Captain Desmo is a series about a flyer, who had been the youngest pilot to lead a fleet of allied planes (presumably in World War I). He flies a plane with a star on the side, and wears WWI-style headgear, also with a star on it. He wears this at all times, we never see what he looks like without it. He even wears it while he sleeps.
His series opens with a two-parter in which he flies deep into Mongolia to aid the Emco Oil Company against mongolian tribes, who do not want whites on their land. Throughout his series he would fight and kill for the benefit of whites over natives.
Desmo has a longer story, from issues 28 -31, which takes him to India, which would also be the base of operations for him for the rest of this era. He comes of the rescue of an American tourist, Gabby McGuire, who would remain as his sidekick for the rest of the run. He also meets up with Major McAlistair, of His Majesty’s Lancers, who will employ him to rescue a kidnapped girl in this story, and then call on him regularly as the series progresses.
In fact, in issues 32 – 34 Desmo would be working to free McAlistair after he is framed for treason. But the opening of issue 32 is the part that really sticks in my mind. Desmo sits in an armchair, fully clothed and still with his mask on, smoking a pipe as Gabby bathes naked in a tub directly in front of him. Weeeeeeird, and the mask just makes it creepier.
He re-unites a lost explorer with his daughter in a Shangri-La type lost valley in the Himilayas, aids the British against native revolts and Tartar attacks. In issues 41 and 42 the leader of the murderous rebellious native is called Abdul Hassan, but clearly was drawn to resemble Mahatma Gandhi, which just helps make this series feel very white imperialistic.
On the plus side, in issue 45 he braves dangers and flies cholera medicine far into inland India. So he’s not a total creep.
Captain Desmo continues in the Early Golden Age
Captain Desmo: New Adventure Comics 26 = 31 (May – Oct 38)
Adventure Comics 32 – 45 (Nov 38 – Dec 39)