Sunday, May 27, 2012


Today, I celebrate my birthday. As I sit here it write this post I find that I m too lazy, so have this.

From Don Fortune #2

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wang the Tiger: The Man Without Fear

This issue of Military Comics features a lot of interesting things. One of the best The Sniper stories, a Private Dogtag that could make an analytical essay on 1940s history or female objectification a few pages fatter,  and the key feature, a Blackhawk story taking place in China.

It isn't weird for the Balckhawks to have a story in China, they do their work all over the world. China was also struggling against Japan too, so an international, allies aligned force would want to help there. What is weird the turn the story takes.

China has it's own superhero, Wang the Tiger. This is an anomaly in a wartime comic. (Military Comics #25, dated Jan. 1944.) I don't want to spoil too much of what you are about to read, but be ready for a "classic" costume.

Also be ready for the "Ugh, why?" of Chop-chop's caricature. Now, I'm going to add a hopefully big post on Chop-Chop, but this deserves noting here. While all the Chinese people in this story are drawn like normal humans Chop-chop is still a bizarre looking little person.
Line art by John Cassone; Inks by Alex Kotzky
 03 //04 //05 //06 //07 //08 //09 //10 //11 //12 //13 //14 //15 //16 //17

It is possible that Wang the Tiger is a reference to The House of Earth trilogy, a early 1930s series by Pearl S. Buck. The lead character in the first book is Wang the Third/The Tiger.

Interesting too is the this new hero seem to share Military Comics disdain for superpowers, special gadgets, and flashy costumes. Well, I guess that last part is debatable.  

Wang the Tiger never shows up again in Quality Comics and to my knowledge DC has never used him either. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Miss Fear

There are a great number of women throughout the golden age run of the Blackhawk team. Most are toss-away-at-the-end-of-the-issue girlfriends (i.e. Andre's love at the end of Military Comics #10). Some die sad deaths, caught by various violent ends. That is what being loved by the great hero Blackhawk often gets you. 

But in the mass of fallen loves and forgotten girlfriends there stands one women who comes back, and has she has captured the mind of fans like no other.

She is known as Fear.
It isn't fair to call Miss Fear a villain, but standard hero material she isn't. Her drive to punish those she decides are evil-doers started with the need to avenge her father, an assassinated Central Asian ruler. You will find out more below in her first appearance, Modern Comics #49 (May, 1946).

03 //04 //05  //06 //07 //08 //09 //10 //11 //12 //13 //14 //15 //16 //17

Miss Fear returns to act with the Blackhawks total of 11 times. Often she appears due their interests in the area crossing, but on occasion because of unrequited feelings for Blackhawk.
Miss Fear becomes a mysterious figure with an independent agenda. She could easily slip into the pages of The Spirit. She is made from similar stuff to other Quality Comics anti-heroines. Perhaps this is why, despite their repeated interactions with her, Miss Fear was always pushed away by Blackhawk.

There may be another interesting reason for the separation though. After her father was avenged Miss Fear turn to international vigilantism, much like the Blackhawks did after the war ended. The difference lies in the detail of this turn. While Blackhawk was often ruthless with his enemies, Miss Fear was still a shade darker. Doc Hermes explains,

"Fear turned up in different countries, usually with a small band of followers, always tracking down bad guys and shooting them dead. This set her apart from your usual super-hero. Blackhawk and his team were soldiers after all and had killed many of the enemy in combat; they carried sidearms and used them when necessary. But the casual almost flippant way that Fear plugged whoever she decided was evil seemed to make even Blackhawk nervous" (source).

In a comic that supports the cringe worthy likes of Chop-Chop, the depiction of this Central Asian woman is positive in contrast, but not entrly free of stereotype. In some of her appearance she is depictions as a bit of a Dragon Lady.

The last time Miss Fear appeared was in the pages of Blackhawk #22 (Dec. 1948). Her fate was left unexplained.

You can read more Miss Fear Blackhawk #13 (1946) on Doc Hermes blog. Check back here for more of this mysterious adventurer and her time with the Blackhawks.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Song of the Blackhawks!

At the end of most stories, the Blackhawks would sing in victory at the end. "The songs provided a neat wrap up for the story and also created an identifying signature for the team"(source). Dick French wrote the Blackhawk verses.

"Hawkah - We're the Blackhawks,
Hawkah - We're on the wing,
Over land over sea,
We will fight to make men free
and to every nation 
liberty will bring.
Hawkah - Follow The Blackhawks,
Hawkah - Shatter your chains,
Seven fearless men are we,
give us death or liberty.
We are the Blackhawks,
remember our names."

You can see the song with sheet music in Military Comics #8 or here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Man in the Iron Mask (Part 3) - The Conculsion!

Read Part 1 // Part 2
Six months has passed since the battle that took Andre. The Blackhawks have retuned to the area in memorial only to meet with deadly foes. They are saved by man whose head has been encased in an iron mask.

They find this savior is their fallen friend, Andre. Andre has been horrifyingly disfigured by the circumstances of his supposed death, and has doomed himself to always wear the mask.

In attempt to save their teammate, the Blackhawks rescue a plastic surgeon from the axis powers only to find him to have gone mad while a prisoner.

Find out what will be come of Andre in the pages below!

01 //02 //03 //04 //05 //06 //07 //08 //09 //10 //11

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blackhawk at the movies!

So, this happened.

Blackhawk finally received its screen debut in 1952, the time of serials decline. The timing really shows. This 15 part Columbia serial is...dull at best. Unable to even pull off hilariously bad, this serial is just notable for existing. More than a decade after their first appearance the Blackhawks were still so popular that they obtained not just a radio show but movie serial. It isn't something many comic characters can claim.

It stared Kirk Alyn (the first actor to play Superman in screen) who successively pulled off several dangerous stunts, but these cannot save those serial from it lack of...interesting things. For a more in depth look at this serial, check out Dr. Hermes's review or this Blackhawk movie serial review.

For some good Blackhawk, check out the tag at the bottom of the page. Below you will all find the find the serial's trailer.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Man in the Iron Mask (Part 2)

Early in the Blackhawks' careers they lost a member, Andre, when he took a killing blow meant for Blackhawk and sacrificed his life to stop a Nazi plot.

That is in Military Comics #3, here we have number #9 and the loss of Andre is still felt by his team.

Enjoy part two of "The Man in the Iron Mask!"

 01 //02 //03 //04 //05 //06 //07 //08//09 //10 //11

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Man in the Iron Mask (Part 1)

Blackhawk month continues with its first great saga, The Man in the Iron Mask!

No leonardo dicaprio here, don't leave.

This epic tale starts in Military Comics #3 which introduces “Chop-Chop.” Why they chose this plot to go with that introduction, I will forever wonder. Chop-chop will spend most of the issue stabbing at any drama that might hit the page. This is listed as being by Will Eisner, it more likely by Bob Powell or Dick French. Art is by Chuck Cuidera.

 04 //05 //06 //07 //08 //09 //10//11 //12 //13

Part two will be up tomorrow! 

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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Story of Blackhawk

History has proven that whenever liberty is smothered and men lie crushed beneath oppression there always rises a man to defend the helpless…liberate the enslaved and crush the tyrant…such a man is Blackhawk…out of the ruins of Europe and out of the hopeless mass of defeated people he comes, smashing the evil before him...

May will be Blackhawk Month! Be Ready for a for learning about the legends.