6 Old-Timey Comics Straight Out of a (Bad) Acid Trip

It's amazing how all of the comic book icons have been around for half a century or more. But why did Batman (1939) and Superman (1938) endure when all of the other comic book characters from that era were forgotten? Well, it's partly because those other characters were absolutely freaking insane. Behold the dark madness of ...

#6. The Eye

Keen Detective Funnies Vol. 2 # 24, Page 28

The Eye is undeniable evidence that comic book artists began doing acid long before they started admitting to it in the '60s. As the name suggests, the Eye is a sometimes giant crime-fighting disembodied eye with magical powers that gets off on hovering behind criminals and silently watching them without their knowledge. (Actually, if you guessed all that from just the name, you're probably a psychopath.)

Keen Detective Funnies Vol. 2 # 12, Page 51
A full half of each issue was the Eye watching people go to the bathroom.

There's never any attempt to explain where it came from, how it got its powers or what happened to the rest of its body -- the Eye simply is, and should you anger it, it won't hesitate to squash you like a bug and scatter your limbs across the bottom of the ocean.

Keen Detective Funnies Vol. 2 # 12, Page 53
We question the efficacy of lecturing criminals when all they're thinking is "HOLY SHIT IT'S A GODDAMNED FLOATING EYE."

Keen Detective Funnies Vol. 2 # 12, Page 53
The phrase "Cruel and unusual punishment" wasn't meant to be a suggestion.

This is less "clean comic book fun," more "Old Testament horror." The only reason we know the Eye isn't God himself is that God clearly doesn't exist in the universe this comic takes place in. Instead of giving their "superhero" a weakness or flaw to make it relatable, the Eye's creators decided to go in the exact opposite direction and bestowed it with unlimited powers, including the frightening ability to penetrate men's minds.

Keen Detective Funnies Vol. 2 # 12, Page 49
"His third person speech annoying!"

Not only that, but it can also influence the minds of innocent people, apparently. Upon finding out that its sidekick, barrister Jack Barrister, was having problems with his wife, the Eye somehow persuades her to take him back.

Keen Detective Funnies Vol. 2 # 24
"Keen Detective Funnies: The Most Inaccurately Named Magazine in America!"

But don't worry, the Eye is a friend to all men who believe in justice -- the only thing it asks in return is your complete obedience.

Keen Detective Funnies Vol. 2, # 12, Page 54

The Eye was such a big hit, it seems, that soon other publishers rushed to cash in on the disembodied body part superhero craze. Another example is the Big Hand, an equally bizarre floating arm who communicates exclusively through cards written in blood.

Speed Comics # 12
"Meet me in the men's room. -TBH"

#5. Boy Heroes

All-New Comics #6
We're pretty sure reading this counts as a war crime.

The Boy Heroes were at best government-sanctioned child soldiers, at worst a pack of cold-blooded miniature mercenaries. At an age when most of us were noticing the opposite sex, the only thing the Boy Heroes had "noticed" were Nazi machine guns slamming bullets through their comrades' skulls.

All New Comics # 11, Page 4
We like to think "Duck You" was an edit by the censors.

When the friendly World War II soldiers who kindly let the Boy Heroes in on their suicide mission are killed in front of them, the children barely even flinch. A second later, the matter is forgotten as the kids push the corpses aside and pick up their dropped guns to join the fighting.

All New Comics # 11, Page 4
"Meh, they knew what they were signing up for."

But these boys could give it as well as they could take it -- despite their whimsical costumes and jokey personalities, the horrors of war had clearly hardened their very souls and turned them into merciless killers. They took no prisoners:

All New Comics # 12, Page 10.
"Dibs on all ears and eyeballs!"

And they didn't mince words about it:

All New Comics # 12
"Um, I mean, those Japanese people. Now let's kill them."

Seriously, these kids had more kills than birthdays:

All New Comics # 11, Page 11
"I meant let's pull a prank on him, but this works, too."

Even other children weren't spared by the Boy Heroes: In one mission, one of the kids managed to infiltrate the Hitler Youth by convincing everyone he was actually a high-ranking Nazi official.

All New Comics # 11, Page 9
It wasn't a huge stretch.

When his captured friends were seconds from being executed, the young double agent pulled a switcheroo and replaced them with some German kids -- one of whom happened to be the son of one of the officers.

All New Comics # 11
This shit makes Watchmen look like Little Lulu.

The Boy Heroes suffered physical horrors, saw their friends die before their eyes and personally killed many German and Japanese soldiers. When they returned from battle, their superiors were appalled that such an oversight could happen and shipped them back home to the U.S. to get immediate psychiatric treatment.

Just kidding! They rewarded them with ice cream and trips to the movies, then sent them back to the battlefield.

All New Comics # 11, Page 11
Next Ish: The Boys make a new friend, Krazy Kony!

#4. Yankee Doodle Jones

Yankee Comics # 1 – Cover

At first glance, Yankee Doodle Jones appears to be just another Captain America type hero. He looks like an Aryan wet dream, dresses in an American flag outfit that'd send any country singer into a jealous rage and is pumped full of a steroid that gives him "the strength of an army." Also, he answers directly to the highest authority in the country. And we don't mean the president:

Yankee Comics # 1, Page 4
Uncle Sam, who is unelected and holds no position of authority in the U.S. Constitution.

Even Yankee's origin seems "inspired" by Captain America's: They are both the product of a secret government project led by a scientist who is killed by Nazis immediately after producing the first of what should have been many super soldiers (which is actually the plot of half the comics published in 1941). The difference is that Yankee Doodle Jones wasn't so much recruited for the project as stitched together from the still-living bodies of handicapped World War I veterans. He's basically a walking war memorial.

On the first panel of the first story, we meet three crippled men:

Yankee Comics # 1, Page 2
Thank goodness for that sign -- the blacked out glasses and cane were real subtle.

One is blind, one has no arms or face and one is just a bald guy with crutches, and apparently they all got together beforehand and rehearsed that speech that they all shout in unison. Exactly one panel later, they are all dead.

Yankee Comics # 1, Page 2

Soon, the cobbled-together abomination produced from the union of their corpses awakes, having inexplicably achieved sentience (and blond hair).

Yankee Comics # 1, Page 2
"Afterward, you'll pick one of three available dicks."

When a bunch of Nazis jump out of nowhere and murder the 20th century Dr. Frankenstein, Yankee Doodle Jones adopts the scientist's son as his teenage sidekick, Dandy, and the two go off to fight for truth, justice and the right to dissect hobos in deranged experiments.

Yankee Comics # 1
"I'm already pieces, technically!"

Here's the thing, though: Dandy gets the exact same powers as Yankee Doodle from injecting himself with the last remnants of the "invincibility injection" -- meaning they could have used it on any able-bodied person and the result would have been the same. There's no reason why they had to kill three men, chop their corpses to pieces and sew them back together into one man, other than because they could.

What's perhaps even more disturbing is that the first issue has a death toll of at least five people in seven pages (not counting the three veterans) -- all of whom probably ended up in a freezer, waiting to be used as spare parts in a future adventure.

Yankee Comics # 1
"Try not to punch him near the kidneys, though."

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