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 ...

The Eye

he LYE T HE EYE. DEADLY SCOURGEOF THE LINDERWORLD- LALIGHING AT TIME AND SPACE.- FERRETING OUT CRIMINALS AND CRIMINAL RACKETS IS THE EYE'S CRUSADE IN
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.)

HERE ARE FULL INSTRUCTIONS FOR LOCATING MATTES!
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.

GENTLEMEN-YOUR DOOM IS SEALED !! -NO MORE ROBBERY-NC MORE KILLING ! ....THIS EARTH WILL BE WELL RID OF TWo SUCH AS YOU !!
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."

WIT ITH e FLASH OF FIRE, THE EYE STRIKES THE MONOPLANE As THOUGH IT WERE A SMALL FLY! MM -AND THE TWO MEN PLUNGE EARTHWARD SCREAMING!
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.

THE EYE!- TO WHOM TIME AND DISTANCE ARE NOTHING- WHO BARES MAN'S THOUGHTS AND PIERCES HIS CONSCIENCE! -THE EYE'S POWERS ARE LIMITLESS-HIS VENGEANCE TE
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.

BRAVO, BARRISTER- THEN IAcK'S LOVELY WIFE DASHES Dp TO THATIS THE WAY TO HIM -AND INTO HIS ARMS1 ThaEVE's HANDLE THOSE RATS! JACK, DEAREST- SHOW NO ME
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.

HAVE NO FEAR OF ME, BUT DO AS 1 SAY! SIT DOWN AT YOUR DESK AND PREPARE TO WRITE!
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.

The HAND SO0N FINDS ITS QUARRY. WELL 2 SAY, A HAND.! A- WHAT THE A-YES-A HAND! IT'5 GoT A CARD 1
Speed Comics # 12

"Meet me in the men's room. -TBH"

Boy Heroes

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

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

VHEROES WAIST GUNNERS DUAD NUMBED PREPARE 7o CARRY ON, WHEN-.. TO THEIR PLACES AT THE GUNSLADS! O0M! YE'LL TAE OVEr.. OHHHH!
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:

6 Old-Timey Comics Straight Out of a (Bad) Acid Trip
All New Comics # 12, Page 10.

"Dibs on all ears and eyeballs!"

And they didn't mince words about it:

SEVEN GOOD MEN KILLED!-. COME ON HERE BOYS, LETS MAKE COMES THEM FILTHY NIPS ANOTHER PAY FOR IT! BASH HIM GANG!
All New Comics # 12

"Um, I mean, those Japanese people. Now let's kill them."

Seriously, these kids had more kills than birthdays:

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

PUNCHY CAPITALIZING On his POBItan AS AHIT2ER OUTHLEADERSEES... A5-TOONK'MARCH! EET...FACE'DATEIT. YOuse JO1.: HOLYCAT! JAWOHL HERR POONCHy! P2INCE AN
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.

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

6 Old-Timey Comics Straight Out of a (Bad) Acid Trip
All New Comics # 11, Page 11

Next Ish: The Boys make a new friend, Krazy Kony!

Yankee Doodle Jones

YS7 ST NL IOt STARRING YANKEE DOODLE JONE5 YMMIC PICAV PUUORLDS Oc nrne
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:

THREE OF My MOSI /7'5 OPENING WeLL tM GLAD 7O SEE ALUABLE OFFICEOS By ISELE... Yo BOYS HAVE ENJOVED HAvE BEENSTRANGLED WHYITIS YOUR RESTI STAADAT 7O D
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:

A STRANGE GROUP of CRIODLED WAR VETERANS GATHER AT THE WILLINGLV. so THA7 FROM HOME OFAN EMINENT SURGEON. US A DROTECTOR OF THE AMERICAN DOCTRINES yoU
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.

HOURS OF TRANSPLANTING... DELICATE LIVING ORGANISIMS AND.
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).

I AM READY. GOo0! NOW DOCTOR. OR THE ONVINCIBILITY INJECTION! OUT OF THE DOORWAY COMES MIGHTY YANKEE DOODLE JONES .
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.

I'M YANKEE CUT THEM DOODLE! I'M To PIECES! DANDYS
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.

SE2 you rou A2l GET WIN BABCON FACED NOW HEE EEHEE NU7 7nazs THE NOAMorE TROUSLE EMO of YOUR HERE!L AGGGG! STP4AGI ING LOOT uOF GS DAVS.HAC T LEADER.
Yankee Comics # 1

"Try not to punch him near the kidneys, though."

Silver Streak

SILYER Worldis TREAK Fastest mian! AND WHIZ KING OF FALCONS MERSUR Foerune ERE 7 SBEA MUMOBA OE AETS o H MEXEY 0704 KNOWN AO BEADO BY Roy STRIAK E AS
Silver Streak # 11, Page 58

"The Boy Streak." This is about to get uncomfortable, isn't it?

Silver Streak is like the Flash, if the Flash didn't give a shit and was a child-molesting pervert. Now, we know that gratuitous accusations of pedophilia get thrown at superheroes and their sidekicks all the time, and we're probably guilty of having done that in the past, but this ... this is really something else.

It all starts when our hero, Silver Streak, meets a poor boy on the street and takes him to his apartment with the promise of injecting his "secret fluid" into him.

Bt ISN'T ZOVO BEFORE MICKEY ANO STVER STRRAT ARE FAsT FRIENDS--7WO OAYS LATER THE SPEED KING'S APARTMENT GEEIT Was SWELL I'M PROUO THAT OF MOM TO LET
Silver Streak #1

This panel makes our job completely redundant.

After stripping down (seriously) and receiving the fluid injection, the boy gains all the powers of the Silver Streak and becomes his sidekick, Mercury (inexplicably renamed "Meteor" two issues later, simply because no one cared enough to keep track of that sort of thing). It's also explained that Silver Streak's pet falcon, Whiz, got superpowers using the same method, but we'd rather not dwell too much on that.

Anyway, Silver Streak and Mercury/Meteor/whatever soon go off to fight the Third Reich in their own, shall we say, very special way.

HERE COMES THE RESTOF BOMB AETER BOMB IS THE MURDERING CREW! DROPPED ON THE PAIR... NowIS OUR CHANCE TO BUT THEIR SPEED IS NO WIPE 'EM ALL OUT! MATCH
Silver Streak # 17

Decades later, a traumatized Mercury would resurface as Chris Hansen.

WITH A SWIFT LUNGE, SILVER STREAK GRASPS THE FLYING SHELL COME TO PAPA! YOU CAN PLAYO MY BALL TEAM ANYTIME!
Silver Streak # 17

OK, at some point they just flat out stopped fighting Nazis and began openly flirting with each other in the sky as they let deadly bombs fall on American soil. They're not even making the minimum effort to hide it. The homoerotic repartee they're trading makes Batman and Robin sound like rowdy truckers.

AND sO SILVER! WHAT PERISHES IVE COT ISIT? ALL LEVIL, AN IDEA! HOPE! WE MAD A HOT TIE FOP A WHILE THOUGH!
Silver Streak # 15

MAYBE EM HOPNG FOR 7OO MUCH-.. BUT CANT WE USE OUR SPEED JUST POR A PLEASURE THi.. SOME CAYI
Silver Streak # 15

We'll just go ahead and get ready for the FBI raid now.

Somehow, the writer of this comic must have known the Internet would exist, because there's literally no reason for this panel to be in this comic other than for comedy websites in the future to make fun of it. The expression, the wording, the emphasis on pleasure -- this much inappropriateness could only exist by design.

Also, even when Silver Streak wasn't busy breaking statutory laws, he seemed less concerned with helping win the war and more with just trolling enemy soldiers by branding them with his special "V" mark.

AS OF LIGHTNING... SILVER SWIET TWO BOLTS METEOR AOMINISTER TUSTICE.... AND ON THE FACE STREAK AND OF EACH SOLDIER.AS HE FALLS TO HIS DOOM... IS A FAM
Silver Streak # 17, Page 36

Pictured: Eisenhower-era teabagging.

Boy King and the Giant

THE BOY K Kh n N G AND THE WE CAN! G1ANT! WE WILLI WE MUSTI WE MUST WIP OUT CRIME! W CANT LIV POR 70- MACOROW 0 0R 7O MUST YOU
Clue Comics # 2, Page 1

The origin story for Boy King is one of those classic, timeless tales: When the Nazis invade the idyllic and culturally stagnant European nation of Swisslakia, the dying king tells his young son David to go and dig up the giant robot Nostradamus built for just such an occasion. Yep, that Nostradamus, who was apparently a genius robotician in addition to a bullshit artist.

6 Old-Timey Comics Straight Out of a (Bad) Acid Trip
Clue Comics # 1, Page 8

"The robot is powered by intentional vagueness and apocryphal quotes."

Becoming Swisslakia's official new king, David uncovers the robot and immediately uses it to crush the Nazi army. As in horribly squash their bodies to death.

7HEN Orrs ench
Clue Comics # 1

NOINO DONITIHELPI GAAAAAGHHr! SOMEBODYS AG HHH! SAVE ME!HELP/ NO/ NO/
Clue Comics # 1

... which, actually, seems like a fairly reasonable use for it. The problem is that the more he uses the giant, the more pleasure the Boy King seems to derive from commanding it to kill people in increasingly contrived ways. That kid had issues. Observe as his expression changes from anger to sadistic glee:

NOW GIANTI A AW OKAY GIANT WEILL LET'S GET WHAT'S STRIOES START WITH THEIR AIR- AND THS CRAFT CARRIER! SWEEP LEFT OF THOSE OIANT ALL THE PLANES OFE NA
Clue Comics # 2

OPEN THE CONNING SWELLI NOW LETIS TOWER, GIANT-AND SEE YOU DO THE SHAKE THE -RATS SAME WITH A OUT! COUPLE OF BATTLESHIPS/
Clue Comics # 2

"... but more slowly this time. Yeah. Yeah, that's it."

The Boy King had two equally important objectives: keep his people safe and sate his bloodlust. He figured the U.S. could help him do both those things, so he got the giant to drag the remaining Swisslakians across the ocean, officially dissolving the very nation he swore to defend as soon as they reached American shores. You see, despite having never been there before, David was desperately in love with the United States ... and so was the giant, in a far more literal sense.

LOVE IN BLOOM WHE HIM IN H CAM WHE
Clue Comics # 2, Page 10

What followed was 15 pages of the wrongest wrongness ever put to paper.

Fantomah

MYSTERYWOMANT OF JUNGLE THE FANT hf4 BY BARCLAY FLAGG MOST MARVELOUS WOMAN EVER KNOWNHAS SUCHI REMARKABLE INSIGH THAT 5E CANSEE AL HAT EVER HIAPPENS B
Jungle Comics #2

Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle is often credited as the first comic book superheroine, debuting in early 1940 and predating Wonder Woman by almost two years. Whoever decided she counted as one, however, has an extremely loose definition of what superheroing entails -- for starters, as far as we know superheroes aren't meant to be mind-numbingly terrifying.

What's so scary about her? We wish you hadn't asked. At first, Fantomah appears to be just another completely normal voluptuous blonde woman flying around the jungle.

AS HE GLOATS, THE RAGING FANTOMAH APPEARS
Jungle Comics #15

You'd barely notice her.

But here's the catch: In order to use her superpowers, Fantomah must undergo a transformation that starts with her becoming a faceless monstrosity, a grotesque mockery of humanity whose very shape threatens us with oblivion ...

IN HER RAGE, SHE BEGINS TO CHANGE FORM ORG, YOUR TIME HAS ARRIVED!
Jungle Comics # 15, Page 48

... and doesn't end until she has become a human-shaped representation of death itself.

THe CHANGE IS COMPLETED NOW YOU WILL PAY A DREAD- llcleldlulyir FUL PENALTY! II
Jungle Comics # 15, Page 48.

There's just no good context for witnessing a gender-reassigned Skeletor.

Fantomah only changes into her ghostly form when she's about to unleash a supernatural punishment on someone, usually greedy hunters or businessmen who dare to mess with her jungle. Some of them are lucky.

AND YOUR SERUM,TOO, SHALL BE DESTROYED!
Jungle Comics, via Stupid Comics

Like the ones who are merely torn apart by gorillas.

Others, not so much. Her worst torture is the sadistic "pit of horrors" in the "unfound world," the most bizarre sequence of events ever printed in a comic book. It starts when she grabs several men who were enslaving jungle natives and merges them together into one man, then drops him in a pit filled with strange creatures. The man/men tries to make a run for it, but ...

HE MAKES A DASH HIIS STRANGE MAS BUT AS HE MAKES GOOD FOR THE TRAIL. . TERS DO NOT TRY TURNH LORD! TO STOP HIM. ISADEAD-END TRAIL J'LL SOON BE OUT OF
Jungle Comics # 7, Page 35

And now we know what Ralph Bakshi read as a kid.

... um, inexplicable stuff happens, and then ...

FANTOMAH APPEARS AGAIN THE DEADLY COBRAS CLOSE IN . IN CIVITIZATIONN MURDERERS DIE BY OH! OH! OH! ELECTRICITY ORBY GAS OR BY HANGING. BUT IN THE JUNGL
Jungle Comics # 7, Page 36

Yeah. So never go anywhere near a jungle, kids, is the lesson here.

THEN. OH.MY SOUL! FROM OUT OF THE DARK- NESS OF THE BAM- Boos! Plisiil''
Jungle Comics #2

Sleep well tonight.

Philip "Pip" Ury wants to write cartoons and comic books. Follow him on Facebook or drop him an email at ZananVI@hotmail.com.

For more comics that make us uncomfortable, check out The 5 Most Unintentionally Offensive Comic Book Characters and The 6 Creepiest Comic Book Characters of All Time.

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