whitewash Jones.

Although they were out to "lick crooks and spies," they mostly fought Nazi and Japanese super-villains.  Almost every cover illustration depicted at least two of the four non-superheros tied up and awaiting a horrifying doom, while Bucky or Toro or both rushed in to save the day.

In their regular titles, Bucky and Toro were constantly being rescued by their adult chums, so I guess they wanted to be the heroes for a change.

Of course, any male-male rescue in a world of men rescuing women is going to have a gay subtext.

Here are the ten most creative ways that super-villains conjured up to dispatch the Young Allies:

1, A tank of carbon monoxide. Wouldn't strangling them work just as well?  Notice that Knuckles is helping, so there will be three heroes, and they can pair off nicely at the end of the story.

2. All four face a stabbing machine.  Notice Adolph Hitler behind the Red Skull.  The covers have no connection to the stories inside, so I have no idea why the four are drawn as middle-aged rather than young teens. Maybe some sort of aging gas?

3. Just Jeff and Tubby this time, getting racked on a "Stretcher" machine run by skeletons in green pants.

4. Here Knuckles is helping Toro and Bucky rescue the other three from guillotines, but it actually looks like the evil Nazi cultists are planning to stab them.  Notice that Knuckles barely misses hitting Bucky in the butt.

5. Tubby and Jeff are facing death by giant octopus.

More after the break.

6.  Knuckles is helping again, but the others face Death by Human Grinder.  I like how they're tied with their butts in the air.

7. Knuckles, Bucky, and Toro get to rescue one Young Ally apiece from the quick drying cement.

8. Death by shark.  Knuckles comes to the rescue firing a bazooka from a tank.  Is he unaware that tanks have guns?

9-10.  Knuckles and Whitewash are tied to a Nazi bomb (why is it bombing the Red Skull's headquarters)?

Meanwhile, Jeff and Tubby are in a "torture tank," facing death by drowning (unless the liquid pouring onto them isn't water).

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