A bad costume is always more satisfying when it adorns an equally bad character, which is why I am so thankful we have Captain V, who apparently ran out of creative juices after coming up with "Captain" and then the letter "V". Or maybe he couldn't spell "Victory". That seems pretty likely when you consider his origin:
That's right, our intrepid hero is a ... puppeteer. Who gets his powers by playing the piano. Which he has in a dedicated room that he calls -- and I am not making this up, it's right there in the caption -- "The Organ Cellar". As if among his old "Popular Science" issues and the furnace he keeps a stash of kidneys and spleens. Clearly, naming things is not this guy's forté.
So we know he's bad with names and has a fondness for playing with his organ, but what else -- oh, and puppets, you mustn't forget he's a ferocious puppeteer -- what else can he do? Let's find out!
Take a moment to read that again, and see if it makes more sense the second time around. I bet it doesn't, because I'm on read-through number twelve and I still can't make head or tails of it. "A family of cunning twisted thoughts"? Wha-hunh? "Quietly now, not a word to meet for the first time, Stogie." If this were a decade later, I'd think this was a Japanese paragraph translated -- poorly -- by some barely literate kid at the comics office for an American audience. In any event, you can see why I think they just couldn't spell Victory given their obviously tenuous grasp of English in the first place.
But even worse than the dialog is the outfit. I bet they had to put the "V" on his chest that big because he couldn't remember it otherwise. "Hark, evildoers, it is I, Captain ... um ... dammit, why is my name only on the label in the back?!" I wonder, if enough of these "Big Letters On My Chest" guys got together, could they spell something, like fans at a football game?
If they do, Captain V will be able to host the tailgate party thanks to his big striped cape, freshly unwrapped from the nearest barber shop pole and ready to serve as a makeshift tablecloth, if they end up eating Italian. Talk about saving the day!
Finally, I'd be arrested if I left this entry without mentioning his briefs. Which, let's be honest, look like a diaper. A full diaper. A full, sagging, patriotic diaper. Along with his broken left hand, the left foot which has been surgically grafted to his right leg, his half-sized cranium, huge shoulders, and awkward proportions, I have to think that at some point we will discover that Captain V is, in fact, a marionette himself.
Which will be when we start hunting for forks to stick in our eyes, sadly a few issues too late as we will never, ever get the image of a red, white, and blue saggy pantload on a twisted puppet out of our minds, no matter how hard we scrub our eyeballs with soap.
(All images from "All Top Comics" number 1, 1944. Note that after this, they seem to have gone with cartoon animals in that book, which I think we can all agree was a great editorial decision.)