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NIGHT DEVILS

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Full Name: Lt. Dan Cork and Lt. Tom Harrow
Series Name: Black Wings and Night Devils
Nationality: American,British
Organization: Allied Intelligence Office
Occupation Agent

Creator: E. C. Stoner
Time Span: 1941 - 1943

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Lt. Dan Cork and Lt. Tom Harrow are agents in the Allied Intelligence Office (AIO).
       The AIO is apparently the key intelligence gathering organization in the fight against the Axis Powers (this was before the creation of the OSS). It is this group that sends military personnel in civilian clothing into enemy territory to spy and sabotage as needed, thus making them spies under the Geneva Convention.
       Dan Cork is an American. Tom Harrow is British. The two have apparently known each other for some time because they are described as friends and based on their easy patter with each other. Both are in excellent shape demonstrated by the way they look in their night duty outfits.
       These outfits are full body suits, skin-tight totally covering the form from head to toe, including the hands. It is explained that the strange apparel was a specially designed black silk clothing. At first glance it would be easy to assume they were costumed heroes but it is made clear this was to keep them from being spotted when they parachute at night over Germany. Even their chutes and lines are blackened.
       In the first adventure we have of two soldiers wearing such outfits leaping from a plane to drop into Berlin, the identities of the men was not given except referring to them as Agent 5 and Agent 9 and going by the nickname of Black Wings, a term that fits the costumes. In the remaining four adventures, they go by their actual names and the term Night Devils are given them.
       As time goes by, the twosome gets even more specialized equipment including gliders made up of a new material named renalite which holds together the molecules by use of a kind of atomic magnetism. "By the interference of a certain short-wave vibration, this magnetism is interrupted. The result being immediate release of the molecules and the utter destruction of the renalite." (Not sure what that means but it sounds cool, especially in 1941.)
       In their last adventure (a two-parter) the duo are put in charge of more men, each wearing the black silk full-body suits and using these renalite gliders head into France for their biggest assignment yet. When it was successfully, completed, no more was heard of the Night Devils.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:5
First Appearance:1941
Last Appearance:1943

1 Black Wings Over Berlin Black Wings Over Berlin
Published by Dell Comics

Copyright: 1941

From War Comics #4 - The Black Wings, Agent 5 and Agent 9 are ordered to parachute into Berlin to infiltrate a German camouflage plant to learn what new techniques are being developed and, if possible, destroy the facility.

2 Night Devils Over Germany Night Devils Over Germany
Published by Dell Comics
Contributors: E. C. Stoner (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1942

From War Stories #5 - The Night Devils are to parachute into Hamburg to meet up with an agent undercover as a nightclub singer who has vital info. She tells them that it is painted on her and they must get her back to England.

3 'Night Devils Light The Way' 'Night Devils Light The Way'
Published by Dell Comics
Contributors: E. C. Stoner (writer and artist)
Copyright: 08/1942

From War Stories #6 - The Night Devils must drop into enemy territory to light the way for a vital bombing run. They use flares set on a church grounds to point the direction.

4 Night Devils Pave The Way To Victory Night Devils Pave The Way To Victory
Published by Dell Comics
Contributors: E. C. Stoner (writer and artist)
Copyright: 11/1942

From War Stories #7 - Part 1 of 2 - The Night Devils train a squadron of men to become Night Devils and they drop into Blois, France, to free the people from the Nazis and set up a new base.

5 Night Devils Arrive In The Nick Of Time Night Devils Arrive In The Nick Of Time
Published by Dell Comics
Contributors: E. C. Stoner (writer and artist)
Copyright: 02/1943

From War Stories #8 - Part 2 of 2 - The Night Devils finish freeing the citizens of Blois, France and then set up a base behind enemy lines.

MY COMMENTS

       It is hard to say if the creator of the Black Wings/Night Devils wanted to introduce costumed superheroes into the War mix or not. Captain America from Timely/Marvel Comics had come out several months earlier and he was costumed so that might have been an influence but then again, the whole concept of the outfits the Devils wore was to be able to blend into the night and shadows easily so I could be off on that.
       It was a neat twist to a war/espionage story and the adventures, few though they were, were interesting and varied. It might have been nice to learn a bit more about the two gents clad totally in black but there were only so many pages to get the tale across and, unfortunately, only 5 adventures altogether.

GRADE

My Grade: B-

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