And now for the story that Mr. Camp referenced over at Mars Will Send No More, namely the one in which the Boy King’s giant is locked in mortal combat with a giant Nazi robot T-Rex. C’mon – how can this not be cool?

The Boy King and his Giant appeared in the first dozen issues of Hillman Periodicals’ Clue Comics, and would likely be forgotten today had they not been revived a few years ago in Dynamite Entertainment’s Project: Superpowers (in which the Boy King appears as the leader of The Inheritors, a half-assed Golden Age analogue of the Teen Titans).

The Boy King has a fairly complex origin, but the short version is that his dying father bequeaths to him a huge metal giant built by Nostradamus (yeah, the famous French apothecary and charlatan), which the kid uses to battle the Nazi invaders of his homeland, Swisslakia, in tandem with his new-found American allies.

Nostradamus gets it wrong

Clue Comics adopted a presentation style for the Boy King’s adventures which was decades ahead of its time: they didn’t tell a complete story in each issue. Typically each issue’s feature started with the second half of the previous issue’s story, followed by the first half of a new adventure, with the two connected by a flimsy bridging device (usually consisting of nothing more than the word “meanwhile”). Thus to find out what happens in a story, you have to buy the next issue – which also has the first half of another story, and thus you are hooked. I know Marvel thinks they invented that idea, but they didn’t — they just perfected it by creating universe-spanning multi-book crossovers in which you have to buy every dang book Marvel publishes just to know what’s going on (unless Grant Morrison is the writer, in which case nobody knows what’s going on). This presentation was tough on the readers because Clue Comics became a quarterly magazine after its third issue; you’d have to wait three months to see how a story turns out (much like Project: Superpowers — well, everything published by Dynamite Entertainment, come to think of it, which is why I consider them to be just a half-click or so above “fly by night” status as a comic publisher).

Therefore, by necessity, our current story is split into two parts. Clue Comics #4 (June 1943) presented a splash panel “teasing” the story:

I’m not sure how I feel about the dino-bot wearing a swastika garter around its thigh. It seems like I’m watching the 1943 Miss Nude World pageant and Nazi Germany had a really tough time coming up with an attractive contestant.

Clue Comics spent the next six pages wrapping up the unfinished business from the previous issue before getting down to the new stuff on page 8 (beginning with – you guessed it – the word “meanwhile”):

By the way, you can click a pic to enlarge the page.

“The dome of the White House”. Heh. Stupid Nazis.

General Scott is actually doing a smart thing here. “Your giant is a really bigass target, so we’ll have him gather raw materials instead of fighting for us. Sorry, kid, but he’s really just a two-legged steam shovel. Plus you don’t have a green card.”

Oh, boy! That last panel is swell!

Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy!

Nuts! “To be continued”.

I don’t know about you, but that next-to-last panel just doesn’t look right to me. The first thing I thought was “Geeze, get a room!”

Now let’s all pretend we’ve waited three months for Clue Comics #5 (September 1943) to read the exciting conclusion:

I think the underwater fight and the octopus just complicate the story. I’m sorry – did I say “complicate”? I meant to say “pad”.

And then, “meanwhile”… Actually, that’s not really fair because the bridge to the next story in Clue Comics #5 was a bit more substantial than some of the others.

There you have it – a battle between a giant humanoid robot and a giant Nazi dinosaur robot. It could have been cooler, but overall it wasn’t a bad little tale.

Thanks to the gang at The Digital Comic Museum for the page scans, and to Mars Will Send No More for pointing me at this story.

Have fun! — Steve

Copyright 2012, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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