August 1946, No. 72, 48 pages
Even though Japan surrendered one year prior to publication
of this book in August 1946, the Americans in this comic continue to battle
Japanese planes and tanks. Captain Wings, a regular character of Wings
Comics, fights Colonel Kamikaze, described on the cover as "Arch
Criminal" and "Devil's Disciple."
Wings Comics, one of several Fiction House comic
magazines, began its monthly publication in 1940 and continued until 1954. This
aviation comic book contained about five to ten separate regular features, many
about air warfare.
In the first story of this August 1946 issue, the Americans have
captured and imprisoned the evil Colonel Kamikaze at an unnamed airfield, and
Captain Wings plans to transport him to Tokyo for trial. However, Japanese planes
bomb and strafe the airfield, and a female suicide pilot crashes into the
building where the Colonel is being held in order to break him out of his cell.
Colonel Kamikaze escapes to a group of tanks waiting just
outside the airfield. Captain Wings makes it to a camouflaged plane, takes off, and tries
to stop the tanks but ends up crashing. The Colonel puts Captain Wings into a
torture chamber in order to stretch off his legs, but the Captain escapes and takes off
in a stolen Japanese plane. Colonel Kamikaze follows after him but gets shot
down and dies in an air battle.
The book's last regular feature,
"Ghost Squadron," is a war story mixed with supernatural elements. Right after a Japanese sub hits the American aircraft
carrier Ironsides, a kamikaze pilot in a Betty bomber dives into the
carrier to sink the ship. Later in the war, a pilot who survived the Ironsides'
sinking finds himself shot in his damaged plane, and he barely manages
to land on the ghost carrier Ironsides manned with men who had perished in the sinking. The
ghost commander treats him kindly, even though the pilot had fought with him
while he was alive and had
discredited him at the board of inquiry regarding the sinking.
As seen from the three images below, this comic book's two stories of
"Captain Wings" and "Ghost Squadron" portray Japanese
suicide pilots as crazed figures. Even though a year had passed since Japan's
surrender, the character of Colonel Kamikaze, depicted as a vicious madman,
closely resembles racist images of Japanese published by Americans throughout the war.
The Colonel exemplifies President Truman's view, as recorded in a July 1945
diary entry, of Japanese as "savages, ruthless, merciless, and fanatic."
(in "Captain Wings")
|Female suicide pilot|
for Colonel's jailbreak
(in "Captain Wings")
pilot dives to|
finish off American carrier
(in "Ghost Squadron")