Monday, May 7, 2012

And He Was Called Blackhawk

The Blackhawk team exists because of one man, known only as Blackhawk. When his brother and sister-in-law are killed, "the flyer," a Polish soldier, vows revenge against the Nazis that killed them.

This perhaps explains Blackhawk's often ruthless and cold demeanor. The exception is with his team, and occasionally with the ladies. (There are many ladies for Blackhawk.) According to Jim Steranko's History of Comics, "He was a man in total control - unapproachable, unforgiving, unfathomable. He was his own law and his own morality. He lived in a world dominated by an atmosphere of fatalism. He was the first comic book anti-hero."

Blackhawk debut in August 1941 as part of the new Quality Comics Anthology, Military Comics.

Military Comics # 01 pg 03 //04 //05 //06 //07 //08 //09 //10 //11 //12//13 [Scans by cimmerian32, cleaned by yours truly]

This vague origin for Blackhawk would soon not matter. He would be man without a past. Even the building of the Blackhawk team is never explained when they appear in #2. This mystery seemed to work for the nazi-fighting pilot as the Blackhawk sales soared, making them the lead title in the analogy. By 1944, Military Comics' newsstands sales were equal to Captain America, The Flash and Batman.

The mystery of Blackhawk would be dissolved by DC in the 1976 as the title was revived after seven years for a short run. Luckily, sliver age doesn't concern us here.

Who created the Blackhawks has long been debated. The clearest answer comes from the 1999 San Diego Comic Con in the 'Spotlight on BLACKHAWK,' with Will Eisner and Chuck Cuidera. The transcript is here. An interesting read and resource for any golden age fan.

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