"Spawned in battle and tempered by danger, afraid of nothing that lives or breathes, hurling their thunderous war cry into the teeth of tyrants, here come Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos!"
— Stan Lee, Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos #1.
From legendary Comic Book
duo Stan Lee
and Jack Kirby
, one of the most iconic American war comics. Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos
followed a racially-integrated special operations squad of the US Army during World War II
, as they fought Those Wacky Nazis
A war comic "in the Mighty Marvel
Manner", the Howlers' missions were usually larger-than-life adventure stories, less realistic than, for instance, DC's Sgt. Rock
feature. The series run for 120 issues (May, 1963-July, 1974)
The Howlers eventually met up with many "modern" Marvel characters who were active in WWII, including Captain America
, a young Reed Richards
and Baron von Strucker, who was one of Fury's chief enemies both as a Wehrmacht officer and decades later as head of HYDRA. Nick Fury
and many of the Howlers survived the war and became active in "modern" Marvel stories as well. Indeed, Dum-Dum Dugan even wound up leading S.H.I.E.L.D.'s anti-Godzilla
In the movie, Captain America: The First Avenger
, these characters (minus Nick Fury) are merged in concept with Cap's World War II superhero group, The Invaders
. Essentially it's the Howlers but includes Captain America, Bucky and James Montgomery Falsworth (who is the British superhero, Union Jack, in the comics and father of two Invaders, Spitfire and Union Jack II).
- All Germans Are Nazis: Eric Koenig subverts this, being a very anti-Nazi German, because the Nazis killed his sister.
- Anyone Can Die: The series notably killed off a Junior Juniper early on, as well as Pamela Hawley, Fury's love interest. Quite unheard of for its day.
- Badass Crew
- Black Viking: On at least one occasion, Gabe (along with the other Howlers) impersonated a German soldier. He appeared to have no greater or lesser difficulty pulling this off than any of the white Howlers.
- But Not Too Black: Gabe Jones suffered this early on.
- Clothing Damage: Fury almost never completes a mission with his jacket intact.
- Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Izzy was Charles Bronson.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Pinkerton.
- Cunning Linguist: Dino spoke Italian and German. Quite handy in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) of WWII.
- Evil Counterpart: During the war, Baron Von Strucker tried countering the Howlers by assembling his own commando unit with Germans who each shared a quirk of their enemies.
- Five-Token Band: One of the trend setters, actually. You had Jewish Izzy Cohen, Black Gabe Jones, German Eric Koenig, British gay Pinky Pinkerton, Italian-American Dino Manelli and Irish-American Dum-Dum Dugan. There was also Nisei Jim Morita.
- Insert Grenade Here
- It's Raining Men: The Howlers made a combat jump once every other issue.
- Nice Hat: A great many:
- Dugan had a Bowler hat emblazoned with his Corporal's insignia.
- Pinkerton wore the tam-o-shanter of his original British Army regiment.
- Rebel wore a hat that shouldn't exist for another twenty years.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dino Manelli bears a marked resemblance to Dean Martin.
- Oddly Small Organization: The Howling Commandos were a squad and perfectly the proper size. The Ranger Company they belonged to, however, was actually platoon sized.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: Dino can even be seen doing it in the page illo.
- Politically Correct History: One issue had a bigoted replacement commando join their ranks temporarily, at which time he antagonized Dino, Izzy and Gabe, an Italian, Jewish and African American. Everyone acted like it was a very rare and backward view. Of course, since the comics were written at a time when this was true (the racism), YMMV on whether this is Politically Correct History on the part of the comic and/or the authors, or whether they were seriously trying to show that racism was stupid.
- Point is the n Howlers acted like they'd never met a racist person before.
- Psycho Rangers: Baron Strucker and his Blitzkreig squad!
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Again, Pinkerton.
- Ranger The Howlers were American Rangers who were given honorary Status as British Commandos by Winston Churchill.
- Retired Badass / Handicapped Badass: The Howlers' CO, Cpt. Happy Sam Sawyer.
- Sacrificial Lamb: The squad's youngest member, Junior Juniper, is killed off early on to show how dangerous the war is. He had no character to speak of besides general naivety.
- Sergeant Rock: Who else but Nick Fury?
- Southern-Fried Private: Robert "Rebel" Ralston.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler
- The Rival: Bull McGivenney and his Maulers.
- The Squad
- Those Wacky Nazis
- Token Enemy Minority: Morita, Koenig and Manelli.
- Underestimating Badassery: Do not fuck with the effeminate Englishman with the Bumbershoot.
- World War II
- War Is Glorious