Crimebuster (Boy Comics)
Boy Comics #9, featuring Crimebuster and Iron Jaw along with other characters appearing in the publication; art by Charles Biro
|First appearance||Boy Comics #3 (Apr 1942)|
|Created by||Charles Biro, Bob Wood|
|Alter ego||Chuck Chandler|
|Abilities||military cadet training|
Crimebuster – also known as Chuck Chandler – is a fictional boy hero, appearing as the lead feature in Boy Comics in the 1940s and 1950s. Dressed in a hockey uniform and cape, and accompanied by a performing monkey named Squeeks, he fights crime to avenge his parents' deaths. He is described by Joe Brancetelli in The World Encyclopedia of Comics as "a hero, yes, but first a boy... arguably the best-handled boy's adventure feature ever to appear in comics." Some sources credit the character solely to Charles Biro; others co-credit Bob Wood, co-credited on the first cover of the new Boy Comics title.
Crimebuster was introduced in Boy Comics #3 (the first issue of the periodical following a revamp, after two issues as Captain Battle). In that issue the character's father, a heroic war correspondent, is killed by a Nazi criminal called Iron Jaw (due to his metallic prosthetic lower face). Iron Jaw has also abducted Chuck's mother, so the boy travels to France to rescue her, but during their escape she is killed by Germans. Chuck adds his military school's cape to the contemporary hockey uniform he is wearing at the time this adventure begins (which conveniently features the school's initial "C" on the chest), and takes on the name "Crimebuster". He pursues Iron Jaw until issue #15, in which the character is killed, but continues his crusade. (Iron Jaw returns later in the series.)
Although his initial adventures focused on his "crimebusting" agenda, as the superhero genre became less popular, stories focused more on the character's school life. With the war over, the school changed from Custer Military Academy to Curtis High School. He stopped wearing the costume (explained in-story by a girl suggesting that it looked silly), and later dropped the "Crimebuster" name altogether (his friends continued to call him "C.B.") when the Comics Code Authority – with its restrictions on the use of the word "crime" – was established. Boy Comics ceased publication in 1956 with issue #119.
Modern Appearances of Crimebuster
The Chuck Chandler / Crimebuster character has appeared in several different artistic works following the last issue of Boy Comics in 1956.
Most notably, a recognizable variation of the character appeared on the cover of Rage Against the Machine's album "Evil Empire". The picture showed a young man with black hair who was dressed in Crimebuster's signature hockey uniform. The emblem on his chest was a lower-case "E" rather than Crimebuster's "C".
The character of Crimebuster also appeared in several issues of AC Comic's Femforce. In this series of stories, characters from the original Boy Comics appeared alongside of several properties owned by AC Comics.
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