Book Shelf: The Young Rebels #1

The Young Rebels #1
First Published in January 1971
Published by Dell Publishing Co, Inc.

I’ve already written about the second of two tie-in novels based on ABC’s The Young Rebels (titled The Sea Gold Incident, by William Johnston). You can read my article about the show here. In addition to those two novels, Dell published one comic book in January of 1971 that contained two complete stories, each running for sixteen pages. Interestingly, the issue contains no advertising save for black and white ads on the front and back inside covers and a color ad on the back cover.

In the first story, “Phantom Army,” Isak Poole is captured by the British at Overlook Hill. He was trying to make it back to Jeremy Larkin to warn him that the British were in possession of the hill, a strategic point near Chester, Pennsylvania. Luckily, Henry Abington spots Isak being taken to prison and, along with Jeremy, plots to free Isak. Instead, Isak is set free by the British in an attempt to set an ambush for General Lafayette’s forces, who lack any cannons and are low on powder. And there’s a traitor in the mix.

The Young Rebels #1 Cover
The Young Rebels #1 Cover – Copyright Dell Publishing Co, Inc.

Jeremy convinces Lafayette to scale the steep side of the hill while a fleet of boats filled with straw mannequins distract the British. It works, and the hill is retaken. The British captain congratulates Lafayette on a brilliant strategy, but Lafayette waxes poetic about the cause of the American Revolution and the two lament the fact that war forces good men to kill one another.

The second story, “Greek Fire,” opens with Henry test firing a catapult to use against the British. But Jeremy arrives with news: a regiment of soldiers have arrived in Chester and nobody knows why. The three split up in the hopes of learning more. It turns out that the British plan on surrounding and capturing General Washington! But the British general relies more on astrology than military strategy and the Yankee Doodle Society is able to convince him to postpone his attack by firing a flaming rock into the sky.

The delay gives them the time to construct three additional catapults that they then use to destroy all four British ships at once. Incredible! Assisting them is Elizabeth Coates, who is able to get close to the general and learn when he plans on attacking.

The Young Rebels #1 Page
The Young Rebels #1 Page – Copyright Dell Publishing Co, Inc.

Once again, the likenesses of the characters aren’t all that great. Jeremy, Henry and Isak look only vaguely like the actors playing them on television. Elizabeth fares even worse, with very plain features. But the stories capture the tone of the television series, especially the second one with its message of peace and harmony.


1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    …and the scarcity of ads within the magazine was probably the main reason why Dell didn’t publish a follow-up issue [at least “I DREAM OF JEANNIE” lasted TWO because of its sudden popularity in 1965-’66, but lack of sales and ad support forced them to discontinue that as well…and the artwork in issue two wasn’t that great]. It also didn’t help that “THE YOUNG REBELS” wasn’t a success, and that ABC not only cancelled it in January 1971, they turned its 7-8pm(et) time period on Sundays back to their affiliates, who scheduled local programming until the fall of 1975, when ABC took it back to schedule Irwin Allen’s “SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON” (also a flop!).

    As for the “likeness” of Hilarie Thompson (as “Elizabeth”), it’s quite possible that she wasn’t part of the “deal” Screen Gems/Columbia had with their main cast to be “reproduced for comics”, all of whom are identified on the cover {that’s usually a clue as to HOW much the characters are supposed to look like their TV counterparts}.

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