Thursday, July 21, 2016

Blackhawks Attack!

Dave Cockrum clearly loved the classic Blackhawks, as this cover demonstrates. The doughty heroes rush at the reader with vigor and violence, all dressed in immaculate black leather save for Chop-Chop who alas is only slightly removed from his vintage stereotype.

Cockrum was clearly inspired by this Quality comics cover by Reed Crandall for the debut issue of Military Comics which saw the very first Blackhawk stories.

This issue echoes that debut but also sadly makes even more of the nasty Chop-Chop caricature which plagued these early stories. They are regrettable signs of the time for sure.

The attack mode those is duplicated in this offbeat Blackhawk era which attempted to make the Blackhawks all different from one another and more purely superheroes which the time seemed unable to get enough of. But as it turned out, there was a saturation point and the Blackhawks found it. I like this era, but many others do not. At least Chop-Chop looks much improved.

And finally we have this Joe Kubert classic for the mid-70's revival of the series. The updated uniforms are pretty neat, though the cut-to-the-navel look is pure Bronze Age. Love the energy on this cover.

Rip Off


  1. I happened to stumble onto Blackhawk when I was a neighbor had a box of his comics that her son had read in the fifties (wish I had them now). Didn't care much for the 70's revival, but I loved the 80's version that kicked off with that great Dave Cockrum cover. Also enjoyed the William Rostler novel that was published around that time, but don't remember much about it now.

    1. Never saw the novel on the stands, but I've seen the cover online and it looks great.

      Rip Off

    2. Don't know if you've seen the complete wraparound cover for the paperback..

  2. The reason the Blackhawks were revived in the 80s was that Steven Spielberg was interested in producing (but not writing or directing) a film based on them ala Raiders of the Lost Ark with the intent of creating an ongoing franchise.
    Whether it was because he had seen the serial (starring Kirk [Superman] Alyn) or read some of the Golden Age books is unknown...
    Both the Rostler novel (which was damn good) and the Evanier-written comic series (which was also damn good) were to serve as source material.
    Regrettably, the movie project ended up in "Development Hell" and died.
    The comic, with beautiful art by Dan Spiegle and others, including Cockrum, Gil Kane, Alex Toth, Pat Boyette, and Howard Chaykin (before he "deconstructed" the strip in his mini-series) is one of the best 80s titles DC produced.

  3. I saw the so-so Sky Captain And The World of Tomorrow (2004) a few months back on Netflix…It seemed to me at the time to be a pretty obvious rip-off of the whole Blackhawk concept.


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