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= Blackhawk leading three members of his team into battle. Art by Reed Crandall.|publisher     ×*Quality Comics (1941–1956)
DC Comics (1957–present)|debut        

  • Military Comics #1|debutmo      
  • August|debutyr      
  • 1941|creators    
  • Chuck Cuidera
    Bob Powell
    Will Eisner|team        
  • y|base        
  • Blackhawk Island|owners      
  • |employees    

= |members       = Blackhawk
André
Chuck
Hendrickson
Olaf
Stanislaus
Chop-Chop
Zinda Blake (Lady Blackhawk)
Natalie Reed (Lady Blackhawk)|fullroster   =|cat           = teams|subcat       = DC Comics|hero         = y|sortkey


Blackhawk (comics)}Edit

Blackhawk is a fictional character and the title of a long-running comic book series published first by Quality Comics and later by DC Comics. Primarily created by Chuck Cuidera with input from both Bob Powell and Will Eisner,[1] the Blackhawk characters first appeared in Military Comics #1 (August 1941). 

Led by a mysterious man known as Blackhawk, the Blackhawks (or more formally, the Blackhawk Squadron) are a small team of World War II-era ace pilots of varied nationalities, each typically known under a single name, either their given name or their surname. Though the membership roster has undergone changes over the years, the team has been portrayed most consistently as having seven core members.The squadron is inspired by the real life best known as the Black Sheep of World War II fame and for one of its commanding officers, Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, whose memoirs also inspired the 1970s television show Baa Baa Black Sheep, (later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron) which dramatized the squadron's exploits during the war. 

In their most well-known incarnation, the Blackhawks operate from a hidden base known only as Blackhawk Island, fly Grumman XF5F Skyrocket planes, and shout their battle cry of "Hawk-a-a-a!" as they descend from the skies to fight tyranny and oppression. Clad in matching blue and black uniforms (with Blackhawk himself boasting a hawk insignia on his chest), early stories pitted the team against the Axis powers, but they would also come to battle recurring foes such as King Condor and Killer Shark, as well as encounter an array of gorgeous and deadly femme fatales. They also frequently squared off against fantastical war machines ranging from amphibious "shark planes" and flying tanks, to the aptly-named War Wheel, a gigantic rolling behemoth adorned with spikes and machine guns.  At the height of his popularity in the early-1940s, Blackhawk titles routinely outsold every other comic book but Superman.[2] Blackhawk also shares the unique distinction of being just one of four comic book characters to be published continuously from the 1940s through the 1960s (the others being Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman).Template:Citation needed The comic series has spawned a film serial, a radio series and a novel





Air & Space Edit

Publication Date: Oct/Nov 1989

Title: Hawkaa-a-a-a!

Author: Unknown

This is a one page article that appears to be part of a larger article about flying in comic books. It gives a brief account of Blackhawk's origin and describes the other members of the team, also briefly. Not surprisingly, considering the magazine in which the article appeared, it's primary focus is the aircraft:

"Blackhawk was clever about what to fly. While everybody else, including Captain Wings, thundered around in generic airplanes, Blackhawk quickly chose the least generic design of the period. In June 1938, The U.S. Navy asked Grumman to build Design 34, a twin-engine, folding-wing monoplane that could fly from aircraft carriers. At the time, the fleet fighters were still mostly biplanes, and carrier -based single-engine monoplanes were only in the trial stage. The result, the Grumman XF5F, flew for the first time on April 1, 1940, about the time the man who would be Blackhawk was fighting Von Tepp. The new airplane - journalists dubbed it the Skyrocket - looked like nothing seen before or since. The fuselage started just aft of the wing's leading edge and ended in twin vertical tails. Two 1,200-horsepower Wright R-1820-40 Cyclone nine-cylinder engines jutted forward from the uninterrupted wing, and four machine guns - two .50s and two .30s - protruded from the rounded nose. The cockpit, in these days before the plastic bubble, was a raised greenhouse. The Skyrocket grossed nearly 10,000 pounds, climbed at 4,000 feet per minute, and had a maximum speed of 383 mph, a 210-mph cruise, and a service ceiling of 33,000 feet. It could carry 40 light anti-aircraft bombs in the outer underpanels of its wings. It had the performance Blackhawk needed and, with its twin engines, twin tails, and improbable fuselage configuration, it would be pure hell to draw in perspective.

The Skyrocket pushed generic airplanes out of this strip very early in the game. A few months into the series we see the first mofel, with the right fuselage and tail, but . . . hold it, two big generic in-line-engines? This was swiftly replaced by the real thing, a bit more heavily armed, perhaps, sometimes sporting a four-bladed prop, sometimes not. Eventually there are seven operational Skyrockets (as well as an indeterminate number waiting off-stage, to step in as the others pancake-land all over occupied Europe), peeling off to the sound of the Blackhawk battle cry: Hawkaa-a-a-a!

The mystery, of course, is where all the Skyrockets came from. The single SF5F built by Grumman accumulated 155.7 hurs in 211 flights but ended sadly - after a wheels-up landing at Naval Air Station New York in 1944, the airplane was written off and handed over to the fire crews for training. But the type lived on, spectacularly, with the Blackhawk squadron until well after the war had been won.

The article is illustrated with these two unsigned pen and ink drawings.


==Publication historyEdit

History of the Blackhawks

HAWKAAA-AAA! The Golden Age, 1941 to 1957

The Silver Age, 1957 to 1968

The Skeates/Evans Revival, 1976 to 1977

The Evanier/Speigle Revival, 1982 to 1984

The Howard Chaykin Revision, 1987

The Second Series, 1988 to 1990

The Last Blackhawks, 1990 to Present



References

The Golden Age, 1941 to 1957Edit

"The greedy grasp of tyranny is upon Europe, and ramparts of evil challenge the free-born peoples of the world to dispute Nazi cruelty if they dare! And there are those who dare, who never refused a dare yet! Messengers of destruction to all evil and injustice -- The Blackhawks!"

So the story began in Military Comics #1, published in August 1941 by Quality Comics. It has been commonly accepted by comics historians that, like a number of Quality titles, Blackhawk was created under the supervision of Will Eisner, famed creator of The Spirit and many other comic heroes. Although Eisner seemed to lay claim to having created the Blackhawks as recently as July 1983 (in an interview with Cat Yronwode printed in Blackhawk #260) he has since relinquished that claim in favor of Chuck Cuidera and Bob Powell. However, it seems even that is not the whole story. Much of the controversy between Cuidera and Eisner was settled at a 1999 comics convention in San Diego, during a scheduled forum called: 'Spotlight on BLACKHAWK,' with Will Eisner & Chuck Cuidera; moderated by Mark Evanier (see An Interview with Chuck Cuidera for more details). It was during this discussion that Eisner agreed that, though he had created the name for the team (apparently based on the name of the Native American tribe), Cuidera and Powell had done everything else. But then Cuidera, in response to a question, stated that the concept of the Blackhawks (i.e. a team of pilots with varied backgrounds) was based on another strip, Death Patrol, that was also planned for Military Comics. Robert Beerbohm sent me the following eye-witness account:

"Just for the record, it was Chuck Cuideria at last summer's "Origin of Blackhawk" panel with Chuck & Will Eisner as guests (moderated by Mark Evanier) who said point blank that Death Patrol by Jack Cole preceded Blackhawk in creation. That it was decided to make a serious version of Death Patrol afterwards. Chuck & Bob Powell invented the characters for BH, while Will Eisner was in Florida. Powell wrote the first story. Now, supposedly it was Eisner who came up with the actual name Blackhawk, for the American indian tribe of the same name. But just the title of the strip. 

"I remember this distinctly, cuz I stood up incredulous, blurting out, 'Now wait a second - lemme get this straight.......do you mean to say here and now that Blackhawk was inspired directly from Death Patrol? I always thought it was the other way around.' 

"Chuck responded, 'You got it correct.'" [Editor's note: I have just discovered that Mark Evanier has the entire transcript of the "Spotlight on Blackhawk" panel discussion on his website. It is well worth reading.] In Jim Steranko's History of Comics2, Vol. 2, Charles "Chuck" Cuidera recalled, "The Germans had designed such great costumes, we decided to use them ourselves. It was like fighting fire with fire." Since the invasion of Poland was still news, Powell suggested that Blackhawk should be a Pole. They agreed that it would make the strip topical.

"We made Olaf a strong-jawed Swede, patterned after Terry and the Pirates' Big Stoop. Andre was a kind of French Ronald Coleman. Chop-Chop (or Chops as Blackhawk called him) was a humorous beaver-toothed version of Charlie Chan complete with a pig-tail tied atop his head with a red ribbon. Hendrickson (the name used most often) was a stocky Dutchman in the Alan Hale tradition, perhaps fifty years old. The others, including Blackhawk, were about half that age. Stanislaus was named after Powell, whose first name was Stanley," reported Cuidera. When the character "Chuck" was added, he was named for Cuidera. Both Cuidera and Powell were airplane buffs. They selected the Grumman F5F as the plane to be flown by the Blackhawks. "I liked the lines, the twin engines of the Skyrocket," said Cuidera, who later became a first lieutenant in the Army Air Force.

Cuidera pencilled, inked and lettered the first eleven issues, then left for the service. Reed Crandall began working on the comic book in the middle of the next story. According to Steranko, "Crandall's artistry breathed life into the Blackhawk series, infusing a climate of grim romanticism into every panel. Blackhawk's ruthless, icy demeanor made James Bond look like Winnie The Pooh. 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." And, "Like the chiaroscuric Batman was perfect for Kane or the super-athletic Captain America was right for Kirby, so, was Reed Crandall to find his métier with Blackhawk. The strip made a number of special demands on its artists. The first was a natural, realistic style that allowed the strong characters in its cast to come through clearly. The second required a rigorous and authentic treatment of machinery, primarily airplanes which could be seen continuously from every angle. The third demanded a knowledge of composition (or groupings) of figures which were plentiful in the strip, and good characterizations to tell them apart." Steranko believes Crandall qualified on all points, but I quibble about the second. Crandall was excellent at drawing the F5F Skyrockets in action, but he was not so good at technical accuracy. His F5F's never quite looked like the actual aircraft. However, even Crandall's less than perfect effort was superior to many of the artists who followed him.

Other artists who worked on Blackhawk in the 40's were Bill Ward, Al Bryant, John Forte, Rudy Palais, John Cassone, Ruben Moriera, Chuck Cuidera, John Spranger and Dick Dillin. Sam Rosen lettered many of their exploits.

Not only did the early Blackhawk have some of the best comic art, it also had some of the best writers, like Harry Stein, Ed Herron, and Bill Finger. Manley Wade Wellman, later known as a successful science fiction author, contributed to the Blackhawk saga, as did Joseph J. Millard, a pulp writer who became an accomplished main stream writer. In Jim Steranko's History of Comics, he opines that "if one writer had to be singled out as the series' outstanding scribe, that man would be Bill Woolfolk."

Steranko also has strong feelings about the character of Blackhawk:

"Though his origin tale proclaimed Blackhawk to be a Polish soldier (and later an American), all pretense of this fact was dropped from the following stories. Blackhawk never identified with any group by mannerism, speech, or appearance. He owed allegiance to no government or empire, save his own. He put it this way in Military 2, 'The Blackhawks are the last of the free men of the conquered countries - we fight for the freedom of men rather than for profit or politics!' 

"In reality, Blackhawk himself was a man without a country. 

"Nowhere in the entire series, except in the soon-forgotten opening issue are we given even the slightest clue as to his background. The question will remain unanswered forever: What is Blackhawk's real name? How did he become a super-pilot? How had he organized the squadron? How could they build such an island? Why was he called Blackhawk? 

"All the mysteries - mysteries which could only be answered by the black knight himself. Readers wondered about the secret that lay beyond those searching, icy eyes - eyes that had the same cruel glint as those of the fierce, noble hawk's head that symbolized Blackhawk's law and was so much a part of his legend. One can only guess about the story that is concealed behind the man's reckless deeds and ruthless demeanor. 

"Perhaps, just perhaps, Blackhawk was the son of a European nobleman, a merciless tyrant, a mad ruler whose scripture was suffering and injustice. Would that son spend a lifetime seeking redemption from his conscience? Perhaps, Blackhawk was a criminal, an assassin, a Judas whose betrayals could only be atoned for by wiping out some of the evil he had brought into the world. Perhaps Blackhawk had been a coward, an officer who deserted his command and was responsible for the slaughter of legions. Could his heroics be an act of penance, while waiting for the inevitable end? What was it that Blackhawk was trying to forget by his endless encounters with death? Mysteries - without answers! 

"Blackhawk himself was the Tyrone Power of comics - dark haired, serious, broodingly handsome. He seldom smiled. And if he did, it was a lethal warning to his enemies. He was no wisecracking punster like the Batman. 

"No leaping over tall buildings, Blackhawk needed a plane to fly. No baroque Buck Rogers model either; his was authentic. No changing clothes in phone booths. No flashy cape or outlandish tights for Blackhawk. He even scorned the use of special equipment like Batman's utility belt or the Hornet's gas gun. Instead, he carried massive .45 caliber automatics - weapons to get the job done. And best of all, no alter ego nonsense for him. He was Blackhawk to the core and we all knew it." Unfortunately, that sense of mystery did not last. Stories written after Steranko's history filled in Blackhawk's background, gave him a name (several, actually), and by the time Chaykin had finished with him, we really knew more about Blackhawk than we cared too.

At the end of each story, the Blackhawks would sing their way over the end title. The songs provided a neat wrap up for the story and also created an identifying signature for the team. As Eisner mentions in the interview above, Dick French wrote the Blackhawk verses. The official song went like this:

"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."

CLICK HERE to see the original music for the Blackhawk Song.


After their introduction in 1941, the Blackhawks became very popular. By 1944, newsstands sales were equal to Captain America, The Flash and Batman. In the winter of 1944, Blackhawk #9 was established as a quarterly (it took over where eight issues of Uncle Sam left off). With issue #44, November 1945, Military Comics was retitled Modern Comics. It still featured Blackhawk as the lead story. Modern Comics continued until issue #102, October 1950, when it was canceled.




The Silver Age, 1957 to 1968

National Comics acquired all of Quality's titles when Quality folded in 1956, except Blackhawk, which it leased on a royalty basis and published under the DC Comics label beginning with issue #108 in 1957. Later, National acquired full rights to Blackhawk. Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera. were the artists during most of the Silver Age.

By 1957, the Communist threat had faded from the pages of Blackhawk to be replaced by a steady stream of mad scientists intent on world conquest, super-mechanized raiders, warring dictators, free-lance pirates and plunderers, international crime cartels, and alien invaders. The tone of the series became generally lighter. The Blackhawks acquired mascots like Blackie the hawk and Bravo the chimp (#183). They were also joined by the beautiful Lady Blackhawk, who made her first appearance in #133, February 1959.

The comics of the 1940's and 50's are considered the Golden Age and certainly many think that this was the period in which the Blackhawks reached their zenith but, for me, the early 1960's was my favorite time for the Blackhawks. Unfortunately, it didn't last. With issue #197, June 1964, the Blackhawks were no longer the Black Knights. They were fitted with garish red and green uniforms and began an association with a secret government agency. Fortunately, for a time the latter did not play a major part in the series and there were some decent stories, despite the team looking like a Western Swing band.

It hardly seemed like things could get worse, but they did with #228, January 1967. The secret government agency was back and for some reason, seemed to think it had the authority to disband the Blackhawks because they weren't "modern" enough. To become "modern," the team put on silly costumes that gave them second-rate super powers and adopted sillier names, like "The Leaper" (Olaf), in issue #230. This was certainly the low point of the Blackhawks long and, mostly, glorious careers. For a scathing but humorous description of this phase of the Blackhawks, see DC Hall of Shame: Blackhawk. (NOTE: This page has a number of large graphic files and loads very slowly. The commentary is worth reading.)

A two issue attempt to return the Black Knights to their roots (and their uniforms) was too late, despite some excellent writing and capable art. With issue #243, November 1968, after twenty seven years of continuous publication, Blackhawk was canceled.



The Skeates/Evans Revival, 1976 to 1977 Edit

Blackhawk was revived in February 1976, with issue #244. After a hiatus of over seven years, the Blackhawks were back. Although Steve Skeates wrote and George Evans drew the majority of this short lived series, including the first and last issues, other writers and artists also worked on this incarnation of Blackhawk .

In the first issue of this revival, with a cover by Joe Kubert, we found that the Black Knights had new uniforms that were the blue of the old uniforms but with red trim and collars open to the waist. Liu Huang had a more politically correct nick name, Chopper, and Zinda, Lady Blackhawk, was replaced with a new female character, Duchess Ramona Fatale, a mercenary leader. The Blackhawks themselves were sort of mercenaries, taking on missions for the U.S. government for a price. All the Blackhawks but Hendrickson had individual lives when they were not on missions. Blackhawk, as Mr. Cunningham, ran a large corporation, Cunningham Aircraft. Stan was the financial manager for Cunningham Aircraft, Chopper was a test pilot, and Chuck was the head of the company's research operation. Olaf and Andre were both based in Europe. Olaf worked as a ski instructor but Andre's civilian occupation was never specified. Hendrickson apparently lived full time on Blackhawk Island in semi-retirement.

The stories were still set in contemporary time and were pretty decent. But they didn't build a large enough audience and the series was canceled again with issue #250, February 1977. Blackhawk Bylines, the letters page, had a rather frank discussion of the fate of the comic. Sales had never been good enough to justify continued publication. The writers talked of a possible comeback but it is obvious from the tone that they didn't believe that likely. The writers also penned a poignant description of the Blackhawks' return to Blackhawk Island with Chuck's body and the severely injured Chopper (results of the action in #250). They suggested that this time the Blackhawks really retired and went on to lead more sedate, civilian lives. Could be. Certainly, no other Blackhawk stories were ever set in contemporary time.


==The Evanier/Speigle Revival, 1982 to 1984==

The second revival came in October 1982, with the issue number picking up where the last left off, #251. Steven Spielberg, the enormously successful movie director, had expressed some interest in doing a Blackhawk movie at that time. I don't know if he had actually optioned it or was just talking about it, but apparently DC felt it wouldn't hurt to have the comic back in print during the discussion. They looked for a team to produce the book and chose Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle.

This time the Blackhawks were returned to their origins with stories set in World War II, but with a modern sensibility about characterization. They were back in their familiar uniforms and flying the Grumman F5F-1 Skyrocket again. And they were fighting the Nazis, foes worthy of their heroics. When given the job of writing the new Blackhawk series, Evanier wrote the following to editor Len Wein to explain how he planned to handle it: "What I'm aiming at here is a cross-pollenation of the original Quality Comics Blackhawks - with all the super Nazi paraphernalia and all - with a more contemporary attitude towards characterization. Wherever possible, history and the hardware depicted will be absolutely authentic. The origin reflected in the first story is a combination of the three different origins that Blackhawk has had in the past with particular emphasis on the first, circa 1941. We will begin the Blackhawk saga before Pearl Harbor, possibly around the time of the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands and then proceed, somewhat chronologically until we either run out of war or I am fired, whichever occurs first." (from issue #253)

Spiegles illustration style was a little sket../chaykin/chy for me at first, but it grew on me. He did a decent job of making the members of the team individuals and who couldn't like his female characters, like Domino. His rendition of the F5F was moderately successful. Spiegle had been in the comics business a long time. He was old enough to have served in WW II himself, where he painted nose art on aircraft. A Detached Service story in issue #272 about a wartime artist is a tribute to his service. The series sported some fantastic covers by Spiegle, Dave Cockrum, Howard Chaykin, Gil Kane, Ernie Colon and Dick Giordano.

Although a number of artists assisted by illustrating the Detached Service stories, Evanier wrote everything. His stories were generally excellent. The plots were interesting, using the WW II setting effectively and realistically while at the same time introducing fantastic elements like the War Wheel convincingly. The characters were well developed and given some depth. The more offensive racial stereotypes from the early days of the Blackhawks, particularly that of Chop-Chop, were done away with and Chop-Chop's relationship to the team was actually explored with considerable sensitivity. [DLT's note: See "Chop-Chop to Wu Cheng: The Evolution of the Chinese Character in Blackhawk Comic Books" for an academic analysis of ethnic sterotyping and its evolution over the decades of Blackhawk's publication.]

The series did well enough for two years, until the price was raised from sixty cents to seventy five and sales dropped off. DC cut the book from monthly to bi-monthly, and several people at DC wanted to drop it. Evanier and Spiegle became convinced that the title would be dropped in a matter of months, and they had an offer to do a new book for Eclipse (Crossfire) so they decided to get started on that, rather than to ride Blackhawk down. DC assigned another team to take it over but then, as predicted, the sales slid into the cancellation area, and they decided not to print the issues done by the new team.

In the letters column of the last issue, #273, November 1984, Evanier said that DC was considering a mini-series by Bill Dubay and Carmine Infantino. This may have been the work done by the (unidentified) team who had taken over from Evanier and Spiegle. Unfortunately, it was never published. I was eventually contacted by Bill Dubay who told me that the story still exists. Click here to read more about it.


---- ==The Howard Chaykin Revision, 1987==

In 1987, comics innovator Howard Chaykin updated the Blackhawks with more adult characters and story in a Prestige Format, three-book limited series.

If I had never read any other Blackhawk stories, I might have enjoyed this more. As is, the element that made the original Blackhawks special is totally missing from Chaykin's version. That is teamwork. The Blackhawks were the original comic book team, much more so than the All Star Squadron, the Justice Society or the later Justice League. Those were all loose groups of heroes that basicaly fought on their own, and only joined up at the end of the story to fight together. Each of the members of those "teams" had completely independent lives and careers. The Blackhawks were always the Blackhawks. They had no other lives, no "secret identities." They lived and worked closely as a team, using each members special skills in close coordination with the others. The stories made a point of showing the team practicing formation flying and unit manuevers. Not till twenty five years after the Blackhawks did another comic book team, the X-Men, have a similar kind of teamwork. Chaykin's story is about Janos Prohaska and Natalie Reed. In the first book, we only see two other Blackhawks, Chuck and Weng, in two brief scenes. And in one of those, Prohaska refers to his own men as "shitheads." The entire team appears in Book Two, but only at the end for a few pages, just long enough to kill off Stan. In the third book, no Blackhawks appear but Prohaska and Reed.

It seems obvious that Chaykin wasn't interested in the Blackhawks but in his own creation of Janos Prohaska. And I can't say I care too much for that, either. Prohaska is a profain, vulgar drunk who mistreats women and abuses his men. I didn't admire him, which I did the original Blackhawk. Chaykin never shows us why the other Blackhawks would follow a man like Prohaska. Yes, he is brave and competent in limited areas, but leadership is never demonstrated in this story. To the contrary, Prohaska is largely shown to be a lone wolf. Certainly there are men like Prohaska who are poor examples of human beings and yet still perform heroic deeds, but they aren't the characters I want to see in my comic books. Apparently, this type of "anti-hero" is common in comtemporary comic books. I understand this from discussions of current trends, since I have sampled very few new comic books. I did admire Kingdom Come, which addressed this issue in an elegant style and condemned the modern crop of ultra-violent, sociopathic "heroes." Recently, it was suggested to me that Chaykin really only has one character, an idealized version of himself, and that his Blackhawk was another clone of Reuben Flagg, Scorpion, Vector Pope ("Pulp Fantastic"), etc. That fits my feelings about Chaykin's "Blackhawk."

The rendering of the Grumman F5F-1 Skyrocket in this mini-series is decent, nearly as good as Dave Cockrum's. I was not so thrilled with the revisionist plot device of having "improved" copies of the aircraft produced in the Soviet Union. In Red Snow, Natalie Reed describes the Grumman F5F-1 as "failure ridden." I have seen this opinion in other Blackhawk references but it is not historically accurate. Go to the Grumman F5F-1 Skyrocket page for a detailed discussion of the F5F-1's actual performance. The mini-serie's "improved," Soviet-built Skyrocket is actually a step backward. It replaces the F5F's modern, retracting landing gear with fixed gear in streamlined pants, a technology going back to the 1930's instead of forward into the 1940's. And the F5F is turned into a two seater with a rear mounted machine gun, not a set-up for a high performance fighter, but an arrangement typical of dive bombers like the U.S.' Douglas SBD Dauntless or the German's Ju 87 Stuka (note that the Stuka, a plane that had fought in the Spanish Civil War and was considered obsolete when WW II started, also had fixed, skirted landing gear). None of these "improvements" make sense from a technological viewpoint. I had originally ascribed this redesign to Chaykin, but I have been informed by A.G. Parr that it was, in fact, Richard Ory who did the aircraft in those three issues. It was he who re-designed the aircraft, working as Chaykin's assistant on the mini-series. Chaykin hired him at the San Diego Con in 1986. According to Parr, Ory still occasionally does comics but, thanks to Chaykin, he is now doing animation (he just finished a stint on Dilbert and, before that, he was on Jonny Quest.)

I also think Chaykin's Soviet source for the new Skyrockets was ideological and really had nothing to do with technical problems. Frankly, the whole subplot concerning whether or not Blackhawk was a closet Red did little for me, but apparently it is important to Chaykin. In the same vein, I would have prefered not to have had Lady Blackhawk as a Communist. And the technical improbabilities jarred me enough that the whole story lost credibility.

Chaykin's story is amazingly cynical.Like much of Chaykins work,wronge thinking is often employed.Chaykins work,no matter what he claims,is often silly and immature. Often people assume an attitude of cynicism to give the impression that they are worldly and understand the lows of which humanity is capable. But it really shows a depressing lack of hope and allows the cynic to write off his fellow humans, ignoring their needs and potential. Of course, Chaykin wrote this in the late 1980's, a period when cynicism was rampant and greed was exalted. I make allowances for that. But in balance, dispite it's extremely stylish presentation, I found this Blackhawk failed me.

However, it did work for many people. Kevin Peralez sent me his assessment of the Chaykin mini-series.

"My involvement with Blackhawk started with the Howard Chaykin Mini-series. I found it a little confusing and had to reread it a few times, as with most Chaykin stuff. I did really enjoy the Action Comics stories and the Pasko/Moench/Burchett material.

"I really did like the conspiracy twinged stories as well as Blackhawks characterization as a 'cynical man without a war'. In my opinion, I think it fits perfectly for the times they were set in.

"Here we have a man who fought the evil of the Third Reich for most of his adult life. Now, late 40's/early 50's there really is no clear cut 'bad guy'. Except for what his bosses, the OSO/CIA , say are his enemies; and are they really?

-"If the series had not been canceled I think we would have seen the team move on into working 'Air America' type of jobs in Indochina, those would have been good stories."

It is also true that in his earliest incarnation in Military Comics, Blackhawk was ruthless to his enemys, gunning them down in cold blood without a thought. According to Robert Jennings' article5 on Blackhawk in The Comic World, Vol 1 No 8, one of the problems with the majority of the Blackhawk stories in Modern Comics was that too many of them had Blackhawk operating solo, with only minimal involvement of the rest of the team. Like Chaykin's story, these were also set in the years immediatley after World War II. So perhaps Chaykin's characterization is based on firm precedent. I still didn't like the character.



==The Second Series, 1988 to 1990== Edit

Howard Chaykin's Blackhawk was successful enough that when DC tried an experiment in 1988 by turning Action Comics into a weekly series with six rotating titles, the revitalized Blackhawks were included. The Blackhawks were the first series from Action to spin-off into their own book. The new series began with issue #1, March 1989 (there had never been a Blackhawk #1 in the original series).

Illustrated by Rick Burchett and written by Martin Pasko until issue #12 when Doug Moench took over, it explored conspiracy themes that are still popular today. This incarnation lasted for sixteen issues, expiring in August, 1990.

----

==The Last Blackhawks, 1990 to Present==

The final appearance of a comic book with the Blackhawk title was a Special #1 in 1992. Since then, the Blackhawks have made occasional appearances in cameos in other titles. References 1Blackhawk, Vol. 32, No. 260, July 1983. DC Comics Inc., 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10103. Copyright 1983.

2The Steranko History of Comics, Vol. 2. James Steranko. Supergraphics, 218 North Sixth St., Reading, PA 19601. Copyright 1972.

3Naval Fighters Number Thirty-One: Grumman XF5F-1 & XP-50 Skyrocket. By David Lucabaugh and Bob Martin. ISBN 0-942612-31-0, Steve Ginter, 1754 Warfield Cir., Simi Valley, CA 93063. 1995. Page 14.

4 Ibid. Page 16.

5Blackhawk. Robert Jennings. The Comic World, Vol 1 No. 8. Robert Jennings, 3819 Chambers Drive, Nashville, TN 37211. All characters, pictures, and related indicia on these pages are the property of DC Comics. All text is ©1998 Dan Thompson, except where otherwise noted. This homepage is not intended to infringe on the copyright of DC Comics to its characters, but was created out of gratitude to all the wonderful writers, artists, and editors who created the Blackhawks.


== ---- ===Creation=== ==


Like many of his golden age and silver age comic book counterparts, the creation of Blackhawk has been the subject of sometimes-contentious debate. Will Eisner has at times been considered the characters' primary creator, with Eisner himself acknowledging the contributions of Chuck Cuidera and writer Bob Powell.[3]  Over the years, Cuidera became increasingly vocal that he did much more work on Blackhawk than Eisner and that he had in fact already started creating the characters prior to joining Eisner's studio.[4] According to Cuidera, he and Powell fleshed out the concept, deciding on everything from names and nationalities, to the characters' distinguishing traits, uniforms, and the aircraft they would fly.[5] In 1999, Eisner addressed his view of the matter during a Comic-Con panel: Template:Quote




Blackhawk Island Edit

The two maps above represent Blackhawk Island as envisioned at the opposite ends of it's career in comics. The one on the left is from the earliest days of the Blackhawks in 1941. The one on the right is from 1985, near the end of the Blackhawks publication in their own series (they were to have one more revival in 1989). Click on the images for larger versions.

From Who's Who: the Definitive Directory of the DC Universe 2, April 1985. "Situated somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, Blackhawk Island is home base for the Blackhawks, a paramilitary group known to exist during World War II. The island is not listed on any navigational charts, nor is its location known to any government. Blackhawk Island housed the members of the Blackhawk Squadron, their planes, maintenance equipment, storage facilities, and more (see diagram).

The above description was published shortly after the Evanier/Spiegle series, which was set during World War II. In his Blackhawk novel, William Rotsler identified Blackhawk Island as one of the Orkney islands northwest of Scotland. Toward the end of WW II, when the Blackhawks shifted their campaign to the Pacific to fight the Japanese, a new Blackhawk Island was located somewhere near Japan. In the post-war stories up till 1964, it seems clear Blackhawk Island was still in the Pacific, since several adventures took place on Pacific islands that were "near" Blackhawk Island. At the same time, it was apparently close to the continental United States, since it was a short flight from their "mainland barracks", which seemed to be on the west coast of the the U.S., and they could respond quickly to emergency calls which mostly came from the U.S. The location of Blackhawk Island seemed to be the worst kept secret in history. It was constantly invaded, attacked and bombarded by Nazis, Japanese, Commies, criminals, and aliens.

The general description of an island with strong defenses, laboratories, aircraft hangars, barracks, etc., still apply. One item not shown on the drawing above is the Blackhawk Victory Museum, which housed many trophies like the War Wheel and the Flying Tank that somehow were always turned against the team. June, 1964 saw the creation of the "New Blackhawks" in issue No. 197. The "new" Blackhawks used a floating base disquised as an iceberg instead of Blackhawk Island.



Blackhawk Planes,jets and other vehicles Edit

----Grumman F5F-1 Skyrocket Edit

This panel is from The Brave and the Bold, No. 167. It's the best drawing of the F5F-1 in the comic books. The Blackhawks flew the Skyrocket from their first appearance in 1941 until about 1949. The unique design of the Skyrocket with its fuselage that started about a foot back from the leading edge of its wing made it easily recognizable and it became amazingly well known for a plane that never went into production. However, Charles Cuidera, the artist who created the Blackhawks, did not feel at all bound by Grumman's design. He immediately replaced the XF5F-1's rotary engines with generic inline engines and then proceeded to replace the twin tail with a more conventional, single tail. See Military No. 2.

The actual XF5F-1 Skyrocket was built by Grumman under a Navy contract for a high performance, twin engine, single-seat fighter. There was only one XF5F-1 built. It is common knowledge in the comics community that the F5F-1 was a failure but it was used for the Blackhawks because it looked cool. It does have a unique look, but it was not the failure commonly believed. The F5F-1's test pilot, "Connie" Converse, in 1980 recalled "the flying qualities for the XF5F-1 were good overall. The counter-rotating props were a nice feature, virtually eliminating the torque effect on takeoff ... single-engine performance was good, rudder forces tended to be high in single engine configuration. Spin recovery was positive but elevator forces required for recovery were unusually high.

All acrobatics were easily performed, and of course forward visibility was excellent."1 In 1941, Navy pilots tested the Skyrocket in a fly-off against the Spitfire, Hurricane, P-40, P-39, XFL-1 Airabonita, XF4U, F4F, and F2A. LDCR Crommelin, in charge of the test, stated in a 1985 letter to George Skurla, Grumman president, "for instance, I remember testing the XF5F against the XF4U on climb to the 10.000 foot level. I pulled away from the Corsair so fast I thought he was having engine trouble. The F5F was a carrier pilot's dream, as opposite rotating propellers eliminated all torque and you had no large engine up front to look around to see the LSO (landing signal officer) ... The analysis of all the data definately favored the F5F, and the Spitfire came in a distant second. ..ADM Towers told me that securing spare parts ... and other particulars which compounded the difficulty of building the twin-engine fighter, had ruled out the Skyrocket and that the Bureau had settled on the Wildcat for mass production."2 It is true that the Skyrocket had some developmental problems, but no more than any other aircraft of similar radical design. The Navy was also concerned that the F5F was overweight, but this was more a problem of their expectations than reality. The Navy was used to comparitively small, light biplanes. The newer, high performance monoplanes were all overweight by that standard. The F4U Corsair weighed more than the F5F, even though it had a single engine compared to the Skyrocket's two.

Specifications are: Span 42 feet Length- 28 feet 8.5 inches Height- 11 feet 4 inches Max weight- 10,892 pounds Max speed- 383 miles per hour at sea level Landing speed- 72 miles per hour Rate of climb- 4,000 feet per minute Service ceiling- 33,000 feet Normal range- 780 miles Max range- 1,170 miles Armament- two 30 cal machine guns and two 50 cal machine guns Engines- two 1,200 horse power Wright Cyclone XR-1820-40/42 Fuel- 178 gallons

1Naval Fighters Number Thirty-One: Grumman XF5F-1 & XP-50 Skyrocket. By David Lucabaugh and Bob Martin. ISBN 0-942612-31-0, Steve Ginter, 1754 Warfield Cir., Simi Valley, CA 93063. 1995. Page 14.

2 Ibid. Page 16.

F5F-1 Color Profiles

The F5F-1 appeared in several incarnations of the Blackhawk comic book, from it's original flight in Military Comics in 1941 to the last Blackhawk series in 1990. Over that nearly fifty year time span, the Blackhawks' Skyrockets sported several different color schemes and many different versions of the Blackhawk insignia. For color profiles of many (but not all) of those liveries, CLICK HERE. This page also includes downloadable graphics that can be used to make decals for the F5F-1 kits discussed below.

F5F-1 Model

1/72 Scale ----




==


Lockheed F-90C ==


This panel is from Blackhawk No. 168, January 1962. This is the Blackhawk airplane that renewed my interest in the Blackhawks after a twenty year hiatus. It was the airplane that the Blackhawks flew in the early 60's, which were my peak years for reading comics. As a kid, I was also fascinated by technology of any kind (though we didn't think of it in those terms then), especially jet fighter planes. Modern aircraft may be more effective but for me, those early jets will always epitomize what an airplane ought to look like! Naturally, the almost archtypical Blackhawk jet has a special place in my memory. Blackhawk #68 from 1953 shows an unmistakeable Lockheed F-90 on the cover, but the earliest appearance I can identify is Blackhawk #33, October 1950. By 1957, the Blackhawks were flying a plane that strongly resembled the F-90, but was clearly different. It was a mid-wing aircraft instead of low-winged and its fuselage was even more slender and needle-nosed than the F-90B. I don't know why the design was changed. References indicate the same artists drew the comic in both periods. Probably the change in design was simply a matter of making it easier and quicker to draw, but I can imagine another (fictional) scenario....

The Blackhawks had already upgraded the sleek, futuristic looking F-90's inadequate twin engines with a larger, more powerful single engine to produce the F-90B. But after flying this plane for a few years, they found it too large for their kind of missions and, even with the larger engine, it had never gone supersonic. So they gave Lockheed specifications for a smaller, faster fighter. The famous Skunkworks came up with a new design, based on the the F-90, but incorporating research from the X-7 project that would also lead to the F-104 Starfighter. Lockheed probably didn't make much off the original production of six aircraft, but building replacements kept them busy for a long time. The Blackhawks lost on average about one aircraft a month and it wasn't uncommon for all six jets to be destroyed in a single mission!

F-90C Model

1/72 Scale




== The War Wheel ==


From Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe 25

    "The War Wheel was invented by Prof. Merson, who willingly defected to the Nazis even though it was believed at the time that he had been kidnapped.
    It was in May, 1940, that the War Wheel first went into action, wrecking a town in Belgium. It was a gigantic wheel, spiked and heavily armored so that not even the largest artillery shell could penetrate it. Buildings and vehicles were crushed as it inexorably rolled along.
    The Blackhawks landed and helped fight off Nazi soldiers just after the War Wheel left. Surprisingly, they found the War Wheel's tracks left the town, then mysteriously stopped. It must have been taken away by air, yet how could any aircraft lift this juggernaut?

The Blackhawks used every weapon they could think of against the War Wheel, from aerial bombs to Chop-Chop crashing his plane into it; nothing worked. Blackhawk found Merson watching and demanded that he tell how his creation could be stopped. Merson replied that he had no idea. Only the men inside could stop it. Blackhawk conceived his own scheme for stopping the great Wheel. he attached high voltage wires to a fence in its path. When the Wheel struck it, the shock killed the men within and the huge machine stopped and crashed to Earth (see Blackhawk No. 252). A Nazi agent - a woman called Domino - rescued Merson but, though she could have killed Blackhawk, she spared him. Later, when Blackhawk was on a mission to trap Domino, the other Blackhawks received word that the War Wheel was active again - this time in a Spanish town against people there giving aid to the forces fighting the Nazis. The Blackhawks did find out how the War Wheel vanished - it was lifted by a group of dirigibles. The Blackhawks attacked and damaged the dirigibles, rendering them incapable of supporting the Wheel. Stanislaus came up with the way to defeat the Wheel, luring it into quicksand, where it bogged down. The men inside surrendered (see Blackhawk No. 263). It was just after this that Hendrickson shot and killed Domino when he saw her aiming a gun at Blackhawk. In 1953, the tiny country of Malkaria was invaded, supposedly by one of the countries in the Soviet block. The aggressors had a new War Wheel, which promised to win the day for them. However, Blackhawk repeated Stan's trick by luring it into quicksand, where it sank, drowning the crew (see Blackhawk No. 56). The Wheel turned up time and again, only to be defeated by the Blackhawks or Task Force X (see Suicide Squad). It seems this War Wheel was salvaged by the Blackhawks, as it later turned up as an exhibit in their Victory Museum on Blackhawk Island."

DLT: I like this "history" of the War Wheel, particularly the way it meshes the "origin" of the War Wheel during World War II, in issue No. 252 from the Evanier/Speigle Revival, 1982 to 1984, with its actual origin in issue No. 56, September 1952. Its rationalization for the War Wheel's exhibition in the Blackhawks' museum is also plausible. The War Wheel made over a dozen appearances, sometimes as a near impossible challenge to the Black Knights, sometimes as a minor plot device. The idea of a gigantic wheel rolling across the country side, crushing everything in its path, is certainly fascinating. Its interest was apparent to whoever decided what would appear on the covers because the War Wheel made more covers than any other villianous device. In addition to the issues mentioned above, it also made the cover of No. 250. Just like the Blackhawks, the War Wheel has made guest apperances in other comic books, first in Secret Origins #14, May 1987, with the Suicide Squad. A war machine that, if not the War Wheel, is certainly a close relative appeared in Batman & Captain America in 1996. The War Wheel was featured in an Amalgam title, Super Soldier: Man of War No. 1, June 1997. It's most recent appearance is in Men of War, Wheel of Peace, by Michael Hutchison (published in Fanzing #23, Dec 1999), a story about Sgt. Rock, Easy Company and Gravedigger battling a War Wheel on Christmas day, 1945. It mentions the Blackhawks' earlier encounters with War Wheels.   ===The Quality Comics years===

File:Military18.jpg
The Blackhawks debuted in August 1941 as the lead feature in the first issue of Quality Comics' anthology series Military Comics, billed as featuring "stories of the Army and Navy." Viewed by Will Eisner as "a modern version of the Robin Hood legend,"[5] the team's first appearance was co-written by Chuck Cuidera and Bob Powell, with art by Cuidera.[1] Although the exact nature of Eisner, Cuidera, and Powell's individual contributions to the creation of the Blackhawks will never be known, it is confirmed that each performed some level of writing duties at different times during the first eleven issues, with Eisner working on early covers with Cuidera and Cuidera providing interior artwork.[1][5]When Cuidera joined the armed services in 1942, Reed Crandall took over as artist, beginning a long association with the characters that would last until 1953. Jim Steranko has observed, "Where Cuidera made Blackhawk a best-seller, Crandall turned it into a classic, a work of major importance and lasting value."[5] It was during Crandall's run that the series hit its sales and popularity zenith. The Blackhawks' success earned them their own title in Winter 1944. That issue, Blackhawk #9, picked up the numbering of Quality's canceled Uncle Sam Quarterly. They meanwhile continued to be featured prominently in Military Comics, later renamed Modern Comics, until that book's cancellation with #102 (October 1950). During the Quality years, a whole host of well-respected talent worked on the character, including writers Manly Wade Wellman, Bill Woolfolk, Bill Finger, and Dick French,[6] as well as artists Al Bryant, Bill Ward, and Dick Dillin. It was French, also an accomplished songwriter, who infused the team with the quirky desire to sing celebratory songs from their cockpits as they swooped in and out of battle.[7] Quality Comics ceased operations with comics cover-dated December 1956, with Blackhawk #107 being the final issue published by Quality. The character and title trademarks were initially leased on a royalty basis to National Periodical Publications (now DC Comics) before eventually being sold in their entirety.[7] 


== ----

=Acquired by DC Comics=== Edit

Blackhawk was one of the few Quality series that DC chose to keep running uninterrupted. Penciller Dick Dillon and inker Chuck Cuidera remained on the title, ensuring a near-seamless transition. The duo would stay with the title through nearly its entire first run at DC. Steering deeper and deeper into the realm of science fiction, the Blackhawks found themselves confronting a steady stream of unmemorable and mostly one-off supervillain-like adversaries bent on world domination. The Blackhawks also gained a new ally in Blackhawk #133 (February 1959): Lady Blackhawk, a pilot named Zinda Blake who was determined to become the first female member of the team. After a couple of appearances, she was granted honorary status and became a semi-frequent member of the supporting cast.In pre-Crisis terms, if Quality Comics adventures were all on Earth-X, when DC began publishing Blackhawk, does that make those adventures technically Earth-Two?At DC, the Blackhawks continued under the same art team as at Quality: Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera. Over the years, they began transitioned from fighting big machines to more super-villains (the Killer Shark recurred often), and sci-fi menaces that mirrored the types of stories being produced in DC’s other superhero titles. Regardless of the quality, something was working, and the title kept going into the mid-1960s. (#108-196) In 1958, they were joined by a Lady Blackhawk, Zinda Blake. (Blackhawk #133)

In her first adventure, she failed to make the cut, and she appeared off-and-on for some time, and eventually disappeared amid the time fluctuations caused by Zero Hour. She emerged decades in the future. (Guy Gardner #24). She was invited by Oracle to join the Birds of Prey as their pilot. (Birds of Prey #75) In Blackhawk�#197 (June 1964), their uniforms were updated to a red-and-green scheme that was less military and more akin to contemporary adventurers like the Challengers of the Unknown. (#196-227) Lady Blackhawk came under the thrall of the Killer Shark, as Queen Killer Shark. (#200) In order to keep the Blackhawks hip to the times, an embarrasingly bizarre move was made beginning with issue #228 (Jan. 1967) to recast the Blackhawks as true superheroes! That issue featured the Justice League on the cover, and on the next, Blackhawk rather desperately cried to the reader, “Don’t quit on us! Everyone says the Blackhawks are washed up… but you be the judge!” They were now known as the Leaper (Olaf), Dr. Hands (Chop Chop), the Weapons Master (Hendrickson), the Big Eye (Blackhawk), the Listener (Chuck), M’Sieu Machine (Andre), and the Golden Centurion (Stan). (#228-241) Just before it was canceled, DC attempted to return the Blackhawk� to its traditional setting (and uniforms). (#242-243)     

In an effort to update the characters, DC gave the team its first ever major wardrobe overhaul in Blackhawk #197 (June 1964), replacing their longtime uniforms with red and black shirts and green pants. On a dramatic level, Lady Blackhawk was transformed into a supervillain, Queen Killer Shark, in Blackhawk #200 (September 1964). Then, in a much more drastic attempt to combat flagging sales due to the rising popularity of superhero books and the Batman TV series, DC proclaimed with Blackhawk #228 (January 1967) the beginning of "the New Blackhawk Era" with a cover featuring Justice League of America members Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Flash observing that the Blackhawks are (in Superman's words) "washed up" and (in Batman's words) "junk-heap heroes." In the issues that followed, all but Blackhawk gained a costumed superhero alter ego at the behest of a shadowy government agency.  With sales continuing to sink, the Blackhawks were restored to something that more closely resembled their original roots in Blackhawk #242 (August 1968), losing the superhero identities in favor of their traditional blue and black uniforms. It was too late though; the comic was canceled for the first time one issue later. 

-


---

The Blackhawks of Earth-One Edit

The Evanier/Spiegle Run, Blackhawk #251-273 (1982-84)

I was completely unprepared for just how good this series would be. I've always been a fan of Howard Chaykin's late 1980s revival, but this one went under the radar. Evanier and Spiegle were in top form throughout this series. If DC is listening, this run is a prime candidate for collection.


From Blackhawk #251 (1982). Art by Dan Spiegle. The 1982 reboot by longtime collaborators Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle re-envisioned the Blackhawks in a more streamlined fashion, taking all the most prominent aspects of the original wartime adventures and adding a more human dimension to the pilots themselves. The series lasted for 23 issues and appeared to be relatively successful despite its lack of promotion. On his blog, Evanier claimed that,

"Our run on Blackhawk caused some tumult in the DC halls because most everyone had predicted a quick flop of a book that was only being revived for licensing reasons. It didn't sell well but it sold above all projections and garnered a lot of in-house fans. (The biggest problem was that DC couldn't sell reprint rights to their biggest overseas customer. For some reason, Germany didn't want a comic book that was all about killing Germans.)" Evanier and Spiegle had some history of working together prior to this. Though both were passionate about war comics, they had produced Scooby Doo... Mystery Comics before DC had it, at Gold Key. After Blackhawk, they moved on to Crossfire for Eclipse. Spiegle graduated from Los Angeles's Chouinard Art Institute and quickly found gig drawing the "Hopalong Cassidy" newspaper strip, then Maverick for Western in the 1950s. When Western became Gold Key, the publisher shifted to funny animal and Dan was put on Scooby. Evanier's career included a lot of TV writing, such as "Welcome Back, Kotter" and countless cartoons, even "Plastic Man."

Evanier frequently wrote in the letters columns about the decisions affecting the series, and the frequent changes in editors (Len Wein lasted one issue, then Marv Wolfman and Ernie Colon for a handful each, finally Evanier himself).

Even though this revival of Blackhawk did not begin with issue #1, it was created as a "clean slate," and was not intended to be in continuity with previous Blackhawk eras. They considered this version to be the Earth-One version of Blackhawk, a relatively blank slate though heavily based on the Quality Comics adventures. Evanier said in the letters column of issue #257, "The Blackhawks adventures in this comic are the first-ever exploits of the Blackhawks of Earth-1 and all previous Blackhawk stories took place on Earth-2 or Earth-X (which took place on which, I don't even want to begin to think about). The reason Marv [Wolfman] and I opted for Earth-1 is that, we felt if we chose any other, it would be difficult to do the book and still make it comprehensible to those who don't have the first 259 issues. I don't even have the first 249 issues, though I have a lot of them." He acknowledged that there was still a continuity problem with the (Earth-1) Justice League's appearance in Blackhawk #228 (Jan. 1967). He concluded by saying, "I think you'll find yourself enjoying a number of issues that couldn't have been done if we had to adhere to the constraints of the 'Mythos' of Earth-2 or Earth-X."


Evanier and Spiegle's Blackhawk: tough, handsome—and sensitive. From Blackhawk #269 (1984). The freedom allowed for a great sense of continuity to the series, made possible mostly through the establishment of a core group of adversaries and some very distinct personality traits for the Blackhawks themselves. The squad’s primary adversary was Adolf Hitler himself. Many adventures took place in Germany and the Führer appeared in nearly every issue. Hitler also employed an American man, a profiteer and genius inventor named Hugo Merson. Merson was cast as the inventor of the War Wheel and all of the other strange devices that ravaged the continent. And it wouldn’t be Blackhawk without the femme fatale. In Evanier’s run, Blackhawk’s recurring nemesis was the beautiful Domino, a humble young woman fashioned into an assassin. Naturally, the two found themselves irresistibly attracted to one another.

The series opened in 1940, before the United States’ entrance into World War II. To set the tone, Evanier’s first pages introduced Hitler himself, and briefly described his rise to power. It read rather like a serial, with many plot threads continuing over many months, but not to the detriment of the individual installments.



== The beautiful and deadly Domino, ==

from Blackhawk #261 (1983). Art by Dan Spiegle. The team's origins were familiar. In the first issue, Blackhawk related his origins. Bart Hawk (this, a name borrowed from earlier DC appearances and first mentioned in Blackhawk #260) begun as a flier the Polish Reserve, and fought the German invasion in 1939, during which he lost friends and family. After painting his plane black, he took out 20 German planes but when he landed, hoping to bring good news to his family, he found his home destroyed. His brother, Jack, died before him. Because of his plane, the Polish people dubbed Bart "Blackhawk." He quickly learned that Captain Ernst Von Tepp (first name in #257) was the commander behind the raid and and began gathering intelligence to find Von Tepp. He also met the second member of the squadron, Stanislaus of Warsaw, whose family was similarly killed. Blackhawk and Stan made successful missions using decoy gliders, and after their successes, they added other members. (Blackhawk #251)

In #253, Mark Evanier described the members in more detail, saying he was attempting to cross-pollinate the older versions, mixing some of the crazy original Nazi machines and forgotten lands with modern characterization. Evanier himself had begun reading comics in 1962 and fell in love with DC's Blackhawk, but always felt their adventures were anachronistic. When he delved further back, into their earlier Quality appearances, he discovered he preferred those. Evanier and Spiegle's Blackhawks reported directly to Winston Churchill in London, and were volunteers. The location of their base, Blackhawk Island, was top secret. As in their earliest Quality Comics adventures, their planes in this series were the Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrockets.



== ===1970s=== == Edit

Just over seven years later, DC Comics resurrected the series with Blackhawk #244 (January 1976) as part of the "DC Explosion," a then-recent marketing campaign in which DC began publishing more monthly titles and increased the number of story pages in all of its titles, accompanied by higher cover prices.[8]

The Blackhawks were transplanted to the 1970s and now portrayed as mercenaries-for-hire, matching wits against fancifully bizarre new villains, as well as a re-imagined Killer Shark and War Wheel. This run ended with Blackhawk #250 (January 1977), and is therefore not considered a casualty of 1978's DC Implosion.The Earth-One Justice League appeared in the 1960s Blackhawk, which would place them on Earth-One as well. That was probably the logic at the time, but later Mark Evanier's Blackhawk was explicitly defined as the Earth-One team. Another anomaly was Roy Thomas' use of the characters in All-Star Squadron, where they were on Earth-Two during World War II. You didn't realize Blackhawk continuity was such a mess, did you? But if one isolates Blackhawk's DC adventures from 1957-1977, they fit easily into Silver Age Earth-One continuity. There are reasons for this in the narrative below.

In the letters column of Blackhawk #244, Jack C. Harris penned a classified memo of sorts which "speculated" about the Blackhawks' origins: "It is believed that in their youth, the Blackhawks fought the forces of Hitler throughout the world. Others speculate that the group first banded together in the fifties to battle a growing number of costumed villains and foes. "There was even talk of them saving the entire planet from invasion from another world! (ref??) Much of this is believed to have been the ravings of the victims of mass hysteria, but some historians are not so sure. "During the changing sixties there was a story that this mighty team had donned costumes and become super-heroes in the 'camp' craze of the troubled times. This remains unconfirmed and is thought today to be mere fiction. "In 1968 the team known as the Blackhawks faded from the public eye. Inquiries into the disappearance led only to dead ends and blank walls. "A joint statement issued by the Justice League of America and the U.S. Government read, simply 'No Comment.' The Blackhawks were gone.

The questions were unanswered. Then, in early September of this year, reports began to trickle in on a new group calling themselves the Blackhawks. Extensive investigations into this team's activities have determined that it is not a new team, but the original seven, who have seemingly survived whatever mission they departed on those seven years ago. "It is also clear that these seven have retained the same positions in rank and duties as when they last appeared in public." It went on to list them, adding, "No longer subsidized by the U.S. Government or by the private fortunes of its members, the Blackhawks are now supported by mercenary feeds collected for their deeds." 

Blackhawk, alias Bart Hawk aka Mr. Cunningham, the silent head of Cunningham Aircraft, one of the largest aircraft corporations in the world. He commands a working knowledge of many branches of science with specialties in aviation and aerodynamics.Stanislaus: Known to be a citizen of Poland, Stanislaus is the financial wizard of Cunningham Aircraft, the suspected front of the Blackhawk operation.Hendrickson: Of Dutch descent, it is believed that Hendrickson spent much of his childhood in Germany.

[NOTE:Edit

This marries his Quality-era Holland vs. Germany citizencship.] He is the oldest of the group and speculation leads to the belief that his current duty is sentinel of the secret base of the team, Blackhawk Island, location: unknown!Chuck: An American citizen, Chuck is the communications expert and scientist of the team, applying almost the sum total of his knowledge to operations for Cunningham and the Blackhawk project.Chopper (formerly Chop-Chop). Former citizen of mainland China. Chopper is master of Martial arts, but shows more aptitude in being the most skilled flier of the team, save for Blackhawk himself.

Andre: A mechanics expert, Andre is one of the three Blackhawks who operate outside the United States. It is known that his base is in France, the nation of his birth, but at this time there is no information as to the European mission.Olaf is also a European operative, with a cover job as a ski instructor at a Cunningham -owned resort. Of Swedish background, the massive man is the youngest of the Blackhawk team.

(Blackhawk #244)Lasting only seven issues, the 1976 revival managed to reintroduce classic Blackhawk foes and plot devices and invent some new ones. Skeates set up a whole lot of characterization and potential for the Blackhawks but had to leave many plot threads unresolved. The series opened with the squad rushing into battle against the forces of Anton Vibrax. It was a freelance mission commissioned by a man named Robinson, who wanted them to retrieve some prototype weapon. They easily took down Vibrax's ally, the Collector, in the Sahara. Afterwards, they reported failure to Robinson, and argued with him over payment. When they were relieved of duty, the rest of the squad returned to their private lives.

Blackhawk used the alias of "Cunningham" and was now the head of Cunningham Aircraft, ostensibly an aircraft manufacturing company, but in truth more of a cover for their own research and development, and freelance services. Stan was now the company's financial wizard. Chuck worked there too, and Chopper (never "Chop-Chop" in this series) was their #2 pilot. Andre and Olaf returned to Europe, where Olaf used the cover of ski instructor to maintain their European mountain base. Save for Hendrickson, the Blackhawks no longer resided on Blackhawk Island. That day, Hendrickson received a visitor—the Duchess Ramona Fatale aka Patch, a red-haired spitfire with an eye patch. They'd previously fought against and beside her, but now she needed help against Vibrax, who had decimated her own island fortress and crew. (Curiously, the "roll call" on the splash page included Fatale.) Hendrickson summoned the others to Blackhawk Island, where the Duchess had donned a Blackhawk uniform (out of necessity; you see… she'd fled her island wearing only a bikini).

At Duchess Island, they caught Vibrax unprepared and Blackhawk tricked the villain into succumbing to his own destructive gauntlet. In the end, Blackhawk found in Fatale's possession the object of their original mission: the American prototype anti-missile device. (#244) Upon returning to Blackhawk Island, Hendrickson was attacked by a plane that dropped a passenger. He rushed in to discovered that it was his own daughter, Elsa! When the Blackhawks arrived, they learned that Elsa was kidnapped by the Anti-Man in Santa Culpa.

Meanwhile, Anti-Man ambushed Olaf upon his return to his resort. Olaf was shocked—he recognized Anti-Man as someone he believed long dead. Blackhawk was convinced to take this unpaid mission on Elsa's behalf, and the Blackhawks were soon face-to-face with Anti-Man himself. The villain wasted no time revealing his true identity. He was their long lost former member, Boris, left for dead at Angola! (#245)Boris stopped short of murdering his former comrades and the men recounted their memories of him. Even though he was Russian, the men always gave Boris the benefit of the doubt.

[NOTE:


This also implies a 1950s/anti-Communist era start to this team's continuity.] Chuck was closest to him, but Stan recalled a time when Chuck narrowly avoided a land mine, and suspected Boris or leading Chuck onto it. Chopper took Boris' place in the line-up and was told of his end. It was in battle against the mad scientist, Professor Distov, and the squad was forced to flee his exploding laboratory, but Boris supposedly perished inside. His new ally, Professor Ortega, explained that Boris' new super-powers came from Mount Sebastion, which lay at the polar opposite end of the globe as Distov's lab. An alien source of anti-matter energy had landed at Sebastion and its energy seeped through the Earth, allowing Boris to survive Distov's explosion. Now his captive, Olaf, used his own brute strength to break his bonds and Blackhawk bypassed Boris' super-powers with naught but his own fists. Boris proclaimed that he preferred death to capture, and set off a chain reaction within the mountain, which disintegrated. (#246)   Everybody shouted in 1976...

Patch introduces her all-new, all-sexy fightin' lady squad; from Blackhawk #247 (1976). Art by Ric Estrada and Al Milgrom.   The Biolord, from Blackhawk #247 (1976). David A. Kraft penned the next issue, and the writing was of a noticeably lesser quality. While the Blackhawks bickered among themselves, Patch returned, having recruited three new agents: the sexy Tania, Ayn and Prudence. She asked them for help in pursuing Vibrax's employer, and Andre was assigned to accompany them to Belgium. The rest of the squadron was hired again by Robinson (called "Robertson" now) to act as courier form Greenland to Great Britain.

Robertson was in truth, the Biolord. and he ambushed the Blackhawks with armored robot soldiers. Biolord was using the same anti-matter lode that had powered Boris. His mission was to preserve ecological balance and to eliminate "human insanity." He used it to build an Anti-Bomb, and prepared to launch it. (#247) Chuck quickly disabled the Anti-Bomb's guidance system and the Biolord unleashed his Metadroids—all while pleading his case. He was a cyborg created to by machines in response to the global environmental crisis; only a machine stood a chance of surviving the apocalypse. He built his lair in Greenland and hired Vibrax and Anti-Man. Just then, Andre returned and blasted the Biolord to bits. As the Blackhawks left, Biolord reconstructed himself and Blackhawk bailed from his plane to engage the cyborg directly. Olaf dove out after his leader. Back on Blackhawk Island, Elsa Hendrickson pulled a gun on her father. She complained that he had deserted her (her mother was now dead), but the two reconciled. (#248) 

[NOTE: In the letters of the next issue, the editors revealed, "As for your requests for Elsa taking her place as a Blackhawk like her famous father, well, we'll have to tell you to keep with us. It seems your thoughts are very close to our own."]   Elsa, Hendrickson's daughter and the new would-be Lady Blackhawk; from Blackhawk #248 (1976). Art by Jim Sherman and George Evans. Having just escaped from the clutches of the Biolord, Olaf and Blackhawk landed on snowy mountains and were ambushed by a new threat: a skull-headed menace and two wolves on a motor sled! Later in the hospital, Blackhawk recognized Von Gross, a former Nazi SS Colonel who ran an Amazon torture camp. They pursued him into the sky and discovered his giant hovering Sky-Skull, which converted solar to electromagnetic energy and repelled it from the Earth's surface. Blackhawk used his own strength to break a laser gun from its mount, and turned it on Von Gross. The villain tumbled out of the Sky-Skull and Blackhawk dove into the ocean after him. Instead, Blackhawk came ashore on an island, where he found himself in the direct path of their old nemesis, the War Wheel (1st app. Blackhawk #56, Sept. 1952)!

On Blackhawk Island, Elsa summoned Hendrickson to see an artifact she had received from her mother. She intended to return this talisman to its "home," but when she produced it, Hendrickson doubled over in pain. (#249) Like disco, this generation of Blackhawk lived fast and died young (thought it didn't burn as brightly). The final issue reintroduced Blackhawk's classic arch enemy, the Killer Shark (1st app. Blackhawk #70, Nov. 1953), who was in command of the War Wheel. When the others arrived to help, all but Chuck were forced to bail from their planes. To save his comrades, Chuck made a kamikaze dive into the War Wheel, sacrificing his life in the resulting conflagration. This shocking conclusion was followed up on the letters page, which described the Blackhawks' return to the island, bearing Chuck in a coffin made from the wing of his plane, and laying him to rest there. (#250) This version was canceled before the "DC Implosion," happened in 1977. Unlike many other titles, there are no "lost" Blackhawk stories or appearances in the two-volume Canceled Comics Cavalcade.


Also in that last letters page, the editors admitted that "something never clicked." "We wanted you to forget the Blackhawks of old and recognize the New Blackhawks as the one, the only and the most original. We have to face it, we failed to capture your interest." Notes In comparison to Golden Age times, there was much more "lag time" between an issue's cover date and it's street date. In the 1940s, an April issue was advertised for sale in February. During this 1970s run of Blackhawk, an issue cover dated March/April went on sale in late December. Powers No member of the Blackhawks exhibited metahuman powers. All were exceptional pilots and trained hand-to-hand combatants, each with their own special 





1980s & 1990s Edit

Amid rampant rumors that Steven Spielberg was interested in Blackhawk as a possible film project, DC Comics once again resumed the series. Initially conceived as being published quarterly, editor Len Wein convinced DC to make the book monthly and eventually assembled a team that included writer Mark Evanier and artist Dan Spiegle.[9] Blackhawk #251 (October 1982) returned the team to a World War II setting and restored many of the familiar trappings that had been shed over the years during the various attempts to modernize the characters. Numerous new supporting characters were introduced during the run, most notably Domino, a buxom Nazi assassin and love interest to Blackhawk who was reminiscent of the femme fatales so common during the Quality Comics era. Evanier also reintroduced arch-villain Killer Shark, and has said he would have likely added Lady Blackhawk to the cast had the series lasted longer.[9] But faced with stagnant sales that Evanier attributed largely to DC's lack of interest in publicizing the series,[9] the book was canceled with Blackhawk #273 (November 1984). Though it wouldn't be known at the time, that issue would mark the definitive end of the series' original issue numbering. 

  Dan Spiegle's spectacular opening salvo, from Blackhawk #251 (1982). The 1982 reboot by longtime collaborators Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle re-envisioned the Blackhawks in a more streamlined fashion, taking all the most prominent aspects of the original wartime adventures and adding a more human dimension to the pilots themselves. The series lasted for 23 issues and appeared to be relatively successful despite its lack of promotion. On his blog, Evanier claimed that, "Our run on Blackhawk caused some tumult in the DC halls because most everyone had predicted a quick flop of a book that was only being revived for licensing reasons. It didn't sell well but it sold above all projections and garnered a lot of in-house fans.

(The biggest problem was that DC couldn't sell reprint rights to their biggest overseas customer. For some reason, Germany didn't want a comic book that was all about killing Germans.)" Evanier and Spiegle had some history of working together prior to this. Though both were passionate about war comics, they had produced Scooby Doo... Mystery Comics (long before DC published Scooby), at Gold Key.

After Blackhawk, they moved on to Crossfire for Eclipse. Spiegle graduated from Los Angeles's Chouinard Art Institute and quickly found gig drawing the "Hopalong Cassidy" newspaper strip, then the Maverick comic for Dell/Western Publishing in the 1950s. When Western became Gold Key, the publisher shifted to funny animal and Dan was put on Scooby. Evanier's career included a lot of TV writing, like 1975's "Welcome Back, Kotter" and countless cartoons—even "Plastic Man"! Evanier wrote often in the letters columns about the decisions affecting the series, and the frequent changes in editors (Len Wein lasted one issue, then Marv Wolfman and Ernie Colon for a handful each, finally Evanier himself). Even though this revival of Blackhawk did not begin with issue #1, it was created as a "clean slate," and was not intended to be in continuity with previous Blackhawk eras. They considered this version to be the Earth-One version of Blackhawk, still based heavily on the Quality Comics adventures.

Evanier said in the letters column of issue #257, "The Blackhawk's adventures in this comic are the first-ever exploits of the Blackhawks of Earth-1 and all previous Blackhawk stories took place on Earth-2 or Earth-X (which took place on which, I don't even want to begin to think about). The reason Marv [Wolfman] and I opted for Earth-1 is that, we felt if we chose any other, it would be difficult to do the book and still make it comprehensible to those who don't have the first 259 issues. I don't even have the first 249 issues, though I have a lot of them." He acknowledged that there was still a continuity problem with the (Earth-1) Justice League's appearance in Blackhawk #228 (Jan. 1967). He concluded by saying, "I think you'll find yourself enjoying a number of issues that couldn't have been done if we had to adhere to the constraints of the 'Mythos' of Earth-2 or Earth-X." 

The freedom allowed for a great sense of continuity within the series, made possible mostly through the establishment of a core group of adversaries and some very distinct personality traits for the Blackhawk members. The squad’s primary adversary was Adolf Hitler himself. Many adventures took place in Germany and the Führer appeared in nearly every issue. Hitler also employed an American man, a profiteer and genius inventor named Hugo Merson. Merson was cast as the inventor of the War Wheel and all of the other strange devices that ravaged the continent. And it wouldn’t have been Blackhawk without the femme fatale. In Evanier’s run, Blackhawk’s recurring nemesis was the beautiful Domino, a humble young woman fashioned into an assassin. Naturally, the two found themselves irresistibly attracted to one another. The series opened in 1940, before the United States’ entrance into World War II. To set the tone, Evanier’s first pages introduced Hitler and briefly described his rise to power. The series read rather like a serial, with plot threads continuing over many months, but not to the detriment of the individual installments.

The team's origins were familiar, and recounted in the first issue: Blackhawk was Bart Hawk (this, a name borrowed from earlier DC appearances and first mentioned in Blackhawk #260) a flier from the Polish Reserve who fought the German invasion in 1939, during which time he lost friends and family. After painting his plane black, he took out 20 German planes but when he landed, hoping to bring the good news to his family, he found his home destroyed. His brother, Jack, died before him. Because of his plane, the Polish people dubbed Bart "Blackhawk." He quickly learned that Captain Ernst Von Tepp (first name in #257) was the commander behind the raid and and began gathering intelligence to find Von Tepp. He also met the second member of the squadron, Stanislaus of Warsaw, whose family was similarly killed. Blackhawk and Stan made successful missions using decoy gliders, and after their successes, they added other members. (Blackhawk #251) In #253, Mark Evanier described the members in more detail, saying he was attempting to cross-pollinate the older versions, mixing some of the crazy original Nazi machines and forgotten lands with modern characterization. Evanier had begun reading comics in 1962 and fell in love with DC's Blackhawk, but always felt their adventures were anachronistic. In delving into their Quality appearances, he discovered he preferred them. The new Blackhawks reported directly to Winston Churchill in London, and were volunteers. The location of their base, Blackhawk Island, was top secret. As in their earliest Quality Comics adventures, their planes in this series were the Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrockets.   

Dan Spiegle (and colorists Carl Gafford and Jo Meugniot) did a better job than even Reed Crandall at distinguishing each squadron member. From Blackhawk #267 (1983). The seven core members all appeared in Blackhawk #251-273, with the exception of Chop-Chop, who appeared in Blackhawk #251-265 & 273. Most issues in the series featured a shorter "Detached Service Diary" that spotlighted one member.   Evanier and Spiegle's Blackhawk: tough, handsome—and sensitive. From Blackhawk #269 (1984). Blackhawk (Bart Hawk), was described as a "Polish American," but his family and history were only depicted in Poland. He was thorough, decisive and dedicated, only wanting to end the war. He actually abhorred killing and would do so only to defend his own life. Two characters called him "Bart," an old friend, Bill Leachman, who tried to collect ransom on Blackhawk's head, (#260) and his love interest, Domino II. (#272)Stanislaus was Blackhawk's loyal friend and second-in-command. Stan was more than a tad jealous of his friend's leadership abilities and suffered from a severe lack of confidence.

When Stan was gifted a model Blackhawk plane in France, he found that it was tracked his location. Back at Blackhawk Island, he was attacked by a giant flying robot. Once he discovered the tracking device, he lured the robot into the mouth of a volcano. (#257) Stanislaus twice went to the Soviet Union, first to save Stalin, and then to confer about their preparedness for war. He found an infiltrator in the camp of Marshal Svineena, who gorged himself while his men went hungry. Stan found the traitor after the Marshal's wolf/guard dropped dead. (#267) Chuck was from Waco, Texas, and originally joined the British R.A.F. He was also an expert mechanic; he could disassemble and reassemble a plane in a flash. He was drawn with a tougher face, and written with a ruder disposition (Evanier didn't like how all the members had grown to look like each other, and more Aryan).

Once when his plane was stolen, he found it in pieces at the local junk dealer, Hocking. Hocking and Chuck were caught by a Nazi commander but Hocking bribed their guard to let them go. Chuck followed the Nazi—who had taken Chuck's Blackhawk engine for his own plane—and was forced to destroy it. (#265) Hendrickson was once again Dutch, as in the original Quality Comics (he was changed to German after the war). From Rotterdam, he was their weapons master and a sharpshooter. Hendrickson was significantly older than the others and often felt underappreciated. Once when he was grounded from a shot in the shoulder, he attended a USO event and took offense the comedy of one Randy Daye. But Daye's skills of observation saved Hendy from a bomb in his plane, planted by Der Morder. (#260) Andre was a former member of the French underground, multlingual, and prone to breaking formation and stunt maneuvers.

While he was a junior officer in the French army, in 1937, Andre met Monique from whom he became inseparable. After joining the Blackhawks, he met her again as part of the resistance, but chose the Blackhawks over her group of fighters. (#260) Andre sometimes returned to France covertly, once to stop the Nazi General Hokar from stealing the people's jewels. Andre reclaimed all the riches and left Hokar at the mercy of his superior, who arrested him for profiteering. (#268) Olaf was a tall Swede, a former circus acrobat. His war career began as an allied courier. His height and accent often made him feel (and appear) like a bumbler, but he was a more than capable fighter. He once returned to his old circus just as the Nazis invaded it. Olaf escaped dressed as a clown and saved an allied courier from the Germans. (#266) In a holiday tale told in rhyming verse, Olaf was forced down in Germany and taken in by a Jewish family. When Nazis appeared, he saved the family, shepherding them through a killer snow storm to place of reprieve. (#268) Wu Cheng, aka Chop-Chop hailed from Manchuria, in China. He was the last and youngest member to join, the team's martial arts master. Evanier gave Chop-Chop a real name, "Wu Cheng" (more below), in a tale where he found a Chinese compound in the Swiss Alps. It was tended by Soong Kai-Sen, a former resistance leader who'd fought the Japanese in Manchuria. When the Japanese were "awarded" the area north of the Great Wall, Chop-Chop and his people relocated to the south. He continued to wander until he found the Blackhawks. Cheng saved Kai-Sen from a ninja assassin who then committed hara kiri. Chop-Chop challenged Kai-Sen to return home and lead their people, but Kai-Sen posed the same challenge to Wu Cheng. (#259) The series opened after the team's formation, but before the United States' entrance into the war. On 11 May 1940, the Blackhawks parachuted into Holland and found the locals unwilling to fight the Germans because the town had been entrusted with Holland's most valuable works of art. They locals intended to grant power to the Nazis in a plebescite, or "free election." There Blackhawk was captured by his arch nemesis, Von Tepp and subjected to sodium pentathol. The others rescued their leader but were confronted by a giant super-tank. At the end of the successful battle, they found that the precious Dutch artworks had not survived. (#251) The second issue featured many classic "Blackhawk" standbys, including Blackhawk Island, Von Tepp, and the War Wheel.

In the story, Von Tepp prepared a new Nazi assassin, Domino, for her assignment—to assassinate Blackhawk. Meanwhile the Blackhawks flew to southern Belgium. In a town that sheltered resistance fighters, the Nazis had unleashed the giant War Wheel, which Blackhawk deduced was the creation of Professor Hugo Merson. After the machine disappeared, they traveled undercover to Beldorf. Domino was waiting for Blackhawk, whom she quickly disabled. Merson was also there, but the Blackhawks mistakenly believed that the scientist was being forced to work for Hitler. They tried to "rescue" him just as the War Wheel made a return appearance. This time they brought it down with a dose of high voltage. The squad attempted to take Merson prisoner but Domino intervened. Most notably, she chose not to kill Blackhawk when she had the chance. (#252)  



== The beautiful and deadly Domino ==

  The beautiful and deadly Domino, from Blackhawk #261 (1983). Art by Dan Spiegle.   The War Wheel's secret is discovered. From Blackhawk #263 (1983). Art by Dan Spiegle. Evanier's Blackhawks were exceedingly (excessively?) human. His Hendrickson was a veteran of two wars. He left his wife, Violet, on 11 September 1939 and never saw her again; she was killed in a German raid. After this, he continued to write letters to Violet. In them, he boasted about how the others respected him and deferred to his experience—when the reality was the complete opposite. When Allied Command's mail censors read Hendrickson's letters, they assumed he was mad and ordered Blackhawk to discharge him. Hendrickson's equal number was the ace German pilot, Hans Konigsberg aka Der Bussard ("the buzzard"). Before they could confront Hendrickson, the Blackhawks discovered that he had located a secret German air base and followed him there. The Dutchman found himself face-to-face with Der Bussard and the two fired on each other, but only Hendrickson survived.

Afterwards, he explained to his fellows that his letters to Violet were therapeutic, like "visiting her grave." (#253) The Blackhawks frequently aided resistance fighters in France. From the water, they managed to take down a U-Boat off the coast near Dieppe. When Adolf Hitler heard of this defeat, he again called upon Domino to humiliate the Blackhawks. Domino was an Austrian clerk whose fiance died in battle. She was trained under the Leipzig Program by Frau Bulle to be the perfect agent—without fear, pain, remorse or compassion. She met Blackhawk again in Berne, capturing him then strapping him to the front of a tank. His friends arrived in time to free him and Domino noticed how they followed Blackhawk because they loved him, not strictly out of a sense of obedience. (#254) Hitler's next plan struck at Blackhawk through his own mind.

After a mission, Blackhawk accepted a necklace offered by Magda, a midget "girl" turned spy. It contained a device that transmitted waves to unnerve him. He was lured to a desert, shot down and forced to bail out. Although he didn't remove the necklace, he overcame the hallucinations just as his comrades found him in the killer sun. (#255) It took him some time to recover. Meanwhile, Stan was in charge. In Czechoslovakia they found a lab where Merson and Von Tepp were ready to unleash new monsters, the failed experiments of the Übermeister (super soldier) project. More successful was Merson's Verdoppelung project, in which he created five "twins" of Hitler from similar looking men. They captured Stanislaus and turned him into an Ubermeister just before their base was destroyed.

(#256) The now-monstrous Stan demonstrated super-strength sufficient to lift a tank. Hitler ordered him to terrorize the Eiffel Tower in Paris but his teammates overpowered and captured him. In Switzerland, other Blackhawks caught up with Merson, who revealed that the monster was actually Stan. When everyone converged in Paris, Blackhawk was forced to shoot Stan just as the others burst in with an antidote. On Blackhawk Island, Blackhawk watched over his friend's recovery. (#257)

Nothing and no one was safe in Evanier's Blackhawk. In this reality, the Germans succeeded in developing their own atomic bomb. Intelligence enabled the Blackhawks to discover the Nazis' lab, and the secret tunnel they used to access it (again using a giant burrower invented by Merson). Himmler was undeterred and ordered a test of the bomb—to be dropped on Blackhawk Island! The Blackhawks barely evacuated in time, to a nearby island. In their haste, they failed to rescue the nurse who'd looked after Stan. (#258) The bomb left the original Blackhawk Island irradiated and quarantined. This radioactivity affected the makeup of an unlikely visitor, one Winslow Shirk. Shirk was a wisp of a man who was inspired by the Blackhawks, but denied U.S. military service. He was determined to join the Blackhawks and traveled to Europe, eventually learning the location of the original Island. When he arrived in his rowboat, he found the signs, but back on land, he discovered that the radiation had made him invisible! He used this ability to tag along with the Blackhawks back to their new island. There he overheard a heart-to-heart conversation between Stan and Blackhawk. Stan confessed his insecurities and Blackhawk revealed some of his own. Shirk then intercepted a message requesting help to guard Churchill. He convinced a mechanic to fly him to England and was in time to prevent the assassination by one of the Hitler "twins." The Blackhawks memorialized this mystery hero with a statue. Winslow's invisibility later wore off but he was a changed man. (#259)  



== The Domino Effect == 

In June 1940, Domino successfully killed several allied officer and turned over their secrets to Hitler. The Blackhawks discovered this when they launched a glider attack on a Nazi ship, which they boarded by sea, and found copies of the top secret allied "Blue Code." When Blackhawk caught up with Domino, he found himself unable to fire on her; still she was captured. In response, Hitler called upon his four remaining "Zwillings" (twins) to kill all the Allied leaders. (#261) The Allies were alerted to this plot when they discovered a movie made by Hitler, claiming that he'd killed these leaders.

It meant to be distributed in the future. Andre and Chuck easily prevented the murder of Charles DeGaulle, and Chop-Chop and Stan saved Josef Stalin, but each Zwilling detonated a suicide bomb in his chest. (Afterwards, Stalin was forced to rethink his non-aggression pact with Germany and prepare for war.) In England, both Churchill and Roosevelt were saved. During the attempts, Domino was set to stand trial, but easily escaped. Both she and Blackhawk were then given explicit orders to kill one another. (#262) Blackhawk found Domino in Marrakech, where both of them were kidnapped by Rasfa, who planned to collect their ransoms. They escaped and Domino prepared to shoot Blackhawk (but not before revealing her real name: Helga). Her gun was without ammunition and just then, the Blackhawks found them and Hendrickson shot Domino dead.

Afterwards, they found that she had bluffed; her gun did have ammo. The squad also took down the War Wheel once and for all. Stan deduced its trick: it was airlifted by zeppelins into fake cloud cover. They shot it down and trapped it in quicksand. (#263) Another frequent Quality-era plot device was the "land that time forgot." Evanier and Spielge recreated that magic in a tale that followed Blackhawk after the Nazi, Der Morder, through snowy mountains. Both of them happened upon a secluded land that was untouched by time and sheltered from the ravages of the wintry peaks. Blackhawk arrived second, and was greeted by Rafsu, an elder who used mental powers to disassemble Blackhawk's gun and render him unconscious. The city was established in the time of Charlemagne by 100 people, and was occasionally infused with new citizens who found it and chose to stay. Those who lived there gained immortality and they believed in non-violence. Both outsiders were ordered to undergo a test, to touch a ruby that would strike them dead if they were dishonest. Der Morder chose not to touch it at all, which exposed him as dishonest. You see, anyone who touched it would emerge with red dye on his hands. Cornered, Der Morder took Rafsu as a hostage and caused the old man to age significantly. Blackhawk saved Rafsu but both were ordered to leave. (#264)  Chop Chop's first move toward "respectability" came at Quality, in the solo feature from Blackhawk #95 (Dec. 1955); art by Paul Gustavson.   Chop-Chop loses his nickname forever, now officer Wu Cheng. From Blackhawk #265. Art by Dan Spiegle.  


== The Graduation of Chop-Chop ==


 Chop-Chop might never have become a focal point of this series if Mark Evanier had never learned of an editorial in the Richmond, Virginia, Times Dispatch (Feb. 6, 1983). In it, the writer bemoaned the change of Chop-Chop from his original "funny" Quality characterization and appearance. Evanier was horrified and spent the entire letters column in issue #263 to address it. He also followed up to defend his own ire in issue #267. The editorial hastened Chop-Chop's transformation... For a time, Chop Chop had begun acting strangely. In one mission of "detached service," he heard of the Japanese using a super-weapon against China, and he returned home to find Americans selling arms to the Japanese. The Japanese double-crossed their supplier and agent and attacked she and Chop-Chop with a giant robot. He took it down with the American's grenades, but the sales agent was still unphased by the implications of selling to the Japanese. (#264) He wasn't the same after his return, and the Blackhawks began noticing that Chop-Chop was behaving unusually. He began complaining about tasks such as radio detail and other miscellaneous duties. After a mission to Dalli, France, a little girl asked Chuck why Chop-Chop wore a different uniform, to which Chuck has no reply. Chuck put the question to Chop-Chop himself, to which he replied, "I don't know, Chuck. Why don't I wear a Blackhawk uniform like the rest of you? Maybe I'm not a full-fledged pilot like the rest of you." To exacerbate the matter, a man at a local tavern drew portraits of the men and rendered Chop-Chop in an offensive, stereotypically cartoony manner (the picture looked the same as the original Quality Comics Chop Chop).

The Blackhawks threw him out the window for his insensitivity. Their next mission was dangerous and called the lightest among them. Chop-Chop volunteered and faced Merson's newest threat—bomber bats. He succeeded in dropping an engine attached to a parachute from the glider. It drew the bats' attention and they destroyed Merson's lab by following the engine to the ground. Back home at Blackhawk Island, Chop Chop finally went to Blackhawk with his primary concern: sure he was bothered by being treated like less of a member, but what really bothered him was knowing that his people needed him in China. Blackhawk was ready with a different response; he offered Chop-Chop his own official Blackhawk uniform. After putting it on, Wu Cheng officially requested a leave of absence. (#265) In the letters for issue #268, Evanier said, "I've had to ignore most of what's in the old books, apart from the characters and the spirit. So Wu Cheng is a new name one I obtained from an expert on Chinese history with whom I spoke, when I was writing for That's Incredible! some time back." 



== The Eighth Blackhawk: Lt. Gaynor ==     The cold-hearted Lt. Gaynor, from Blackhawk #266 (1984). Art by Dan Spiegle. Lt. Theodore R. Gaynor was Chop-Chop's replacement. He was born in 1912, in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin and graduated top of his class at West Point. He was recommended for OCS by congressional commission, appointed special attaché, USMC, in 1936. His activities from 1937-39 were classified and unavailable. In May 1940, he joined a special unit of the British Intelligence that answered to Winston Churchill. Churchill then recommended Gaynor to the Blackhawk squadron. Gaynor was a staunch military man with black-and-white views, and from the start, he judged the loosely run Blackhawks to be lacking in discipline. Chuck soon caught a glimpse into Gaynor's psyche. In Port Celtan, Gaynor killed a defenseless German soldier who was already unconscious. Chuck brought the matter to Blackhawk, who was sure there must have been a good reason. Meanwhile, the Germans used Merson's biotechnology to turn Walther Schoener into a Blackhawk look-alike. Blackhawk quickly began to realize that he had a doppelganger running around, and trailed Schoener's trail leads to Merson's new lab. Schoener escaped and managed to kidnap Churchill, but Gaynor was quick to shoot on Schoener, killing him. To their surprise, afterward Churchill offered Merson a job!

(#266)   Blackhawk meets the Führer, as "Schoener." Blackhawk #267 (1984). Schoener's death was kept hush and Blackhawk capitalized on it. He impersonated his impersonator and infiltrated Berlin itself! Just before entering the lion's den, Blackhawk met a comely bar maid named Helga, who reminded him of Domino. The two shared the beginnings of a real romance before Blackhawk gained an audience with Hitler himself. He actually agonized over killing Hitler (in fact the entire issue was a morality play about the way in which people regard their enemies). At a public function, Blackhawk seized the gun of a guard and fired on Hitler—but it was unloaded! (#267) On his way out of Germany, Blackhawk stopped to see Helga once again, but afterwards, she was approached by Frau Bulle for service to Hitler. Hitler also unleashed his newest super soldier, General Haifisch, aka the Killer Shark, on La Resistance. The Hawks were already chafing at Gaynor's overbearing nature. He even took control in Blackhawk's absence, cowing Stan and reprimanding Olaf for having mud on his uniform. In the renamed town of La Resistance, France, the men rounded up Nazis and left Gaynor to wait for allied troops; he kills the prisoners in their cage instead. Chuck found evidence of Gaynor's crime just as the Blackhawks were captured by the Killer Shark. (#269) By the time Blackhawk made it to the safety of Spain (in a coffin), he learned of his unit's plight and went to confront the Shark in La Resistance.

Blackhawk managed to slug the Shark into the water just as British backup arrived. (#270) The Shark survived but did not reappear during the series' run. The series' final tales borrowed more from the Blackhawk mythos from Quality Comics, like the reintroduction of the Killer Shark. Issue #268 introduced a lady reporter, Virginia Mueller of the New Liberty Magazine. This fearless lady was escorted to Geneva, where she compromised the Blackhawks' safety by letting her agenda slip at the hotel; they narrowly escaped a bombing. (#268) Note: This story was told "out-of-order."   Splash from Blackhawk #271 (1984). Gaynor's tenure as a Blackhawk was brief. In Italy, the men met a soldier who knew Gaynor from adolescence. This man, the English Lt. Cooper, attended the same military academy as Gaynor. Gaynor falsely accused Cooper of cheating and the boy was ostracized by the other boys until he left the academy.

In Kraait, Merson's metal worm machine returned and Blackhawk finally noticed Gaynor's penchant for barking orders. After its defeat, the men found that Gaynor had killed defenseless civilians. As Gaynor raved about killing Germans, the others turned their backs. Gaynor refused to quit, but he was abandoned. Churchill refused to readmit Gaynor to British intelligence and he was forced into freelance work. In July 1942, his body was found among the casualties of the siege of Sevastopol. (#271) In the next issue, Evanier said Gaynor was inspired by people he'd met—some in television—"counterproductively intense about strange definitions of propriety. … Some of the most insecure, terrified people I've ever met were those who created the hardest shells around themselves."   Helga, Domino II is indoctrinated, from Blackhawk #272


== ---- (1984).  ==


Blackhawk's love, Helga, returned as Domino II. In Berlin, she was noticed by Hitler and transformed by Frau Bulle as Domino had been before her. After months of training, she was tasked with killing Blackhawk. She began by attacking Andre in Algiers, which drew the others. He forced her to surrender by explaining that it was he (as "Schoener") who she'd fallen for before. She was taken prisoner. (#272) Chop-Chop returned to active duty in the last issue of the series. When Cheng returned to China, he sought his elders, who saw no way to fight the Japanese. Cheng's plane was destroyed but he led a successful attack on an enemy base with just his guile and martial arts skills. The Blackhawks received a call from Mali, Cheng's lady friend, and came to his aid, finding Manchuria devastated by the Japanese. They were using a Merson-like fire breathing mechanical dragon, which they followed back to the enemy base. Reunited with his mates, Chop-Chop led the dragon into an explosives shed. They asked him to return with them, and after discussing with Mali, he agreed.

They reasoned that the Blackhawks were the inspiration to many, and they should be at full strength. (#273) The book came to an end when Mark Evanier decided to leave it. Spiegle followed him out the door. After that, Evanier was informed that were canceling the book. Bill Dubay and Carmine Infantino had allegedly already begun on #274, and that work was perhaps to be reborn as a Blackhawk mini-series, which never happened. Blackhawk didn't return to DC until 1988, when Howard Chaykin reinvented them for the post-Crisis universe. 



Notes 1980's  Edit

The Carmine Infantino/William Dubay Blackhawk MiniseriesEdit

Back in 1984, when the Blackhawk series produced by Mark Evanier and Dan Speigle was cancelled, DC apparently decided to take one more swing at the title. Carmine Infantino and William Dubay produced a Blackhawk mini-series. Unfortunately, DC decided not to publish the mini-series. It has been "lost" since then, something Blackhawk fans would dearly love to see, but weren't sure still existed, if it ever had. It is real and it does exist. Bill Dubay contacted me and confirmed that it did exist and that he still has a copy of Infantino's art and his original script. He even offered to provide copies for display here but, due to the press of his business, has not been able to do so, yet. In the meantime, Infantino's agent is currently offering three pages of the original artwork for sale (click here for the sale page), so we can, at least, see some samples of how this story looked.

The letters column of issue #260 contains a priceless interview with Blackhawk co-creator Will Eisner, by Cat Yronwode. I have transcribed it, and you can read it at the Quality Companion Companion! In issue #271, Evanier revealed that he and Marv Wolfman had tried to get Will Eisner to draw something for the book, but Eisner suggested the interview instead. « During this series' run, Blackhawk, the novel was published by Warner Books, written by William Rotsler. It reputedly had had poor distribution and is somewhat rare. Evanier mentions a lunch with Dick Giordano where Blackhawk's unexpected success is a topic. The cover below (by future Blackhawk scribe Howard Chaykin) was originally drawn with Von Tepp as the villain. Mark Evanier explained that it was never used but then repurposed with Hitler drawn in instead. However, the printed cover (left) had miscolored Hitler's arm, so it looks like Blackhawk has a gun to his own head. I recolored it so you could see its true intent (right).   Dan Spiegle himself was the inspiration for a character in issue #272, a soldier who painted ladies onto planes. When a Nazi prisoner turned the tables on Hendrickson and took them both hostage, the painter thought quickly and scribbled a warning on the plane. When they landed in London, soldiers were ready to disarm the assassin. Sometime after the cancellation, DC employed writer Bill DuBay and artist Carmine Infantino to produce a Blackhawk mini-series. Though never published, numerous finished pages exist.[10]


--Sincerely yours-Upward Onward Maveric MAVERIC LIONS ENTERTAINMENT GROUP Maveric Lion Productions (c)TM-2010.all right reserved Maveric Lion Productions presents. 01:05, January 3, 2014 (UTC)==Dave Cockrum Gallery: Blackhawk's Winter Topcoat==


Dave sent a: "back-of-the-page drawing of Blackhawk in a winter greatcoat. I saw a photo somewhere of a Nazi general wearing one, and I thought, "Hey! What do the Blackhawks wear in cold weather?" (Answer: They freeze their butts off in their basic uniforms.)"

Dave Cockrum Gallery: Future BlackhawkEdit

Dave said: "This is a character drawing I did intending to propose it to DC, sort of replacing my original 'Skyhawk' concept. It's a solo superhero called Blackhawk, wearing two-tone blue costume with yellow trim and a modification of Chaykin's hawk insignia on his chest. I never submitted it to DC.

Click on the image to see a larger version (about 43 KB). 

Dave Cockrum Gallery: SkyhawkEdit

Dave sent:

"Many years ago I came up with a character, Skyhawk. He wears a red-and-white outfit inspired to some degree by the Japanese anime series Gatchaman. He flies a stylized hawk-shaped aircraft somewhat inspired by the 'god-bird' configuration of Raideen from the anime series of the same name.

My original notion was to tie it loosely into the Blackhawk mythos. One issue of Blackhawk (issue #180) had a story about Blackhawk's 'son'. The kid wasn't, if I recall, but Blackhawk sort of took him under his wing anyway. My proposal--and it was pitched to DC at a time when Blackhawk wasn't being published--was that Blackhawk had helped support this kid, had put him through college, and then the Blackhawks had disappeared.

The kid, working with an eccentric, reclusive, but brilliant scientist named Dr. Vodor, designed and built the Hawk and created the Skyhawk identity so that he could go looking for the Blackhawks. Naturally, he would wind up getting into a lot of superhero adventures along the way.

As frequently happened, nobody at DC was interested. I've since revamped Skyhawk and given him a different origin and background."

Marvel Fanfare No.s 16 and 17: Sky-wolfEdit

Sep & Oct 1984.

Marv Wolfman, writer; Dave Cockrum, penciler; Joe Sinnot, inker; Andy Yanchus, colorist/letterer; Al Milgrom, editor; Jim Shooter, chief.

A two issue experiment by Marvel Comics. Set during World War II, like Blackhawk, the Sky-wolves were four men who flew modified, jet-powered F5U Flying Flapjacks. The leader was Skyler Wolf (Sky-wolf), a hot test pilot and natural leader. On his team were: Sidney E. Levine (The Gaff), a brilliant scientist who also created Hollywood special effects; Jesse Johns (Littlejohn), an escape artist; and Matt Slade III, son of wealthy industrialist Matt Slade, Jr., who funded and equipped the team. Of course, they were all excellent pilots in addition to their other skills.

In both name and composition, this team was obviously meant to recreate the original Skywolf. However, as that title owed it's lineage to Blackhawk, this one did too.

Both Marv Wolfman and Dave Cockrum had previously worked on Blackhawk, and they created a very workable and enjoyable story in these two issues. There was plenty of action and the kind of fantastic machines we would expect to see in Blackhawk as well. My only quibble is that the supporting characters were developed in more depth than the title character, Sky-wolf. Still, I would have been pleased to have seen more stories in this series, but these two are it.

Dave Cockrum's Sky-wolfEdit

[1]

Dave Cockrum painted this picture of the Sky-wolves' modified F5U's as a private commision.

CLICK HERE to see a painting of the Sky-wolves' F5U Flying Flapjacks, by Dave Cockrum. Click on the image to see a larger version (about 105 KB).  =='----

SkywolfEdit

This is the picture of Skywolf that appeared 

on the first cover of Air Fighters Comics.

The cover of Sky Wolf #1, Eclipse Comics, March 1988.

In November 1942, Hillman Periodicals put a new comic on the newstands. Air Fighters Comics lead feature was Airboy, but second on the roster was "The Prowling Skywolf." Skywolf wore a white wolf's head like a cowl as his distinguishing emblem. He headed a team of three other flyers: "Cocky Roche, tough little cockney with a quick wit and sharp tongue"; "The Judge, an Englishman rejected by the R.A.F. because of his age...but he can still fly rings around most pilots"; and "The Turtle, brave Pole whose tongue was cut out by the Nazis." They flew strange, impractical looking "semi-planes" that split into two separate aircraft when fighting was required.

As Jim Steranko says in his History of Comics, Vol. 2, "Skywolf was Hillman's answer to Blackhawk. Both took their names from creatures of the animal world. One used the swift, sharp-eyed feathered hunter of the skies, the other, a four-footed predator of the forest. Both flying heroes displayed their symbols prominently, as part of their outfits."

Skywolf made his final flight as a Hillman character in January 1947. The Heap, created as a supporting character in Sky Wolf, outlasted its parent strip and went on to have a distinguished career of its own.

In the 1980's, Eclipse Comics acquired the rights to the Hillman titles and brought back Airboy in his own comic. Skywolf was a continuing character in Airboy . His resemblance to Blackhawk was no longer evident, since his team-mates had all died during WW II. Skywolf was older and had traded his wolf's head cowl for a leather mask and a red wolf's head emblem on his chest. Instead of the unaerodynamic semi-planes, he flew a AH-64 Apache helicopter. He was spun off into his own three book miniseries, for which the cover of issue #1 is shown here. The miniseries was set before the Airboy series, during the French war in Viet Nam. 


 '== Post-Crisis Blackhawks Created by Howard Chaykin == == 'Edit

In 1988, a three-issue mini-series by Howard Chaykin re-imagined the team during World War II yet again, this time with a notably more adult and gritty take on the characters. Chaykin, for the most part, eschewed the team dynamic so familiar to Blackhawk readers, instead crafting a politically-charged espionage thriller that focused prominently on Blackhawk and a new version of Lady Blackhawk. Post-war stories respecting Chaykin's continuity followed in Action Comics Weekly #601–608, #615–622, and #628–635, as well as in a monthly series that restarted with an issue #1 and ran 16 issues from March, 1989, to August, 1990.[11]

In 1992, DC Comics published Blackhawk Special #1.Edit

Still respecting Chaykin's continuity and set 10 years after the events of Blackhawk #16, the story spans a five year period as Blackhawk seeks to avenge the death of team member André.Blackhawk’s identity as a Polish man was very short-lived in Quality Comics, but Howard Chaykin's redefinition of his origin at DC returned him to the roots set down by Military Comics #1 in 1941. Chaykin's groundwork was laid in the character’s first post-Crisis appearances, in the 1988 prestige format mini-series by Howard Chaykin, and in Secret Origins #45 (Oct. 1989).

Book One: Blood and IronEdit

1987

Howard Chaykin, Steve Oliff and Ken Bruzenak

Late in World War II; Janos Prohaska is a Polish pilot who at the beginning of the war formed an air commando unit known as the Blackhawks, and used the name Blackhawk for himself. Now he has been called before a Senate committee investigating Communits. It seems Prohaska was a member of the Communist Party during the Spanish Civil War and flew with the Bill Heywood Squadron. But he was kicked out of the Party by Stalin as a Trotskyite. Prohaska is a hard-drinking, woman-chasing man who doesn't take anything from anyone. He comes off a two week drinking binge to find that his team has moved on without him, making a deal to be sponsored by British and the Soviets to counter a Nazi air commando unit made up of expatriate White Russians led by Sir Death Mayhew. Mayhew is a British actor who has allied himself with Hitler.

Meanwhile, a Jewish-American gangster named Bronski has hijacked a top-secret shipment. Reba MacMahon, the woman with whom Prohaska spent some of his missing two weeks, is making a deal with Bronski for the stolen item. Prokaska flies to Tehran where he meets a female Soviet agent. Mayhew shows up and kills Bronski. MacMahon is his agent. Prohaska breaks in and there is a fight, but Mayhew and MacMahon escape without the stolen item, which of course is an atomic bomb. The Soviet agent, Natalia Gurdin, and Prohaska give chase in a Soviet built copy of the Grumman F5F-1 Skyrocket. One of Bronski's hirelings has sold Bronski's American luxury car to the captain of a tramp freighter. The bomb is in the car's trunk.



Dave Cockrum Gallery: Future BlackhawkEdit

Dave said: "This is a character drawing I did intending to propose it to DC, sort of replacing my original 'Skyhawk' concept. It's a solo superhero called Blackhawk, wearing two-tone blue costume with yellow trim and a modification of Chaykin's hawk insignia on his chest. I never submitted it to DC.

Click on the image to see a larger version (about 43 KB).



Dave Cockrum Gallery: SkyhawkEdit

Dave sent:

"Many years ago I came up with a character, Skyhawk. He wears a red-and-white outfit inspired to some degree by the Japanese anime series Gatchaman. He flies a stylized hawk-shaped aircraft somewhat inspired by the 'god-bird' configuration of Raideen from the anime series of the same name.

My original notion was to tie it loosely into the Blackhawk mythos. One issue of Blackhawk (issue #180) had a story about Blackhawk's 'son'. The kid wasn't, if I recall, but Blackhawk sort of took him under his wing anyway. My proposal--and it was pitched to DC at a time when Blackhawk wasn't being published--was that Blackhawk had helped support this kid, had put him through college, and then the Blackhawks had disappeared.

The kid, working with an eccentric, reclusive, but brilliant scientist named Dr. Vodor, designed and built the Hawk and created the Skyhawk identity so that he could go looking for the Blackhawks. Naturally, he would wind up getting into a lot of superhero adventures along the way.

As frequently happened, nobody at DC was interested. I've since revamped Skyhawk and given him a different origin and background."

Click on the image to see a larger version (about 105 KB). 

The Carmine Infantino/William Dubay Blackhawk MiniseriesEdit

Back in 1984, when the Blackhawk series produced by Mark Evanier and Dan Speigle was cancelled, DC apparently decided to take one more swing at the title. Carmine Infantino and William Dubay produced a Blackhawk mini-series. Unfortunately, DC decided not to publish the mini-series. It has been "lost" since then, something Blackhawk fans would dearly love to see, but weren't sure still existed, if it ever had. It is real and it does exist. Bill Dubay contacted me and confirmed that it did exist and that he still has a copy of Infantino's art and his original script. He even offered to provide copies for display here but, due to the press of his business, has not been able to do so, yet. In the meantime, Infantino's agent is currently offering three pages of the original artwork for sale (click here for the sale page), so we can, at least, see some samples of how this story looked.

The letters column of issue #260 contains a priceless interview with Blackhawk co-creator Will Eisner, by Cat Yronwode. I have transcribed it, and you can read it at the Quality Companion Companion! In issue #271, Evanier revealed that he and Marv Wolfman had tried to get Will Eisner to draw something for the book, but Eisner suggested the interview instead. « During this series' run, Blackhawk, the novel was published by Warner Books, written by William Rotsler. It reputedly had had poor distribution and is somewhat rare. Evanier mentions a lunch with Dick Giordano where Blackhawk's unexpected success is a topic. The cover below (by future Blackhawk scribe Howard Chaykin) was originally drawn with Von Tepp as the villain. Mark Evanier explained that it was never used but then repurposed with Hitler drawn in instead. However, the printed cover (left) had miscolored Hitler's arm, so it looks like Blackhawk has a gun to his own head. I recolored it so you could see its true intent (right).  

Dan Spiegle himself was the inspiration for a character in issue #272, a soldier who painted ladies onto planes. When a Nazi prisoner turned the tables on Hendrickson and took them both hostage, the painter thought quickly and scribbled a warning on the plane. When they landed in London, soldiers were ready to disarm the assassin. Sometime after the cancellation, DC employed writer Bill DuBay and artist Carmine Infantino to produce a Blackhawk mini-series. Though never published, numerous finished pages exist.[12] =='----

 '== Post-Crisis Blackhawks Created by Howard Chaykin == == 'Edit

In 1988, a three-issue mini-series by Howard Chaykin re-imagined the team during World War II yet again, this time with a notably more adult and gritty take on the characters. Chaykin, for the most part, eschewed the team dynamic so familiar to Blackhawk readers, instead crafting a politically-charged espionage thriller that focused prominently on Blackhawk and a new version of Lady Blackhawk. Post-war stories respecting Chaykin's continuity followed in Action Comics Weekly #601–608, #615–622, and #628–635, as well as in a monthly series that restarted with an issue #1 and ran 16 issues from March, 1989, to August, 1990.[11]

In 1992, DC Comics published Blackhawk Special #1.Edit

Still respecting Chaykin's continuity and set 10 years after the events of Blackhawk #16, the story spans a five year period as Blackhawk seeks to avenge the death of team member André.Blackhawk’s identity as a Polish man was very short-lived in Quality Comics, but Howard Chaykin's redefinition of his origin at DC returned him to the roots set down by Military Comics #1 in 1941. Chaykin's groundwork was laid in the character’s first post-Crisis appearances, in the 1988 prestige format mini-series by Howard Chaykin, and in Secret Origins #45 (Oct. 1989).


== ---- ==Book One: Blood and Iron== ==


1987

Howard Chaykin, Steve Oliff and Ken Bruzenak

Late in World War II; Janos Prohaska is a Polish pilot who at the beginning of the war formed an air commando unit known as the Blackhawks, and used the name Blackhawk for himself. Now he has been called before a Senate committee investigating Communits. It seems Prohaska was a member of the Communist Party during the Spanish Civil War and flew with the Bill Heywood Squadron. But he was kicked out of the Party by Stalin as a Trotskyite. Prohaska is a hard-drinking, woman-chasing man who doesn't take anything from anyone. He comes off a two week drinking binge to find that his team has moved on without him, making a deal to be sponsored by British and the Soviets to counter a Nazi air commando unit made up of expatriate White Russians led by Sir Death Mayhew. Mayhew is a British actor who has allied himself with Hitler.

Meanwhile, a Jewish-American gangster named Bronski has hijacked a top-secret shipment. Reba MacMahon, the woman with whom Prohaska spent some of his missing two weeks, is making a deal with Bronski for the stolen item. Prokaska flies to Tehran where he meets a female Soviet agent. Mayhew shows up and kills Bronski. MacMahon is his agent. Prohaska breaks in and there is a fight, but Mayhew and MacMahon escape without the stolen item, which of course is an atomic bomb. The Soviet agent, Natalia Gurdin, and Prohaska give chase in a Soviet built copy of the Grumman F5F-1 Skyrocket. One of Bronski's hirelings has sold Bronski's American luxury car to the captain of a tramp freighter. The bomb is in the car's trunk.


== -


---

Book Two: Red Snow == Edit

1987 Howard Chaykin, Steve Oliff and Ken Bruzenak

The story opens with a U-Boat captain dickering with the tramp steamer's captain for Bronski's car. In Germany, Blackhawk, Chuck and Chop Chop, in Luftwaffe uniforms, steal three Stukas and use them to drop propaganda leaflets. Reba MacMahon is making a deal with Senator Hightower, chairman of the anti-communist committee that had called Prohaska before it. And Sir Death Mayhew learns he has, at most, a month to live.

The U-Boat captain is killed while driving his new car off the ship by Reba and some French resistance fighters. She takes the car. Meanwhile, Janos Prohaska and Natalie Reed (no longer Natalia Gurdin) are arguing and getting interested in each other. We learn that he is an electronics genius who has built a television system for the Soviets and she is an aeronautical genius who was responsible for the complete redesign and improvement of the Soviet F5F-1. The Blackhawks finally appear as a team, making a show of their American patriotism, just in time to fly the Soviet built Skyrockets against a German fleet of Condor bombers sent to destroy the aircraft factory. The bombing raid is a cover for Mayhew's White Lions to kill the Blackhawks, but they are too late and barely escape with many wounded.

I found the plot too convoluted and murky to be very satisfying, even considering that it is the middle chapter of a three chapter story. The art was generally very good, with some great renditions of the German Signal magazine, but not as tight as Blood and Iron, especially in the drawing of the faces.

The cover for this issue says something in Cyrillic (the Russian alphabet). I have to admit a surprising lack of curiosity about what it says, but Dave Sikula was not so sanquine. He went to the effort of translating it, not an easy task since it apparently contains several typographical errors. Here's what he says, "So, to bring a too-long story to an end, my transation for the cover copy is 'Follow Blackhawk's example. Produce for the front.' I'm sure it comes from a wartime Soviet poster (it has that Socialist Realist look), but have been unable to locate the source."


It is difficult to reconcile the new history with the original Quality adventures; as with most DC characters, these series should be considered "post-Crisis" continuity for the Blackhawks. Chaykin built on the characterization begun by Evanier, but revised the names, personalities, countries of origin, and fates of the cast members. The inaugural mini-series took place during the war, but everything after that was post-war.     

The lady is a Blackhawk—for real this time! Natalie Reed was a major addition to Chaykin's Blackhawk. She and Janos Prohaska were never intimate but cared deeply for one another. Top image from Blackhawk v.2 #2; bottom from #3 (1988). Art by Howard Chaykin.   Weng Chan reacts (bottom) to Natalie's altered comic book representation of him (top). From Blackhawk v.3 #1 (1989). Art by Rick Burchett. Janos Prohaska was born on 31 October 1912 in Krakow, Poland, a country in turmoil. During his young life he experienced ravages of Poland’s war with Russia in 1919. The horrible depression that followed led his father to take his own life, and his mother died of shock in 1929.


== 'Book Three: Iron Dreams and Bloody Murder == '

(This is what the title page says. As shown below, the cover is titled Blackout.)

1987

Howard Chaykin, Steve Oliff and Ken Bruzenak

The story opens with a trio of Mayhew's White Lions stealing a truck, whose only cargo is a crate confiscated from the resistance, from the Nazi SS. Back in New York, Janos and Natalie are commiserating over his fall from hero status. Senator Hightower is still publicly accussing Blackhawk of being a Communist while secrety meeting Sir Death Mayhew.

The White Lions load the stolen atomic bomb on to the "New York bomber," which seems to be two He 111's stuck together with an over-sized fuselage in the middle. The Germans actually built a plane that used two He 111 bombers joined by a common wing that mounted a fifth engine (in addition to the two each supplied by the bombers). It was designated the He 111Z and was used for towing the Me 321 Gigant glider. I doubt if it could have flown from Germany to New York and Chaykin's "New York bomber" certainly doesn't look capable of the job. Also, when the White Lions remove the crate containing the atomic bomb from the truck, it is about three feet long by one and a half wide, and can easily be lifted by one man. The Fat Man atomic bomb was huge and weighed several tons. A B-29 Superfortress had it's bomb bay modified to carry it. The first bomb, the Little Boy, was small only in comparison to the second. True, we have suitcase nuclear devices now, but they certainly didn't have them in 1945.

Reba MacMahon, who has been abused by Mayhew, goes to Prohaska and tells him that the bomber is coming and Mayhew is lighting the Empire State Building as a beacon for it. Natalie flies a autogyro to drop Prohaska on the top of the Empire State Building, where he fights Mayhew to the death. Prohaska sends the radio signal that detonates the atomic bomb while the bomber is still out over the sea. Blackhawk is a hero again.

Although I may not care much for Chaykin as a writer, there can be no arguing with his talent as an artist. The cover for this issue has always been one of my favorites. I recently learned the story behind the cover.

Young “Jan” was left with his younger siblings, Józek and Staszka, whom he put in the care of his aunt when joined the Polish Air Force. There he met his good friends Stanislaus Drozdowski and Kazimierc “Zeg” Zegota-Januszajtis. They gained skills in hand-to-hand combat, marksmanship and aviation. By 1936 they were national heroes. When the political climate in Poland grew sour, the young men went into freelance service, which took them abroad. They served in the Spanish Civil War and traveled aimlessly for a while. (Secret Origins #45) During this time, Janos went to America with a flying circus in hopes of finding funding for a European resistance group. Instead he was framed for a series of murders. He was ultimately exonerated thanks to the efforts of the Sandman and he returned to Poland. A few days later, Wes Dodds (the Sandman) and Dian Belmont received a false report that he has been shot down and killed by Nazi fighters in the Mediterranean. (Sandman Mystery Theatre #45-48) On 1 September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and Prohaska returned in defense of his home. He was unable to prevent the Nazis from killing his remaining family. Jan and the others fled to Britain where Churchill sponsored the formation of a multinational group of aviators he dubbed the Blackhawks.

This original group included: American brawler Capt. Carlos “Chuck” Sirianni (liaison to the American O.S.S.)Danish acrobat Capt. Olaf Friedricksenthe elder, Dutchman Capt. Ritter Hendricksenladies’ man Capt. André Blanc-Dumontand young Chinese-American martial artist Lt. Weng Chan (a change from Evanier's "Wu Cheng”' the nd his nickname “Chop-Chop” was clearly represented as pejorative)Boris Zinoviev, Ian Holcomb-Baker, and Zeg died during the earliest days of the group. (Secret Origins #45)In March of 1942, the Blackhawks shared an adventure with the All-Star Squadron against the wizard Wotan in England. (All-Star Squadron #48-49) In the midst of the war, Blackhawk lost his best friend, Stanislaus, who died when the team was ambushed by a rival squadron. This Nazi band of flyers called the White Lions was led by Death Mayhew, a British man with sympathies to Tsarist Russia who defected to the Nazis. (Blackhawk v.2 #2) After this, the team was joined by Captain Natalie Reed (née Gurdin, a.k.a Lady Blackhawk), a Russian-American (and former member of the Communist party). A brilliant flight engineer, Reed redesigned the Blackhawks’ aircraft. (Blackhawk v.2 #2–3) Reed served with the Blackhawks throughout the war and eventually renounced her membership in the Communist party. Natalie somewhat harkens to the character of Sugar, from Military Comics #20 (1943). In fact several women during the Quality Comics era "threatened" to join the squadron, but not until Zinda Blake (in the DC era) was there ever a true Lady Blackhawk. There were also other rival bands of aviators during the Quality era. The Red Raiders were ostensibly Russian (Blackhawk #40), Fiendish the Raider (Modern #66), and Captain Suicide. (Blackhawk #24) Three story arcs in Action Comics Weekly by Martin Pasko and Rick Burchett soon followed Chaykin's limited series, resuming Blackhawk's adventures in 1947.

After the war, the Blackhawks had all gone their separate ways. Jan found himself in the new nation of Vietnam, where he was approaced by Cynthia Hastings with a proposition to retrieve lost gold stolen by the Japanese in Indochina. The last anyone knew, it had fallen into the hands of a Chinese crime lord known as the Red Dragon. Hastings hoped to offer the Dragon their services to get the gold out of the country, and then hijack it. Jan agreed to the plan and took a cargo plane and enough whiskey to tempt the Dragon. Before leaving, he also wrote a letter to André, asking him to join the mission covertly. Jan faked engine trouble to land on the Dragon’s air strip and they were taken captive. They were suprised to learn the Dragon was a woman, Sheah Chun Ryan, and she agreed to their proposal, but insisted that Hastings must remain behind as insurance. Cynthia soon revealed that she was actually a Catholic nun searching for a stolen statue among the Dragon’s treasures. A lightning strike allowed she and Jan to escape with her statue. André, joined by Chuck, swooped in to save the day, and the Red Dragon’s plane was shot down. (Action Comics #601-608) Quality's Blackhawk once featured a similar Chinese bandit/warlord, Lo Chien, from Blackhawk #30 (April 1950). 

In June 1947, Natalie rejoined Blackhawk Airways at their new base in Singapore. Jan used the gold from the Red Dragon to upgrade the Blackhawks' planes (reacquired from Interpol) and start a charter service. Jan also asked Chuck to use his O.S.S. connections and to buy two refitted Grumman XF5F-1 planes from the U.S. (Action #615) They were approached for hire by an undercover operative of the U.S. Central Intelligence Group named Steve Claiborne. His sister, Marcia Rossiter had gone down in Sumatra on a mission to obtain a Japanese microwave generator. (#616) All but Hendricksen rejoined the squad for this mission. Since they'd been together last Natalie had borne a child, and Jan exploded when he learned that Olaf might be the father (which Natalie denied, though the two had slept together).

(#617) The squad was captured upon landing at the camp of Johannes Vander Houten, who sought the same invention. Jan rescued Marcia but one of Vander Houten’s men found the generator. A volcano eruption forced the villain to give up the generator and by plane, Jan led him through the cone of the volcano just as it erupted. Marcia also died during their escape, which Jan blamed on Claiborne. (#618-622) Natalie found life in Asia difficult but hired Quan Chee (“Mairzey”) Keng to help her on the ground. Natalie missed her son, but could not risk returning to America because of her former membership in the Communist party and the rising Red paranoia. (#628) For their next mission, the Blackhawks were tapped by the U.S. government. The Blackhawks were invited to meet with President Truman, where they met the State Department’s Wendell Hardesty. Truman proposed that Jan serve as a special covert operations agent. Further, Blackhawk Airways would be secretly purchased by the U.S. and serve as a front for the nascent CIA, which was “not yet ready” for missions. The operation would also move to Washington D.C. (#629-630)

Blackhawk Aircraft from the Chaykin Timeline Edit

Chaykin's mini-series and it's spin-offs presented a whole new set of aircraft in Blackhawk markings. I haven't built models of any of these planes yet, but I have the kits!

Chaykin's version of the "failure ridden" Grumman F5F-1 Skyrocket, from Blood and Iron. In the spin-off series, the Blackhawks seem to have returned to Grumman built F5F-1s, since they no longer sport the fixed landing gear of the Soviet built models (see below). Go to the Color Profile page for more about these Skyrockets.In Book Two of Chaykin's series, Red Snow, he has the Grumman built F5F's replaced with "improved" Soviet built copies, that include fixed, skirted main landing gear. Why this is an improvement over the original's retracting gear is not explained. This version also has a two place cockpit with a rear facing machine gun. The degradation in the performance of what is supposed to be a fighter as a result of this increased weight is ignored. The whole idea seems ill conceived. See the History of the Blackhawks: Chaykin Revision for more thoughts on this subject. In the second series, the Blackhawks operate an airline sponsored by the CIA as a cover for covert operations. T 

== ----

NEW CAST MEMBERS== Edit

Left: Chuck married Mairzey and they adopted the son of Natalie and Hendrickson; from Blackhawk v.3 #4 (1989). Art By Rick Burchett. Middle: Grover Baines, from Blackhawk Annual #1 (1989). Art by Tom Zuiko. Right: Paco Herrera was recruited by Blackhawk to help rescue his friends from suspended animation; from Blackhawk #10 (1990). Art by Rick Burchett. The Blackhawks accepted the offer. Their first mission was to transport a modified form of LSD from Germany. The drug was also coveted by a secret cell of Nazis. One of theirs, Gretchen Koblenz, took the place of Jan’s companion, pharmaceutical head Constance Darabont. Olaf sensed her subterfuge and caught her drugging their coffee. Koblenz parachuted off a plane with a plan to sell the LSD to the Soviets and left the Blackhawks mad from the drug. (#631-634) A new Blackhawk ongoing series (also by Pasko and Burchett) began in March 1989, and followed their adventures from Action Comics. It filled in some of Natalie's history. She found herself in rough waters in the late ’40s/early ’50s, when anti-Communism permeated the U.S. Congress. She was forced by the State Department to give up her career in aviation returned to America, and became a comic book writer. She wanted to write truthfully about the Blackhawks’ history, but her paranoid editors censored her scripts heavily. (In post-Crisis continuity, Natalie Reed’s doctored comic book scripts of the late 1940s were published exactly like the Blackhawks’ original Quality adventures, with offensive Chop Chop and all.) The father of Reed's son, James, was revealed as Hendrickson, with whom she'd had a brief affair after the war. The couple had barely come to terms with their breakup when Hendrickson died in a helicopter explosion over Albania. (Action #630-631, Blackhawk v.3 #1-3, Blackhawk Annual #1) Note: The 1989 Annual provided official “Who’s Who” entries for all the active Blackhawks, including new recruit Grover Baines. (Blackhawk v.3 #2) After this, the government provided Natalie with a new identity as “Talia Bryant,” and allowed her entrance back into the U.S. (#4) But men in power considered the Blackhaws to be too rogue for their taste and crafted a suicide mission as part of an elaborate scheme to “neutralize” the squad. Natalie was captured and became the subject of the experimental “grafting” process by Dr. Kermit Grundfest. Her brain was bonded with the physical characteristics of the deceased Constance Darabont. Grundfest and Hardesty intended to subject all of the Blackhawks to this, altering them to become more “manageable.” But when senior officials learned of the project, Truman disavowed any knowledge of it, and Grundfest was ordered to stop. Jan and the others had survived their missions and discovered the subterfuge, but fell in the end to covert forces in mid-1948. (#5-8)   Natalie is transformed by Dr. Grundfest's procedure to look like Constance Darabont. From Blackhawk v.3 #8 (1989). Art by Burchett. The Blackhawks lay in suspended animation for two years. In 1950, Jan awoke. He freed himself, fought his way out of their "prison," and covertly became an employee at Blackhawk Airways. He recruited another man, Paco Herrera, who he learned had been through a simliar "modification." They eventually met up with Natalie, who’d also been free for some time, and at last, they were able to free their comrades and expose the truth.

(#9-12) The final four issues were written by Doug Moench and Burchett contined on pencils. By 27 February 1950, Blackhawk Airways was relocated to the island of Pontalba, and they were back to work for the Office of Special Operations and its man, Stanfield. They were tapped to test the newest in avaition technology in Kuala Lampur—the Skywing, which could fly into space! Before landing they encountered a UFO. Meanwhile, two other agents were tapped to spy on them. The Red Dragon returned, captured by the Chinese while trying to smuggle Jade out of Burma. They forced her to spy on the Blackhawks in Kuala Lumpur, and the Russians sent an agent, Gregor Krell. (#13) In the end, the Hawks discovered that they were once again being played by higher powers in U.S. intelligence. And in a strange interlude, Blackhawk and the Red Dragon were seemingly abducted by aliens. Between that and the UFO, it was unclear whether there truly were aliens, or whether it was all a part of another top secret mind-control program, Project Dreamland. (#14-16) 1960s Both Andre and Olaf fall to Hardwire in the 1960s. From Blackhawk Special (1992). Art by Mike Vosburg. In 1963, the Blackhawks became entangled with events surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. André was working for the CIA and uncovered information implicating U.S. government officials in the escalatation of involvement in Vietnam. This contradicted Kennedy's stance and the President's enemies killed André before he could return to Washington D.C. His killer, code named Hardwire, left a calling card for the Blackhawks to lure them to Dallas. There, they failed to stop JFK’s assassination and its cover-up. In 1968, after years of investigation, Olaf uncovered Hardwire’s identity in Saigon. His name was Stephen Weir, and Janos had evidently killed his parents in the war. Olaf went missing-in-action when Hardwire bombed the embassy; his body was shown floating in a river and it was never recovered. Back in the states, Natalie Reed was again recruited to help Janos watch over Robert Kennedy (she had taken the alias Constance Darabont). She bore witness to RFK’s assassination and was helpless to prevent it. Jan finally had his revenge in 1975, during last days of the Vietnam War. A secret informant revealed Weir’s location and Jan killed him in battle.

(Blackhawk Special #1)

Jan was still active when a new age of heroes was waxing. He participated in a short-lived formation of the “Seven Soldiers of Victory.” (The Silver Age: Showcase) 1990s In 1980, Weng Chan became the CEO of the organization’s latest incarnation, Blackhawk Express. This charter service specialized in dangerous cargo and boasted all-female flight crews. Chan answered to a secret Board of Directors (who were obscured and may have included some of the original Blackhawks). In one of their first recorded mission, Chan, R & D man Clay Kendall, and pilot Susan Sullivan were shot down over the country of Sumango by Colonel Diaz. Green Lantern, Superman and Black Canary were called in to rescue them. (Action #635) At a social function, Chan also met Katar Hol, the Hawkman of Thanagar. Katar helped Blackhawk Express when the Killer Shark (Bunther Haifisch) planted a bomb on a plane with sensitive cargo. (The plane used in this story was a Gates Lear-Jet 55C; Hawkworld v.2 #11-12.) Chan’s grandson, Nelson Chan also joined B.E. as a mechanic, and aspiring pilot. (Blackhawk Annual #1) When Chan's was hired to delivery the ransom for a rich kidnap victim, his courier wound up dead, then the kidnapee. The culprit was the butler, who fled in a helicoptor. Chan pursued him in the plane originally used by the Enemy Ace (Hans Von Hammer). (Blackhawk v.3 #7) Eventually, Blackhawk Island and the Blackhawk Express service were acquired by D.E.O., another U.S. agency which investigates metahuman affairs. The DEO’s Director Bones tricked the JSA into driving Kobra from the island. Though the mission resulted in serious damages, the island was salvaged. (JSA #11-12) During the Imperiex War, an all-new Blackhawk fleet was created by combining Brainiac 13 technology with Ferris Aircraft designs. These new warbirds can travel into space. When Zinda Blake emerged from the 1950s in modern time, she joined Buck Wargo’s monster hunters for a time. (Guy Gardner: Warrior #24). Eventually she grew lonely as, according to her, she was the last living original Blackhawk. Later, she was contaced by Oracle and was invited to join the Birds of Prey as their pilot. Craving the adventure, she agreed, leaving the Blackhawk organization (and her share in it). She took with her but one thing: a brand new state-of-the-art plane to courier the Birds to their cases’ destinations. (Birds of Prey #75) This was the first official declaration that the other original Blackhawks were dead. No account has been made of the surviving Blackhawks’ last days. Knowing the extent of Jan’s sexual exploits, it is quite possible that he fathered children. The fate of Natalie and Hendrickson’s son is unknown. The Blackhawk operation continues to operate in covert and overt capacities for the United States military and espionage operations. 


---- == =====More recent appearances===== ==

Since 1992, mostly modern hints of the team have appeared, usually in the form of the "Blackhawk Express" courier service, or the time-displaced Lady Blackhawk. One of the best examples of this is the 1990s appearance of team member Chop-Chop in a few issues of DC's Hawkworld series. Other Blackhawk air pilot groups have been shown during present time or alternate future events such as Our Worlds At War and Kingdom Come. 1996 Mark Waid (script) and Alex Ross (art)

There is little I can add to the high praise and acclaim this work has earned. I list it here because among its multitude of characters, the Blackhawks play a small but crucial role. These are not the Blackhawks with whom we are familiar, but some future descendants. It is not clear that they are descended from the Chaykin Blackhawks, either, since both Chaykin's interpretation of the Blackhawk insignia and an earlier version of the insignia appear (see Evolution of the Blackhawk Emblem). But since Kingdom Come was published after Chaykin's work, I've included it with other spin-offs from his Blackhawk.

Jess Nevins, author of the extensive annotations of Kingdom Come that have been published on the WWW, provides the following: "BTW, I asked Mark Waid about the identity of the guy dropping the bomb in issue #4, and he said it was the son of Chop-Chop. Which I think is both funny and cool."

The Kingdom Come Revelations supplement says this about the Blackhawks planes: "The Blackhawks' presence as the military's special unit air force seemed to be appropriate, even with the irony of this onetime hero group delivering the final Armageddon to the superhumans. The use of the planes was, more than anything else, an excuse for making use of a wonderful futuristic airship design that my friend John Olimb had done. My former schoolmate had designed this craft ages ago, creating numerous illustrations as well as making a small model of it. I knew someday I'd borrow this bizarre design from him

It is unknown which connection beyond homage and inspiration, if any, those groups have to the classic Blackhawks. Blackhawk at this time is an extension of Checkmate. DC Comics reprinted the Blackhawk features from the first 17 issues of Military Comics in The Blackhawk Archives Volume 1 (2001) as part of its hardcover DC Archive Editions series. Blackhawk made an appearance in The Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 #9 (February 2008), teaming up with the Boy Commandos during a World War II tale. 


Hawkworld Edit

1991

John Ostrander (writer), Graham Nolan (penciller), Gary Kwapisz (inker), Tim Harkins (letterer), Sam Parsons (colorist).

I don't know much about this series. Apparently, it was spun off from a successful Hawkworld miniseries that reworked the history of Hawkman and Hawkwoman (much as Chaykin did with Blackhawk in his miniseries). In issue #11, Weng Chan (Chop-Chop) makes a prominent guest appearance as CEO of the Blackhawk Express air service. And we also have the mysterious silhouette speaking from the computer screen who may be Blackhawk himself. Another character from the Blackhawk universe making an appearance in this issue as the quest villain is General Gunther Haifisch, better known as Killer Shark. The Haifisch name for Killer Shark comes from the Evanier/Spiegle revival but I suppose that doesn't rule him out of the Chaykin continuity. It was nice to see the best of the Blackhawks' villains make a comeback.

The story has Killer Shark plant a bomb on a Blackhawk Express flight that is carrying an experimental nerve toxin. Chan enlists Hawkman to remove the bomb from the plane while it is still in the air. Hawkman transfers from one Blackhawk Express aircraft to another, hanging onto the wing of one as shown in the panel on this page.

Thanks to Luis Olavo Dantas for suggesting Hawkworld as a Blackhawk link.

JSA #s 11 & 12



June and July 2000 Goyer and Johns (writers), Bair (breakdowns), Buzz (penciller), Bair and AW (inks), Lopez (letterer), Kalisz (colorist).

These two issues are the only ones I've seen from this series, but apparently it is an attempt to recreate the superhero team of the 40's in the present by having new characters adopt the identies of the original JSA (i.e. Dr. Fate, Sandman, Wildcat, etc.). It's an interesting idea and this story, any way, was not bad. I've included it here because the story in these two issues is set on Blackhawk Island. We are shown that Blackhawk Island has been abandoned for a long time. A further connection is made by the mention of Blackhawk Express and the suggestion that the JSA will have further contacts with Blackhawk Express in the future.

Obviously, the inclusion of Blackhawk Express places this story firmly in the Chaykin universe. However, it is also obvious that the writers and artists know nearly nothing about the actual history of the Blackhawks. In the panel shown here, for example, the Blackhawk emblem on the C-130 is of the style of the original Blackhawks rather than the Chaykin style that would be appropriate for this universe, and it has a red background instead of yellow, making it look more like Hawkman's emblem than that of the Blackhawks. Since the writers seem to have done a pretty thorough job of researching the history of the JSA to create the characters here, I wish they had done a little research to discover something more about the history of the Blackhawks.

Thanks to Doc Strangefate for suggesting JSA as a Blackhawk link. The Blackhawks appeared in Superman & Batman: Generations 2, in which they help Superman, the Spectre, and Hawkman battle a robot during the war. During the battle, Chuck sacrifices himself to destroy a missile.  During the same storyline in 1997, a heroine named Blackhawk appears, battling Sinestro. According to John Byrne's liner notes in Generations 3 #1, this character is Janet Hall, the granddaughter of the original Blackhawk, as well as Hawkman (Carter Hall) and Hawkgirl (Shiera Sanders).When DC Comics relaunched its entire line, the Blackhawks received a thoroughly modern makeover. In an early interview with CBR, writer Mike Costa described his outlook for the book: "It's a corner that really focuses on the technological advancements that occur within the DCU … I don't think you have a place where you're really understanding the scope of what's going on in this universe that's become so much more advanced than ours. … It's also a book about espionage and action and intense emotions." 


== ---- Sandman Mystery Theatre #45 to #48 ==


December 1996 to March 1997 Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle (writers), Matthew Smith (artist), John Costanza (letterer), David Hornung (colorist), Karen Berger (editor).

"The Blackhawk" - Janos Prohaska is in America, ostensibly flying with an air circus, but actually trying to raise money for the resistance movement in Poland. He is implicated in a series of murders. The Sandman, Wesley Dodds, believes him innocent and proves that is so.

Frankly, I didn't like anything about this story. The art is terrible, the writing slow and ponderous, and Prohaska is incidental to the story. His is just a McGuffin to drive the plot. His abilities as a flyer make no difference to the outcome. There is really nothing in the story to lead the reader to think this character will someday be a hero named Blackhawk.

It probably mattered little to most readers, but I was bothered that they had Prohaska flying the Grumman F5F-1 Skyrocket over a year before it was designed and built.


== ---- =====The New 52===== ==


Template:See also In September 2011, DC Comics launched a new monthly series titled Blackhawks with no direct ties to the previous incarnations. The book is set in the present day with no appearances by or mention of prior Blackhawks, although there is a new "Lady Blackhawk". The book shares the setting of the rebooted DC Universe continuity set up in the Flashpoint mini-series and is a part of DC's New 52 initiative.[13][14] The series ended with Blackhawks #8 (April 2012) to make way for a "second wave" of New 52 titles.[15]  

Unlike its forebears, the new book was titled in the plural, and did not reuse any of the legacy Blackhawk characters. Instead, a new "magnificent seven" were introduced: 1]The Alpha Team's commander is Col. Andrew Lincoln, who is the Deputy of Operations at their mountain top base, called the Eyrie. It is a remote mountain top location, which aids their secrecy and freedom of movement.2]Lady Blackhawk, the primary field leader. Her eye patch harkens back to that of the post-Crisis Lady Blackhawk, Natalie Reed.3]Attila, the Hungarian ponytailed powerhouse.4]Kunoichi (Nikki Nemser, "female ninja"), a Japanese woman and deadly operative. She was a later addition, and in a relationship with Wildman. She once auditioned for the Japanese pop group called Team A.5]The Irishman (Corporal Costello), a red-haired Ukrainian. His parents had international business in the USSR and he was born there. nickname from from his comrades in the Spetsnatz (the Russan special forces).6]Randall Wildman (deceased) was Communications and Analyst. He grew up in Vanity City and was often paired with …7]Canada, who is from Atlanta but got his nickname because of an incident in Calgary. Canada oversees the team's high-tech gear and planes. He generally detests hand-to-hand combat.

The unnamed lieutenant is a Blackhawk abducted in battle with Parademons and coopted by the hive mind called Mother Machine.Their "infantry" men are called Austringers (an obsolete term meaning "keeper of hawks"). These operatives are not all pilots, and their transport vehicles are called Peregrines.Their first recorded mission—when they were were a fledgling unit—was around the same time that the Justice League were fighting Darseid. The Blackhawks fought through Parademons on a mission to recover their lost member, an unnamed lieutenant. They found her enveloped by a nanocyte cocoon. She'd been completely overtaken by the technological hive mind of Mother Machine, and turned on them. The Blackhawks retreated and Mother began her mission to "upgrade" the human race to a hybrid of flesh and silicon. In this battle, Lady Blackhawk lost her left eye. (DC Universe Presents #0) The Blackhawks' lost lieutenant becomes Mother Machine. From DC Universe Presents #0 (2012). Art by Carlos Rodriguez and Bit.covert operation to Kazakhstan, where their secrecy was compromised by civilian photographers. These photos wound up on the Internet, which sparked the attention of the Blackhawks' parent organization, the United Nations. Further, Kunoichi was bitten by an enemy soldier and when she returned to the Eyrie, she found she'd been infected with "nanocites," that granted her super-strength. The nanocites were designed by Mother Machine, a techno-organic being herself, who used the technology to destroy a meta-human detainment facility in Asia. (Blackhawks #1) Titus and Mother Machine, from Blackhawks #2 and 3 (2011-12). Art by Graham Nolan, Trevor McCarthy, and Trevor Scott.When Lady Blackhawk led a team to investigate the prison's destruction, they were met by one of Mother Machine's operatives, Titus. Titus was a ruthless killer and promptly sliced off Irishman's arm. Kunoichi and Lady Blackhawk managed to bring him down but in the process, Kunoichi was exposed as having been infected. Meanwhile, Canada and Wildman were kidnapped and taken to the Mother's hidden city. (#2) They met her minion, Flynn, and learned that Mother Machine's technology was far more advanced than anything they had experienced. She asked them to join her. Meanwhile at the Eyrie, Titus escaped and infected the computer systems. Kunoichi hooked herself via IV into the system and served as a sort of antivirus. (#3)As radiation levels rose in the Eyrie, Kunoichi took down thw weakened Titus. And Canada attacked Mother Machine directly (after learning that her consciousness would take time to upload to a new form). He flew her craft out—into space! (#4) The Blackhawks were docked at Mother Machine's own satellite in orbit, where they hatched an impossible plan to save themselves. When Mother sent it falling to Earth, they used its "kinetic harpoon" to destroy her own facility on Earth. Lady Blackhawk scrambled an A23 Condor on their trajectory and secured a cable to transfer them to safety.

(#5)NOTE: The solicitation for issue #5 showed a blonde Lady Blackhawk, which was either a trick or mistake. The final cover depicted the existing Lady, with dark hair. The original solicit, showing a blond Lady Blackhawk (left), and the final issue.With Mother Machine's main facility and body destroyed, she renewed her attacks in other ways. After the Blackhawks released an EMP to disable a horde of machines with "modular intelligence," Schmidt briefed the press (including Clark Kent) about their operation. As Lincoln showed Lady Blackhawk their black ops center called Black Razor, they noticed disruptive technology among the cameramen. Their cameras were equipped with bombs, and when seized, they blew up and killed Wildman.

(#6) A design sketch of Col. Lincoln by Ken Lashley.Lady Blackhawk was also seriously injured in the blast, which they learned had been set by Steig Hammer, a Finnish weapons fabricator who originated much of the Blackhawks' own equipment. Lincoln mobilized the entire Alpha Team in vengeance for Wildman, without approval from their diplomatic overseers. On the mission, Kunoichi made her way to Hammer, but he took control of her system and allowed Mother Machine to possess her. (#7)As Mother took over Kunoichi, the Blackhawk was surprised to find the artificial essence of Wildman inside her mind! She learned that while he was in Mother Machine's satellite, she'd copied his consciousness to a nanoccloud, and the cloud was deployed before the satellite was destroyed. (#5) As her consciousness expanded, so did his access to the outside. Wildman encouraged Kunoichi to battle Mother Machine on the artificial plane, where she succeeded. But the Mother was alreday inside the Blackhawks' mainframe, so Lincoln decided to sacrifice the Eyrie with a nuclear explosion.

(#8)DC boasted that readers hadn't seen the last of these characters, but given that many of its "New 52" books have been cancelled, any subsequent plans might have also fallen on the cutting room floor.NotesArtist Ken Lashley was cited by Mike Costa as having created the look of the new Blackhawks, although Lashley did not ultimately pencil the series (he did draw the covers). Lashley himself explained the situation at Bleeding Cool: "The problem was that we started really late on the project. Chuck Austen was writing it … l was given the job and we got rolling. DC also provided a layout artist [Graham Nolan] to speed things up … DC decided to make a story change after a few pages were done…but that meant a 4 week delay, because the new writer had to get started, then get approved. … l love comics but its so hard to find the time when you have other commitments."

== '== Powers == == '

The only member of the Blackhawks Alpha Team with superpowers is Kunoichi, who was infected with nanocites. These give her enhanced endurance and strength, and allow her to interface (with much discomfort) with computers.Their plane, the A23 Condor, was made by S.T.A.R. Labs and Queen Industries. Canada is their ace pilot, and Col. Lincoln and Lady Blackhawk are also pilots.The New 52[edit] 



== ====Fictional biography====  =====Original incarnation===== ==

File:Blackhawk 12.jpg
Template:Quote boxWith the overwhelming forces of Nazi Germany flooding into Poland in September, 1939, only the Polish Air Force remains as the last major line of resistance. Captain von Tepp and his Butcher Squadron swarm the skies in response, outnumbering the Polish four to one. The Germans decimate their foes until just one lone plane — painted jet black — remains. After gallantly shooting down six Nazi planes, the mysterious pilot is forced to crash land on the countryside. Running to a nearby farmhouse, he's tracked from the air by von Tepp, who drops a bomb and destroys the building.

The pilot locates his dead sister and mortally wounded brother inside. He vows to kill von Tepp before disappearing into the darkness. Months later, with most of Europe collapsing under the might of the Nazis, the pilot reemerges with his own private squadron and "like an angel of vengeance, Blackhawk and his men swoop down out of nowhere, their guns belching death, and on their lips the dreaded song of the Blackhawks."[16] In France, Captain von Tepp receives a note from Blackhawk demanding the release of one of Blackhawk's men or face death. Infuriated, von Tepp orders the prisoner's execution by firing squad. At dawn, the man and two others, including a cool-headed English Red Cross nurse (identified as "Ann" in Military Comics #3), are lined against a wall and mocked by von Tepp. As his men prepare to fire, the song of the Blackhawks fills the air: Template:Quote

With the Blackhawks lining the walls of the courtyard, Blackhawk himself confronts von Tepp. After a brief skirmish, von Tepp is abducted and flown to the Blackhawks' secret base in the Atlantic Ocean, Blackhawk Island. It's there that Blackhawk challenges the Nazi captain to an aerial duel. During the ensuring dogfight, both of the men's planes are crippled and forced to crash. On the ground, von Tepp and Blackhawk, both badly injured, draw guns. Von Tepp falls in a hail of bullets. Blackhawk's team is mostly depicted in Military Comics #1 as shadowy, nondescript soldiers, save for an Englishman named Baker who's never seen or mentioned again.

Military Comics #2 (September 1941) expands the role of the team in the featured adventure and introduces five members: Stanislaus, André, Olaf, Hendrick (Hendrickson within a few issues), and Zeg. A sixth, Boris, is also shown, but, like Baker, only makes a singular appearance. The designer of their planes, Vladim, is also mentioned. By Military Comics #3 (October 1941), the roster is firmed up and it's stated that seven men belong to the team. The group also receives a Chinese mascot and cook, Chop-Chop, when his plane happens to crash on Blackhawk Island during a desperate run for help. The adventure concludes with the first on-page death of a team member: André, who seemingly perishes in an avalanche that buries a large group of Nazis.

In Military Comics #9 (April 1942), the roster is down to five plus Chop-Chop, with Zeg presumably the absent member. In that adventure, the team crosses paths with the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask; André, in fact, now horribly disfigured, but still an enemy of the Nazis. The most familiar version of the team is finally locked down in Military Comics #11 (August 1942) shown as consisting of Blackhawk, Olaf, Chuck, André (his face now reconstructed), Stanislaus, Hendrickson, and Chop-Chop. In Blackhawk #50 (March 1952), the team's origin is documented.[17] Blackhawk himself is no longer identified as being Polish, but rather an American who is a volunteer flyer in the Polish Air Force. His sidekick in the squadron is Stanislaus, a "brilliant young student" from the University of Warsaw. After facing defeat against the Nazis, Blackhawk attempts to flee to Russia, only to discover that Russian forces are invading from the east. He then seeks refuge in England where he attempts to join the Royal Air Force. It's in London where he and Stanislaus reunite and then meet the four others who will ultimately join them in their crusade: Chuck, another American volunteer; Hendrickson, a recent escapee from a Nazi concentration camp; Olaf, a Swede who had fought for Finland against the Russians; and André, a "valiant Frenchman."

The six men wait to enlist in the R.A.F., but because none are British subjects, they are "held up by miles of red tape." Finally, Blackhawk suggests they strike out on their own. They pool their resources and buy planes, setting up a base of operations first on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, then later in the Pacific. They're eventually joined by Chop-Chop, described in this account as having "fled from China when the Japanese overpowered the Nationalist army." Chop-Chop first acts as the team's cook, but in time becomes an expert pilot and full member of the team. 


==


=====Post-Crisis===== ==

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Blackhawk is once again Polish by birth and now given a definitive name, Janos Prohaska. Having joined the Polish Air Force at a young age, he had already become a national hero by 1936 alongside his trusted friends Stanislaus Drozdowski and Kazimierc "Zeg" Zegota-Januszajtis. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, the trio travel across Europe, providing freelance service and even fighting for a time in the Spanish Civil War as members of the Communist party.[18] At one point finding himself in America in hopes of gathering funds to build a European resistance group, Prohaska is framed for a series of murders. With the help of the Sandman, he's ultimately exonerated, but a report soon surfaces that he has been shot down and killed by Nazis somewhere in the Mediterranean.[19] 

When the forces of Nazi Germany invade Poland in 1939, Prohaska returns home to help defend his homeland. He's unable to save his younger siblings, Józek and Staszka, and soon forced to flee to Britain with Stanislaus and Zeg. It's there he meets the others who will form the foundation of the Blackhawk Squadron. In the midst of the war, Prohaska finds himself under suspicion by the U.S. government for his Communist ties. Around this same time, the Blackhawks are joined by Captain Natalie Reed (born Natalie Gurdin), a brilliant Russian-American flight engineer who redesigns the Blackhawks' aircraft and is dubbed Lady Blackhawk by the U.S. press. It's with her help that Prohaska is able to stop Nazi agent and onetime Hollywood actor Death Mayhew from detonating an atomic bomb in New York City. The victory restores Blackhawk's reputation.[20] 


==

==Team depictions==== Edit

Blackhawk introduced six of his squad in Military #2 (though only Olaf was clearly identified), and he said there were more. In the next issue, those six appeared again, equally obscured. Olaf was played up the most in early stories. After Chop Chop and Chuck were introduced (Military #3 and #10, respectively), there were nine, but only seven survived for the long haul. Very soon, Boris and Zeg fell by the wayside. The final roster might have been the by-product of Cuidera’s final issue, #11, where he identified each member by face and name in a “roll call.” According to the team's co-creator, Chuck Cuidera, Chuck was named after him, and Stanislaus after Bob (Stanley) Powell. In The Steranko History of the Comics vol. 2, he also said Olaf was patterned on Big Stoop from Terry and the Pirates. (Steranko: 58) Modern Comics #48 (April 1946) was the first issue to fully reveal the members’ home countries; they gave their official titles in Modern Comics #99 (July 1950); and their “origins” were officially told in Blackhawk #50 (March 1952). A chart in Blackhawk #85 (Feb. 1955) listed their heights and weights. Operative First Appearance Post-Crisis FateDC COMICS ERABlackhawk, Chief Officer, from the United States (originally Polish) Military Comics #1

Real name never revealed in Quality Comics. The character never spoke with an accent, though he was clearly meant to be Polish in his first appearance. Only he wore the hawk emblem on his uniform.Andre, Second-in-Command and Navigator, from France Military Comics #2 Second only to Blackhawk as a ladies’ man, though perhaps more overtly so. He was sometimes also depicted as a scientist, sometimes an artist and musician. Andre was the first of the Blackhawks to “die,” (Military #3) but he returned very soon afterwards. (#9) No other details were revealed about Andre’s personal history.Boris, from Russia Was named but never identified, in Military Comics #2, and then fell into limbo. Perhaps he moved over to “Death Patrol,” which had a pilot of the same name!Hendrickson (originally Hendrick), Surgeon and Geologist, from Germany (originally the Netherlands) An older, portly German (Dutch in Modern #48). He sometimes served as the team’s doctor. His name was “Hendrick” in Military Comics #2, changed in #5.Olaf, Rocket Engineer, from Sweden (once said to be Norway) The tall, broad, square-jawed Swede (a “Swensk” in Military #22, Norwegian in Modern #48) whose accent was written for humorous effect, though he was never depicted as dumb, per se. In earlier tales, he was featured more prominently than others. Stanislaus, Supply and Armament, from Poland Wore his hair short and his homeland was later described as Poland. He was believed dead in action in Military #31 but returned the next issue and received an eye transplant to restore his vision.Zeg, no details revealed Named in Military #2 and called by name one other time. Last appeared in Military #15. Chop Chop, from Military Comics #3 The excitable cook, who gradually took on more responsibility, becoming a fully active member. He hailed from Chongqing (Chungking) and was awarded his own featurette that ran in Blackhawk #10–95 (Spring 1946–Dec. 1955). Most of these tales were played for laughs, not unlike Plastic Man’s sidekick, Woozy Winks. For his odd looks, Chop Chop managed to garner the attentions of many beautiful ladies. In his more recent DC incarnation, he was the only Blackhawk with heirs. He was never awarded his own plane; he usually rode with Blackhawk but could fly on his own.Chuck Wilson, Assistant Navigator and Observer, from the United States Military Comics #10 The last Blackhawk to appear, Chuck began with black hair which quickly changed to red, and had a freckled face and a short, upturned nose. In the beginning he was one of the lesser played members, but that changed as his American nationality became an asset in storytelling. He eventually took more initiative and overthrew rebels on a solo mission into Lokaria. (#87) He opened up to Blackhawk about his father, a pilot who was lost after World War I. His mother died in the meantime. Blackhawk and Chuck were drawn to a deserted island where Blackhawk learned that Chuck’s father, Wilson, had come to command a band of pirates. Wilson was betrayed by one of his band, and he begged Blackhawk not to tell Chuck the truth; Blackhawk obliged


==

=Original incarnation=== Edit

After a period of membership fluctuations during the first 10 issues of Military Comics, the team finally settles into its most famous roster. Although minor character details would shift and change over time, this original version of the team would stay largely intact from the characters' debut in 1941 to the end of their first run in 1968. At one point or another, every member of the team except Blackhawk is depicted in ways stereotypical for the time, and over the course of the series several would develop their own catchphrases

  • Blackhawk – First Polish, then American, the man known as Blackhawk is portrayed as a strong, decisive leader. He's not always easy on his men—calling Olaf a "big fat-head," for example[21]—but always appears to command their unquestionable respect. At one point late in the first series' run, he's given a name, Bart Hawk.[22] 
  • Stanislaus – Blackhawk's second-in-command. Polish, Stan is initially depicted like his teammates with various ethnic distinctions, but those disappear as the series progresses to the point that he could very well pass for an American. He is often portrayed as an acrobat, then later as the team's strongman. * Chuck – At different times stated as being from Brooklyn or Texas, Chuck is often shown as the team's communications specialist. His words are peppered with frequent American colloquialisms like "I reckon!" and "Dagnabbit!" 
  • Hendrickson – Known as "Hendy" for short, the oldest of the Blackhawks is also their ever-dependable sharpshooter. Heavyset with white hair and a thick, Germanic mustache, he's usually portrayed as Dutch (though German in some accounts), and often exclaims, "Himmel!" (German for "sky" and "heaven") or "Ach du lieber!" (a German phrase akin to "Oh, dear!"). 
  • André – With his pencil-thin mustache and natural born suavity, André's appreciation of beautiful women often leads the team into precarious situations. Their demolitions expert, he frequently utters "Sacre bleu!" (an old French profanity). 
  • Olaf – A giant of a man, Olaf is usually portrayed as Swedish, his brutish size and poor English playing into the "big, dumb Swede" stereotype. He often shouts, "Py Yiminy!" and demonstrates impressive acrobatic abilities (a trait that Stanislaus' character loses over time). * Chop-Chop – Chop-Chop is originally the team's Chinese cook and essentially Blackhawk's sidekick, riding along in Blackhawk's plane as opposed to piloting his own. He evolves over time from comic relief mascot to a valued member of the team proficient in the martial arts. His full name is eventually revealed to be Liu Huang.[23] Other short-term members are Baker, an Englishman, and Boris, a Russian. Both characters only make single panel appearances. Zeg, Polish like Blackhawk and Stanislaus, manages to last a bit longer, but is gone by the Blackhawk's ninth appearance in Military Comics

A significant ally to the team throughout the 1940s is Miss Fear, who never formally joins the group but appears frequently during their Asian missions, developing a romantic interest in Blackhawk himself. The strip's most significant supporting character, however, is Zinda Blake, also known as Lady Blackhawk. After a failed attempt to become the team's first female member,[24] she is eventually awarded honorary status and makes numerous appears from 1959 to 1968, even becoming the villainess Queen Killer Shark for a time. The team acquires an animal mascot in the 1950s, Blackie the hawk. Possessing remarkable intelligence—he can type notes in plain English, among other skills—and fitted with his own miniature belt radio, he's often shown perched on Blackhawk's shoulder. 



== ===1967's New Blackhawk Era===

==
Template:Quote box
File:BlackhawkIssue230.jpg
When the Blackhawks are proven by the secret spy organization G.E.O.R.G.E. (the Group for Extermination of Organizations of Revenge, Greed, and Evil) to be inept and ineffective as a modern day fighting force against the evils of the world, the team regroups and dons dramatic new identities that, as the U.S. President happily observes, returns them to their rightful place as one of America's "top trouble-shooting teams."[25] For 14 issues beginning with Blackhawk #228 (January 1967), the Blackhawks become: 
  • The Big Eye (Blackhawk) – Constantly monitoring the activities of his squad from the Hawk-Kite, a mammoth dirigible made to look like a two-headed hawk, Blackhawk is the only one of the seven to not take on a new alter-ego. 
  • The Golden Centurion (Stanislaus) – Clad in the gleaming gold armor of a dead foe, Stan not only gains the ability to fly, but can also fire bolts of "ionized pure gold."[26] 
  • The Listener (Chuck) – Chuck facilitates communication between the team, wearing what resembles pajamas covered with drawings of ears. 
  • The Weapons-Master (Hendrickson) – Hendy is the team's master of weaponry. 
  • M'sieu Machine (André) – André becomes designer of exotic crime-fighting gadgets. 
  • The Leaper (Olaf) – Donning a rubber-titanium outfit reminiscent of a human cannonball circus performer, Olaf's natural acrobatic abilities are now complemented with the ability to leap and bounce great distances. 
  • Dr. Hands (Chop-Chop) – Mixing martial arts with beryllium-encased hands, Chop-Chop is able to "smash through practically anything."[25] The "New Blackhawk Era" ends after just 14 issues when G.E.O.R.G.E. headquarters is unceremoniously destroyed, leaving the Blackhawks with only their classic blue and black uniforms. 


== ---- ===1976–1977=== ==


When the series resumes in 1976, it features a mercenary team composed of familiar unaged faces. Their origins and place in the DC Universe are never explained, though it is firmly stated that this version of the Blackhawks consists of "the original seven" and surmises that they had "first banded together in the fifties to battle a growing number of costumed villains and foes."[27] The members of the team are described as follows:[27] 

  • Blackhawk (also referred to as Bart Hawk and Mr. Cunningham) – The head of one of the largest aircraft manufacturing companies in the world, and a man who commands "a working knowledge of science with specialties in aviation and aerodynamics." 
  • Stanislaus – The Polish "financial wizard" of Cunningham Aircraft. 
  • André – The French mechanics expert. 
  • Olaf – The Swedish junior member of the group. 
  • Hendrickson – The Dutch elder of the group and the full-time "sentinel" of the team's secret base, Blackhawk Island. 
  • Chuck – The American communications expert and team scientist. 
  • Chopper (formerly known as Chop-Chop) – The Chinese master of martial arts and the team's most skilled flier, "save for Blackhawk himself." Early in the run, Boris—"the eighth Blackhawk," as he refers to himself—reemerges as the super-powered villain Anti-Man, hellbent on destroying the team as revenge for leaving him for dead on a long ago mission. Shown in flashback wearing the Blackhawks' classic blue and black uniform, even then as a member he exhibits surprising aggression toward his teammates.[28] With Hendrickson left ailing in the final issue of the run, and Chuck seemingly killed in battle, it's possible that big changes were in store for the team's line-up had the series continued past Blackhawk #250. Two possible replacements are set up, either of whom could have also taken the mantle of Lady Blackhawk: Duchess Ramona Fatale (also referred to as "Patch"), a mercenary with questionable allegiances, but harboring love for Blackhawk; and Elsa, Hendrickson's daughter. 




=====1982–1984===== Edit

With the team's return to a World War II setting, many basic aspects of the original incarnation are restored, complemented by what writer Mark Evanier called "a more contemporary attitude towards characterization."[29] The core members are: 

  • Blackhawk – Described as "Polish American" and referred to as Bart on a few occasions. He abhors killing, doing so only in self-defense. He's strong and level-headed, not always reacting as swiftly or as violently as some of his men might like. 
  • Stanislaus – Blackhawk's Polish second-in-command and loyal friend. Lacking confidence from being in Blackhawk's shadow for so long, he envies Blackhawk's strong leadership capabilities. 
  • André – A former member of the French resistance, he's the team's experienced military planner and full-time ladies' man.  
  • Olaf – A Swede whose tall height and thick accent plays into a common stereotype, but in actuality conceals amazing acrobatic skills and a savvy mind in combat. 
  • Hendrickson – The team's Dutch weapons master and sharpshooter. The oldest of the group, he grapples with feelings of resentment, often left feeling like his much-younger teammates don't always make full use of his wisdom. 
  • Chuck – A Texan who volunteered for the British R.A.F. before bringing his expert piloting and mechanic skills to the Blackhawks. He is portrayed as tougher and more rude than previous depictions. 
  • Chop-Chop – Both the youngest and the newest member of the team, he's a martial arts master named Wu Cheng. Also introduced during the run is Lieutenant Theodore Gaynor of the United States Marine Corps, who joins the team when Chop-Chop takes a leave of absence to fight the Japanese in China. Gaynor leaves the team after it's learned his hardline stance against the Germans includes the execution of not only Nazi soldiers, but also civilians.



---- == =====1988–Present===== =='

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths rewrites the history of the DC Universe, the Blackhawks' own history, both during World War II and after, undergoes yet more transformation. It is this version of the team that is currently featured in DC continuity.

The members are: 

  • Major Janos Prohaska (Blackhawk) – Reestablished as being born and raised in Poland, Prohaska is portrayed as the consummate leader, but also as a brash, hard-drinking womanizer. He is also revealed to have been a member of the Communist Party, expelled by Joseph Stalin after opposing the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a 1939 treaty of non-aggression between the Soviets and Nazi Germany.  
  • Captain Stanislaus Drozdowski – Longtime friend of Blackhawk's who fights alongside him in the Polish Air Force before becoming one of the earliest members of the Blackhawks—and one of the team's first casualties.  
  • Captain André Blanc-Dumont – An excellent but slightly reckless pilot, the Frenchman is second-in-command of the team, as well as Prohaska's closest confident and frequent co-pilot. * Captain Olaf Friedriksen – Danish in this version, athletic Olaf is a savant with languages and skilled at radio operations. 
  • Captain Ritter Hendricksen – The Dutch marksmen and demolitions expert, as well as the oldest member of the team. 
  • Captain Carlo "Chuck" Sirianni – An Italian-American from New Jersey who served with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services before joining the team and becoming their chief navigation officer. Chuck is also a dabbler in electronics and aeronautic technology. 
  • Lieutenant Weng Chan (Chop-Chop) – Chinese and said to be just 17 when he first joins the team, Weng is a skilled pilot, flight mechanic, and cook. 
  • Captain Natalie Reed (Lady Blackhawk) – Brilliant Russian-American flight engineer who redesigns the Blackhawks' aircraft and fights alongside them. She gives birth to a son in 1945, the product of a brief affair with Hendricksen. Other early members of the team include Russian Boris Zinoviev and Englishman Ian Holcomb-Baker, who, along with Blackhawk's longtime friends Stanislaus and Kazimierc "Zeg" Zegota-Januszajtis, are "the first to fall in battle."[18] Later team members include African-American Grover Baines, Malaysian Quan Chee Keng (known as "Mairzey"), and Mexican Paco Herrera. 

---- ====Evolution of Chop-Chop===='

File:Chopchop-crandall.jpg
Throughout the 1940s and well into the 1950s, Chop-Chop provides comic relief in the Blackhawk strip and is depicted as more of a highly-exaggerative caricature amid the realistic art style that otherwise surrounds him. Fat, buck-toothed, and orange-skinned, he speaks in broken English, wears a queue hairstyle complete with a bow, and dresses in colorful coolie garb. This depiction, although now considered offensive by many, was not atypical of World War II-era depictions of Asians.[31] A popular character at the time, Chop-Chop also appears in his own humor feature in the Blackhawk series from 1946 to 1955. Even in his very earliest appearances, he demonstrates tremendous competency and bravery, arriving on Blackhawk Island in a plane of his own construction,[32] and then, relatively soon after, is shown fighting right alongside Blackhawk in a hand-to-hand melee.[21] Despite this, he's long portrayed as essentially Blackhawk's sidekick, riding along in Blackhawk's plane as opposed to piloting his own and often brandishing a cleaver in battle. In 1952, it's firmly stated that he's a full member of the team,[17] and from 1955 to 1964, he slowly transforms into a more realistically drawn character, changes that culminate when the Blackhawks take on a major uniform change for the first time in their history and Chop-Chop finally joins them in his choice of wardrobe.[33] When the team later reverts to their traditional blue and black uniforms, he dons one for the first time.[22] When the 1980s World War II-set revival of the series begins, Chop-Chop is again shown in a variation of his original outfit (and even clutches a cleaver on the cover of the first issue).[34] It's quickly apparent, however, that the similarities end there and that he's far from comic relief. As the run progresses, it's revealed that he feels slighted by his teammates, not given proper enough respect to even wear the same uniform as them. Realizing their embarrassing oversight, they bestow to him with great ceremony a standard uniform and his own plane to mark him as a respected member of the group.[35]  After DC Comics' company-wide crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths revamped and streamlined many of DC's properties, Chop-Chop has almost exclusively been depicted wearing the Blackhawks' standard uniform. His past likeness and role as sidekick is addressed, shown as a character in a comic book about the Blackhawks.[36] 
File:Chopchop-spiegle.jpg
 




== ---- =====1983 controversy===== ==

In Blackhawk #263 (October 1983), writer Mark Evanier took over the "Blackhawk Bylines" letter column to address an anonymous editorial written by a staff member of the Richmond Times-Dispatch that ran in the paper's February 6, 1983, edition. Evanier wrote of the piece: Template:Quote An admittedly stunned Evanier readily denounced the column, challenging the editorial writer's assertion that Steven Spielberg, at the time rumored to be interested in making a Blackhawk film, should be faithful to the original depiction of Chop-Chop. Evanier wrote that it's amazing to him that "anyone could believe that Chinese folks were really obese and stupid in the forties," or that Spielberg would ignore the box office and "commit professional suicide by so depicting them."[37] When asked later if the editorial hastened Evanier's own approach to evolving the character, Evanier said he thought he would have pursued the same course regardless, giving the editorial "probably more attention than it deserved."[9] 




[

AircraftEdit

=====Grumman XF5F Skyrocket=====]

The Grumman XF5F Skyrocket is the twin-engine fighter most identified with the Blackhawks. The team is nearly always shown flying modified versions of the plane during their World War II adventures and for some time thereafter. As Will Eisner remembered: Template:Quote

==


=====Other notable aircraft===== ==


Template:Refimprove sectionAdditionally, other planes made appearances during the course of strip: 

  • PZL.50A Jastrząb – This is the plane that Blackhawk flew in Poland during the Nazi invasion of 1939.
  • Republic F-84 Thunderjet – By the early 1950s, the Blackhawks converted the squadron to jets. This was the Blackhawk Squadron's first jet aircraft.
  • Lockheed XF-90 – This actual experimental fighter was adapted to become the fictional:: F-90 "B" – The Blackhawks flew this plane from 1950 to 1955.: F-90 "C" – The Blackhawks were flying this model by 1957.
  • Republic F-105 Thunderchief – The Blackhawks modified this plane to have VTOL capability.
  • Lockheed F-94 Starfire – This is the plane that Lady Blackhawk flew. 


====International incarnations====

Template:Refimprove sectionThe Blackhawk concept and characters proved to be popular on the international market as well as in the United States. Quality Comics licensed the rights along with many of their other characters to London's Boardman Books, which used them in a series of three-color reprints from 1948 to 1954. Boardman also reprinted Blackhawk stories in their Adventure Annual series of hardcover Christmas publications. Many of the British Blackhawk reprints were repackaged by Boardman art director Denis McLoughlin, who created at least one British original Blackhawk story, as well as the illustrations for several Blackhawk text stories. After Boardman's contract lapsed, Strato Publications launched a square-bound 68-page Blackhawk series which ran for 37 issues between 1956 and 1958. 


== ----

==Early crossover==== Edit

In Hit Comics #26 (February 1943), Blackhawk participated in an early example of a fictional crossover when fellow Quality Comics character Kid Eternity summons him to stop a mad scientist. 


====Other versions==Edit

=====Flashpoint===== ==



====In other media==Edit

Radio: Jim Steranko mentions the existance of a Blackhawk radio series in his History of the Comics. Timothy O'Donnell submits that it was on the ABC radio network in 1951. A recent article in Comic Book Marketplace stated that the radio program first 'aired' on September 20th, 1950, and was broadcast every Wednesday evening (*5:30p.m.) through Jan. 3, 1951.

Movies: A 15 chapter Blackhawk movie serial was produced by Columbia Pictures in 1952.

Television: An animated Blackhawk series was considered for Saturday morning television, according to DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Greatest Heroes, by Les Daniels. [Submited by Neil Hansen.] And the Blackhawks apparently did make a cameo appearance in an animated television series.

Novel: In 1982, William Rotsler wrote a Blackhawk novel, published by Warner books.

GamesBlitzkrieg, written by Jeff O'Hare, edited by Thomas Cook, cover art by Kyle Baker and Bob LeRose, interior art by Howard Chaykin, maps by Ike Scott and Hans Koch. This game module provides the character data and other information that allow gamers to play the Blackhawks in the DC Heroes Role Playing Game. Game data on other characters includes Sgt. Rock and Easy Company and several villains like Colonel Von Tepp and Doctor Meerzaum. Two vehicles, the Grumman Skyrocket and the Nazis' Sky Skull, are described in game terms as are locations like Blackhawk Island. Finally, it provides scenarios to guide players through several adventures. The information and descriptions are based entirely on the Chaykin Blackhawk continuity and draw nothing from the original series. There is little here for Blackhawk fans who are not also gamers. Published in 1988 by Mayfair Games Inc., P.O. Box 48539, Niles, IL, 60648. ISBN: 0-912771-89-5. [Source identified by David Chapman. Review by DLT]

James Lagner has created Blackhawk versions of P-38s to use in the online flight simulation game called Air Warrior. Click here to see more.


Action Figures: A number of fans produce action figure replicas of the Blackhawks.  Terry Semenoff sent me this picture of a Captain Action figure of Blackhawk that he customized.  Dale J. Roberts makes and sells action figures, including a figure of Blackhawk. Joe Thoms tells me that Dale has done figures of Lady Blackhawk and Chop-Chop, as well.  Tim Priebe sent me a link to his Blackhawk action figureDon Secrease sent me pictures of different size Blackhawk figures.  Dennis Harry sent me pictures of his Blackhawk figures.



Dennis Harry's Blackhawk Action FiguresEdit

Dennis has modified a number of action figures into Blackhawk figures. His pictures and description are below. 


Dennis sent the following: "I've been a fan of the Blackhawks since the 1950's when I was a kid and reading their adventures. Within the past several years I've been collecting and customizing action figures and one of the early projects I worked on was the Blackhawks. Having recently discovered your site I thought you might be interested in a couple of pictures." 



The Blackhawk Movie SerialEdit

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: If you've read my review below on the movie serial, you know I've never been enthused about it. Well, I finally did something about it. I have edited the serial down to a two hour feature movie. I removed numerous redundant car chases and fist fights and two extraneous subplots. There is still plenty of action but now it is more focused. I think the flow and the pacing of the movie are much improved while maintaining the spirit of the serial. If anyone is interested in seeing this new edit of the Blackhawk movie, contact me. I have it availabe on DVD-R.' 

TITLE: Blackhawk

RELEASED BY: Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232-3195

COPYRIGHT: 1952 by Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

ISBN: 0-8001-9947-2

SCREENPLAY BY: George H. Plympton, Royal K. Cole, and Sherman L. Lowe

PRODUCED BY: Sam Katzman

DIRECTED BY: Spencer Bennet and Fred F. Sears

STARRING:

Blackhawk Kirk Alyn
Laska Carol Forman
Chuck John Crawford
Mr. Case Michael Fox
Olaf Don Harvey
Stan/Boris Rick Vallin
Andre Larry Stewart
Chop Chop Weaver Levy
Hendrickson Frank Ellis
Click here for more credits.

'Chapter titles- (click on the chapter title for a synopsis of the story and on "lobbycard" to see the cards displayed in theaters to advertise the chapters.) 1. Distress Call from Space! 2. Blackhawk Traps a Traitor! 3. In the Enemy's Hideout 4. The Iron Monster 5. Human Targets! 6. Blackhawk's Leap for Life (lobbycard) 7. Mystery Fuel! 8. Blasted from the Sky! 9. Blackhawk Tempts Fate (lobbycard) 10. Chase for Element X! 11. Forced Down! 12. Drums of Doom! 13. Blackhawk's Daring Plan 14. Blackhawk's Wild Ride 15. The Leader Unmasked! (lobbycard)


---- '=The Blackhawk Movie Serial REVIEW:

This black and white, 15 part serial comes on two VHS tapes. The Blackhawks battle a group of spies and saboteurs, led by the beautiful Laska and the sinister Mr. Chase, bent on destroying democracy. We are never told explicitly who the spies work for, but there is little doubt that they are supposed to be Soviet agents.

The first half dozen episodes move along nicely with some reasonably well staged aerial and ground action. A subplot has Stanislaus replaced by a double named Boris. Unfortunately, the last half of the serial degenerates into repetitive round of one car chase and fist fight after another. By the end, we don't much care whether or not the agents are caught. David Chapman points out that the subplot involving Stan's impersonator and the female agent, Laska (or Leska), are based on Blackhawk No. 31.

From a production stand point, the movie is just adequate. The Blackhawks' uniforms look fine, but for aircraft they are reduced to flying a C-45 and AT-11. These are interchanged freely, apparently on the assumption that we will not notice the difference. The aircraft don't even carry the Blackhawk insignia, a puzzle since surely this would have been easy and inexpensive to do. There is actually very little flying. Most of the movement is by foot or automobile. One special effect produces an animated robot flying saucer that attacks the team in the air and on the ground. It's a decent effect, but nothing in the serial compares well to the production of serials like the Flash Gordon movies.

The Blackhawk serial is available from Amazon.com. It is a must buy for the completist. For less dedicated fans, I'd suggest renting it first. 

Click here for a list of references that provide more information about the Blackhawk serial.



Press Book for the Blackhawk MovieEdit

[2](Click on thumbnail picture for large picture)'This is the front page of a four page pressbook for the serial. The studios sent the pressbook to all theaters that booked the serial. The pressbook contained a description of the film and many ads that could be cut out and printed in a newspaper. If you look in a newspaper at the movie section all the ads for films were cut out of pressbooks. The front page carried a reduced copy of the movie poster, the Blackhawk emblem, and slogans that claimed big sales for this movie. The second page (the reverse of this page) provided suggestions to the theater on how to promote the movie, including sales of the comic books in the theater and working with the local distributor of the comic books. It informed him that the local comic distributor had received a promotional package from Hearst Magazines, Inc., the national distributor of Blackhawk to tie into the movie. It reproduced a letter from G.R. Mardcum, Director of Newstand Sales for Hearst, explaining all the things Hearst planned to do to promote the movie. And it also reproduced a camera ready sample of the Blackhawk emblem, as used in the movie, that the theater could reproduce to make it's own promotional materials, and provided suggestions like putting the emblem on the theater employees' uniforms (this was back in the time when they wore uniforms).

'Thanks to David Chapman for providing the press book cover sheet and information about its purpose.'


Back to Blackhawk Home Page 

===Television===== Edit

  • A 1968 "presentation drawing" from Filmation depicts a red-shirted interpretation of Blackhawk and a member of the team fighting a pack of what appears to be four aliens, while Aquaman watches from the foreground. Created during the height of popularity of Filmation's "Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure," the artwork is believed to have been part of an attempt to convince CBS on the animation viability of other DC Comics properties.[39] 
    File:SavageTime.jpg
  • The Justice League episode "The Savage Time" featured appearances by many DC World War II-era heroes, including the Blackhawks. When the Blackhawks join Superman and Hawkgirl in battle, Hawkgirl notices their logo. After Blackhawk salutes Hawkgirl, Superman comments "Friends of yours?", to which Hawkgirl responds "They are now." A lead Blackhawk (presumably Janos Prohaska/Bart Hawk) was voiced by Robert Picardo
  • The Justice League Unlimited episode "I Am Legion" featured a now-elderly Chuck (voiced by Academy Award-nominee Seymour Cassel). According to Chuck, he was the only Blackhawk still living and he was married to Mairzey as the character was in the comic books. It was not revealed how the others died. The episode focused on Lex Luthor, The Key, and Doctor Polaris raiding the decommissioned Blackhawk Island in order to steal the advanced technology the Blackhawks had acquired on various missions and stored there (the only item they do steal is the Spear of Longinus). During a chase through the museum on the island, a statue or mannequin of Lady Blackhawk can be seen. 
  • The Arrow episode "Trust But Verify" featured a private security company called Blackhawk Security. An employee, Theodore Gaynor (played by Ben Browder), was John Diggle (Oliver's bodyguard)'s former commanding officer in Afghanistan. Gaynor led a team of other Blackhawk employees in robbing armored cars, until he was killed by Oliver Queen. Other team members were Paul Knox (played by Colin Lawrence). 



=====Film===== Edit

  • Blackhawk was a 15-part 1952 film serial based on the comic book, produced by Sam Katzman and starring Kirk Alyn as Blackhawk. Alyn had earlier been the first screen Superman. * The Blackhawk squadron appears in the animated DVD movie Justice League: The New Frontier, but the pilots are unnamed. The only spoken line is the cry "Hawk-a-a-a!" from one of the pilots, presumably Blackhawk himself. As in the comic, the squadron intervenes at a crucial point, saving Batman and Green Arrow from being annihilated by the Centre's creatures.

{{Infobox film

| name           = BlackhawkEdit

| image          = Blackhawk (serial).jpgEdit

| image size     = 175pxEdit

| caption        =Edit

| director       = Spencer Gordon Bennet
Fred F. Sears
Edit

| producer       = Sam KatzmanEdit

| writer         = Royal K. Cole
Sherman L. Lowe
George H. Plympton
Will Eisner (characters)
Edit

| narrator       =Edit

| starring       = Kirk Alyn
Carol Forman
John Crawford
Michael Fox
Don C. Harvey
Rick Vallin
Larry Stewart
Edit

| music          = Mischa BakaleinikoffEdit

| cinematography = William WhitleyEdit

| editing        = Earl TurnerEdit

| distributor    = Columbia PicturesEdit

| released       = US 1 July 1952Edit

| runtime        = 15 chapters (242 min) B&WEdit

| country        = United StatesEdit

| language       = EnglishEdit

| budget         =Edit

}}Edit

Blackhawk is a 1952 Columbia movie serial based on the comic book Blackhawk published at the time by Quality Comics. The serial carried the subtitle "Fearless Champion of Freedom"; it was Columbia's 49th serial.[40]Edit

It stars Kirk Alyn as Blackhawk and Carol Forman as the foreign spy that must be stopped from stealing the experimental super-fuel "Element-X"; Alyn and Forman were also the hero and villain of Columbia's earlier Superman. Blackhawk was produced by the famously cheap Sam Katzman and directed by the team of Spencer Gordon Bennet and Fred F. Sears. It is considered relatively cheap and lackluster, made in the waning years of movie serial production.Edit

PlotEdit

A flying squadron of World War II veterans, The International Brotherhood, is a private flying investigative force led by Blackhawk. They uncover a gang of underworld henchmen, led by the notorious foreign spy Laska, who reports to the The Leader, a mystery man. During the a serial's 15 chapters, Blackhawk and his flying squadron set about bringing these criminals to justice.Edit

CastEdit

*Kirk Alyn as Blackhawk, the "Fearless Champion of Freedom"Edit

*Carol Forman as Laska, foreign spy working for The LeaderEdit

*John Crawford as ChuckEdit

*Michael Fox as William Case/The LeaderEdit

*Don Harvey as OlafEdit

*Rick Vallin as Stan (a Blackhawk) and his twin Boris (an agent of The Leader)Edit

*Larry Stewart as AndreEdit

*Weaver Levy as Chop-ChopEdit

*Zon Murray as BorkEdit

*Nick Stuart as CressEdit

*Marshall Reed as AllerEdit

*Pierce Lyden as DykeEdit

* William Fawcett as Dr. RolphEdit

* Rory Mallinson as HodgeEdit

* Frank Ellis as HendricksonEdit


==

===Production===== Edit

Writer George Plympton described a production staff meeting where they listened to a recording of the short-lived Blackhawk radio series. Everyone at the meeting was "aghast at the confusing babble of accents."  For Columbia's serial, all of the Blackhawks speak with standard American accents.[41]Edit

StuntsEdit

In chapter 3 Kirk Alyn performs a potentially dangerous stunt without the use of a stunt double. In order to save the life of squadron member Stan, who's tied to a stake in the path of a taxiing plane, Blackhawk (Alyn) runs up to the vehicle and turns it aside by grabbing the wing. A hidden pilot inside the plane steered it to simulate the movement. When writing this scene, the screenwriters were thinking of a small lighter wood-and-canvas plane, not the heavy metal aircraft used in the final scene; it could have easily killed Alyn if the stunt's timing had gone wrong.[41]Edit

Critical receptionEdit

William C. Cline describes the serial as a "pretty good airplane adventure" in his book In the Nick of Time.[42]  Despite this, Blackhawk was the last aviation serial; fliers  had rapidly become less impressive in American popular culture, and science fiction was taking its place.[41]Edit

Made in the 1950s, Blackhawk was produced after the movie serial's heyday; many from this period were generally inferior to those made in the previous decade. [43]Edit

Chapter titlesEdit

# Distress Call from SpaceEdit

# Blackhawk Traps a TraitorEdit

# In the Enemy's HideoutEdit

# The Iron MonsterEdit

# Human TargetsEdit

# Blackhawk's Leap for LifeEdit

# Mystery FuelEdit

# Blasted from the SkyEdit

# Blackhawk Tempts FateEdit

# Chase for Element XEdit

# Forced DownEdit

# Drums of DoomEdit

# Blackhawk's Daring PlanEdit

# Blackhawk's Wild RideEdit

# The Leader UnmaskedEdit

Source:[44]Edit

ReferencesEdit
===
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ==Further reading==
    • ==Further reading==
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • ==Further reading==
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  2. Murry, Will. "An interview with Chuck 'Blackhawk' Cuidera". Comic Book Marketplace #68, May 1999.
  3. Yronwode, Catherine. "Who's Who: An Interview With Will Eisner". Blackhawk #260 (July 1983). DC Comics.
  4. Schumacher, Michael. Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics. (Bloomsbury USA, 2010). pp. 72–73.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Steranko, Jim. The Steranko History of Comics Volume 2. (Supergraphics, 1972). pp. 52–61.
  6. Evanier, Mark (2001). The Blackhawk Archives Volume 1. Foreward by Mark Evanier. DC Comics. p. 9.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Misiroglu, Gina Renee Misiroglu; Roach, David A. (2005). The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic-Book Icons and Hollywood Heroes. Omnigraphics, Inc. pp. 87–90. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  8. Kahn, Jenette.The 1976 regeneration of Blackhawk was written by Steve Skeates for most of its run, and was edited by Gerry Conway, with assists and story editing by Jack C. Harris. George Evans was the sole artist on the first tale, then he became the finisher over Ric Estrada's art. DC chose to keep this team's true origins (and continuity) a bit mysterious. No doubt the property posed a similar problem to any of DC's other long-running features: how do you explain the true age of these characters if they were active in the 1940s? In 1976, DC's answer was that the Blackhawk team began in the 1950s (1957 if one mirrors the start of their DC career). The 1970s Blackhawks could not have been from Earth-X (which was overtaken by Hitler), and the 1980s revival was later defined as the Earth-One team. "Publishorial: Onward and Upward," DC Comics cover-dated September 1978.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Kooiman, Mike. "Mark Evanier discusses Blackhawk and Plastic Man". "The Quality Companion Companion".
  10. Amash, Jim; Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2010). Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 218–219. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  11. 11.0 11.1 ==Further reading==
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  12. Amash, Jim; Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2010). Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 218–219. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  13. http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/06/09/welcome-to-the-edge/
  14. http://acomicbookblog.com/2011/10/blackhawks-1-review/
  15. http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2012/01/12/dc-comics-in-2012-%e2%80%93-introducing-the-%e2%80%9csecond-wave%e2%80%9d-of-dc-comics-the-new-52/
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Military1
  17. 17.0 17.1 Template:Cite comic
  18. 18.0 18.1 Template:Cite comic
  19. Template:Cite comic
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  21. 21.0 21.1 Template:Cite comic
  22. 22.0 22.1 Template:Cite comic
  23. Template:Cite comic
  24. Template:Cite comic
  25. 25.0 25.1 Template:Cite comic
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  27. 27.0 27.1 Template:Cite comic
  28. Template:Cite comic
  29. Template:Cite comic
  30. Template:Cite comic
  31. Zimmerman, Carla B. "From Chop-Chop to Wu Cheng: The Evolution of the Chinese Character in Blackhawk Comic Books," in Ethnic Images in the Comics, edited by Charles Hardy and Gail F. Stern (The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies,1986) pp. 37–42.
  32. Template:Cite comic
  33. Template:Cite comic
  34. Template:Cite comic
  35. 35.0 35.1 Template:Cite comic
  36. Template:Cite comic
  37. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Blackhawk263Bylines
  38. Template:Cite comic
  39. http://www.aquamanshrine.com/2008/05/aquaman-meets-blackhawks.html
  40. ==Further reading==
    • ==Further reading==
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • ==Further reading==
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 {{cite book===

     | last = HarmonEdit

     | first = JimEdit

     | coauthors= Donald F. GlutEdit

     | authorlink = Jim HarmonEdit

     | title = The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and FuryEdit

     | origyear = 1973Edit

     | publisher = RoutledgeEdit

     | isbn = 978-0-7130-0097-9Edit

     | pages = 161–163Edit

     | chapter = 7. The Aviators "Land That Plane at Once, You Crazy Fool"Edit

    === }}

  42. {{cite book===

     | last = ClineEdit

     | first = William C.Edit

     | title = In the Nick of TimeEdit

     | origyear = 1984Edit

     | publisher = McFarland & Company, Inc.Edit

     | isbn = 0-7864-0471-XEdit

     | page = 27Edit

     | chapter = 2. In Search of AmmunitionEdit

    === }}

  43. Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture - The Decline of the Serial
  44. {{cite book===

     | last = ClineEdit

     | first = William C.Edit

     | title = In the Nick of TimeEdit

     | origyear = 1984Edit

     | publisher = McFarland & Company, Inc.Edit

     | isbn = 0-7864-0471-XEdit

     | pages = 253–254Edit

     | chapter = FilmographyEdit

    === }}

===
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RadioEdit
  • The Blackhawk radio series was broadcast Wednesdays at 5:30pm on ABC from September to December 1950. Michael Fitzmaurice portrayed Blackhawk.
  • =Blackhawk (radio)=
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [3][4]Michael Fitzmaurice had the title role on Blackhawk.

Blackhawk was a 1950 ABC radio series adapted from the long-run Blackhawk comic book about the team of adventurous World War II aviators.

According to broadcasting researcher Harrison Boyd Summers, author of the major reference work, A Thirty-Year History of Programs Carried on National Radio Networks in the United States, 1926-1956Blackhawk was an unsponsored half-hour show that aired on Wednesdays at 5:30pm.[1]

With Michael Fitzmaurice (1908-1967) portraying team leader Blackhawk, the series premiered September 13, 1950 and concluded a few months later on December 27, 1950. That same year, Fitzmaurice did the voice of Superman on ABC.

Radio historian Jim Harmon summoned his memories of the Blackhawk series:

  • I heard the Blackhawk radio show when it was on ABC, probably about every one of its few episodes. Superman was on twice a week, and Blackhawk once a week in that time slot... I do recall Blackhawk had one different companion each episode—sometimes André, sometimes Olaf, etc. But it was the same actor, just changing his accent. The show seemed to be "okay," perhaps actually better than the short-lived half-hour Captain Midnight.[2]

By checking the schedules of the daily "On the Radio" feature in The New York Times, radio researcher Irene Heinstein determined there were 16 episodes in the run, adding, "The programs in that time slot Monday-Friday were: Monday, Space Patrol, Tuesday, Superman, Wednesday, Blackhawk, Thursday, Superman, Friday, Space Patrol. The next listing for Blackhawk should have been January 3, 1951. However, in its time slot appeared Big Jon and Sparky, which held that time slot Monday-Friday throughout January, when I stopped looking. Checking on Monday, January 1, and Tuesday, January 2, Space Patrol and Superman had their final listings in that time slot rotation, which began Monday, September 11, 1950 on WJZ."[2]

  • == =====Novel=======
  • A novel titled Blackhawk by William Rotsler was published in 1982, detailing the team's origin. AUTHOR: William Rotsler

PUBLISHER: Warner Books, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10019

COPYRIGHT: 1982 by DC Comics, Inc.

ISBN: 0-446-30498-0

REVIEW: The story begins with a young Polish pilot fighting against the invading Germans. It recounts the standard origin story for Blackhawk, and then proceeds to describe his creation of the Blackhawk Squadron and its battles against the Nazis.

There are few surprises in the novel. There are several subplots that involve the Black Knights destroying Nazi super weapons like monster tanks and giant bombers. These stories are well told and they are exciting, but not particularly different from the stories found in the comic books.

What the novel does provide is a logical and believable explanation for the logistics of the Blackhawks. How they are funded, supplied, where Blackhawk Island is (one of the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland), and other details that make the Blackhawks real in a way the comics never quite achieved.

The area where the novel fails is character development. We never really get to know any more about them as individuals than we did in the comics (perhaps less than in Mark Evanier's stories, which were published at the same time as the novel). This is a shame. A novel is the one place where we would expect to find some real character development. I would have gladly given up some of the action to find our more about what makes these characters tick.

Despite this flaw, I still highly recommend this book to any serious Blackhawk fan. Apparently, it was not widely distributed even when it was originally published. Now, it is difficult but not impossible to find. I found my copy through on-line book finders.

Click here for another review of the Blackhawk novel, by Dr. Hermes.

=Toys=Edit
  • A limited-edition Blackhawk G.I. Joe action figure was produced in 2002 by Dreams & Visions, licensed by DC Comics and Hasbro. The figure wore the classic blue-black flight uniform from World War II with two additional outfits and accessory sets included: Blackhawk's red and green uniform from the mid to late 1960s, and an Arctic survival uniform in sky blue. * In July 2006 DC Direct released a 6.58" Blackhawk action figure as part of the Series 1 DC: The New Frontier toyline. * In 2009, Mattel released a Blackhawk figure that is part of their Justice League Unlimited toyline. * In 2008, three Blackhawk figures were released for the Heroclix game from Wizkids / NECA. These represent Blackhawk himself, Stanislaus and Hendrickson. All have the standard blue and black squadron uniforms, although only Blackhawk has the hat. Blackhawk and Hendrickson are armed with assault rifles, while Stanislaus is armed with a service revolver. Blackhawk's base has a red edge (Veteran), Hendrickson's has a blue edge (Experienced), and Stanislaus' has a yellow edge (Rookie). All three, not surprisingly, have the "Soldier" keyword, and Blackhawk himself also has the "Leadership" ability. All three figures have the word Blackhawk on the base. 

ImmatationsEdit

Marvel Fanfarirst Appearance: Marvel Fanfare #16 (September 1984). Appearance: Marvel Fanfare #16. Years Active: 1940-1945.

The Sky-Wolves are Skyler "Sky-Wolf" Wolf (a test pilot), Jesse "Little-John" Johns (an escape artist), Sidney "The Gaff" Levine (a special effects scientist who in the modern era was a SHIELD agent), and Matt Slade III (a munitions specialist). In 1940 they are seen fighting against the Nazis, using experimental VTOL planes they call the "Flapjacks." Wolf, Johns, and Levine are hired by Matt Slade II to rescue Matt III from a Nazi prison; Slade III fancies cowboy clothing and a revolver, and when freed joins the Sky-Wolves. Because of the name and the preference in costume, it is likely that Matt Slade III is the grandson of the western hero Matt Slade.

"Sky-Wolf!" "A Fable" featuring Namor.Marvel Fanfare No.s 16 and 17: Sky-wolf

Sep & Oct 1984.

Marv Wolfman, writer; Dave Cockrum, penciler; Joe Sinnot, inker; Andy Yanchus, colorist/letterer; Al Milgrom, editor; Jim Shooter, chief.

A two issue experiment by Marvel Comics. Set during World War II, like Blackhawk, the Sky-wolves were four men who flew modified, jet-powered F5U Flying Flapjacks. The leader was Skyler Wolf (Sky-wolf), a hot test pilot and natural leader. On his team were: Sidney E. Levine (The Gaff), a brilliant scientist who also created Hollywood special effects; Jesse Johns (Littlejohn), an escape artist; and Matt Slade III, son of wealthy industrialist Matt Slade, Jr., who funded and equipped the team. Of course, they were all excellent pilots in addition to their other skills.

In both name and composition, this team was obviously meant to recreate the original Skywolf. However, as that title owed it's lineage to Blackhawk, this one did too.

Both Marv Wolfman and Dave Cockrum had previously worked on Blackhawk, and they created a very workable and enjoyable story in these two issues. There was plenty of action and the kind of fantastic machines we would expect to see in Blackhawk as well. My only quibble is that the supporting characters were developed in more depth than the title character, Sky-wolf. Still, I would have been pleased to have seen more stories in this series, but these two are it.

CLICK HERE to see a painting of the Sky-wolves' F5U Flying Flapjacks, by Dave Cockrum Genre:war Characters:Adolf Hitler (missile resembling him); Matt Slade III; Matt Slade Jr.; Sky-Wolves [Gaff [Sidney E. Levine]; Littlejohn [Jesse Johns]; Sky-Wolf [Skyler Wolf]]

A Blackhawks-style World War II team of aviators/adventurers Characters:General Skul; his daughter Gretchyn Skul; Matt Slade III; Sky-Wolves [Gaff; Littlejohn; Sky-Wolf]; the Steel Commando



SkywolfEdit

This is the picture of Skywolf that appeared 

on the first cover of Air Fighters Comics.

The cover of Sky Wolf #1, Eclipse Comics, March 1988.

In November 1942, Hillman Periodicals put a new comic on the newstands. Air Fighters Comics lead feature was Airboy, but second on the roster was "The Prowling Skywolf." Skywolf wore a white wolf's head like a cowl as his distinguishing emblem. He headed a team of three other flyers: "Cocky Roche, tough little cockney with a quick wit and sharp tongue"; "The Judge, an Englishman rejected by the R.A.F. because of his age...but he can still fly rings around most pilots"; and "The Turtle, brave Pole whose tongue was cut out by the Nazis." They flew strange, impractical looking "semi-planes" that split into two separate aircraft when fighting was required.

As Jim Steranko says in his History of Comics, Vol. 2, "Skywolf was Hillman's answer to Blackhawk. Both took their names from creatures of the animal world. One used the swift, sharp-eyed feathered hunter of the skies, the other, a four-footed predator of the forest. Both flying heroes displayed their symbols prominently, as part of their outfits."

Skywolf made his final flight as a Hillman character in January 1947. The Heap, created as a supporting character in Sky Wolf, outlasted its parent strip and went on to have a distinguished career of its own.

In the 1980's, Eclipse Comics acquired the rights to the Hillman titles and brought back Airboy in his own comic. Skywolf was a continuing character in Airboy . His resemblance to Blackhawk was no longer evident, since his team-mates had all died during WW II. Skywolf was older and had traded his wolf's head cowl for a leather mask and a red wolf's head emblem on his chest. Instead of the unaerodynamic semi-planes, he flew a AH-64 Apache helicopter. He was spun off into his own three book miniseries, for which the cover of issue #1 is shown here. The miniseries was set before the Airboy series, during the French war in Viet Nam. 


Sky WolfEdit

Mikel Midnight notes that another Sky Wolf was published by Lev Gleason's Comic House, Inc. during the 40's. He recently sent me the following: "I finally have a pic of Sky Wolf, from SS #4; don't know what to do about the total lack of similarity between this picture and the description below by Steranko. I have also added a wee bit more detail to the history.

Secret Identity: Paul Storm Costume: Orange garb with a blue mask to hide his identity. Tools & Weapons: Plane which sports a wolf's head symbol on each wing. First Appearance: Silver Streak Comics #4, May 1940 History: A brilliant commercial pilot, Storm was in Poland when it was invaded by the Germans. In a blitzkrieg raid led by Baron Kraft he lost his wife and unborn child. Vowing vengeance he donned a mask, stepped into a specially constructed plane, and became the Sky Wolf. His solo activities in Norrland and across Europe had him battling foes such as the Flying Dragon. His last appearance was in Silver Streak #6."

Mikel sent me an update: I thought you might want this for the page, or at least be interested to see it. It's Richard Boucher's illustration of the character (shown at right), combining Steranko's description with the cover illo.

DLT: There were many flying heroes in the comics during World War II. This character seems to be more an imitator of Skyman than Blackhawk, though his origin is very similar to Blackhawk's. Or, since Gleason's Sky Wolf hit the stands before Blackhawk, perhaps it is Blackhawk's origin that is similar to Sky Wolf's. 





Storm BirdsEdit

Mike Gallaher wrote to tell me about Blackhawk imitators called the Storm Birds, created by famed comics author Alan Moore. I am not sure, but it seems these characters never actually appeared in a comic. They were part of a major project called 'Judgement Day' that Moore had planned but did not produce. Unfortunately, the only referece Mike could find is an interview with Moore conducted by Steve Johnson in 1997, in which Moore mentions the Storm Birds along with a host of other characters. Here's the mention: Well, we've got them, but then again most of those existed previously, but those of the '60's characters like Spice Hunter, The Fisherman and Skipper. There was Black Baron, Uncle Agent, Mark Time the dome engineer, there were the Conquerors of the Uncanny, and of course who could forget the Storm Birds, the fighting aviators of that period.UPDATE: Chris Elam sent me the following information and the picture at right:

Regarding the Stormbirds entry, let me give you a better idea of what Alan Moore was doing. He had taken over writing Image's SUPREME with #41, shortly before Rob Liefeld was forced out of the company. After that happened, Liefeld took all his titles to his own Maximum Press label. All of his publishing efforts later moved to the new "Awesome Entertainment", which had many ups and downs and is more or less defunct now.

ANYWAY, Moore took the Supreme character (another neo-Superman type) and proceeded to build a mythos around him that echoed the Golden and Silver Age Superman. He reworked other characters in Liefeld's stable and created new ones very influenced by DC's favorites.The decision was made to launch a mini-series that would create a "history" for the new Awesome line. Many characters were created for JUDGMENT DAY, which WAS published and used a murder trial to set up this new history.

The Stormbirds were created for this series, but I think they (or rather their leader) first appeared in SUPREME. I can't recall the team itself ever appearing. I went through my comics and here is the breakdown I can offer you. SUPREME #48 - first appearance in a cameo shot 

  1. 49 - appears in a few panels and has a bit of dialogue ; his group is reported to be back at "Stormbird Mountain" at the end (FYI - the "Conquerors of the Uncanny" had an HQ on "Conqueror Island") 
  2. 50 - no appearance - dialogue in a news report says that "Jim Stormbird" and his men reported for duty at the U.N. 
  3. 52a (#52b is a separate issue - long story) - appearance in one panel? (art is unclear) 

JUDGMENT DAY Alpha (#1) - brief mention  Omega (#2) - appears on front and back cover, but ONLY on copies with variant Dave Gibbons cover (each issue of this series had multiple covers ; I think the group's planes appear on this and the previous issue's Gibbons cover, too)  JUDGMENT DAY #3 - one panel cameoMost of the art in these books is so-so at best, being done by Liefeld or someone trying to ape him (there is some good art here and there though). The best picture I can find for you of Stormbird is the design sketch by Rick Veitch that appeared in COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE around 97 or so. I have scanned this pic (I had cut it out, so I can't tell you the precise issue) for you to use if you want.


Trivia Edit

David Chapman sent me this picture of a ring worn by members of the 86th Division during WW II. David discovered this from a news report on a reunion of the 86th Division in St. Louis. In an interview, a member of the 86th stated that he didn't know where the name originated. I suspect they did not choose their name based on the comic book series, but it would be interesting to find out.

Then on 3/1/00, Keith Brooks, Secretary, 86th Blackhawk Division Association, sent me the following information:

BLACK HAWK, the original, and Black Hawk as personified in the officers and men of the 86th Infantry division. This is a picture of the old Indian warrior from whom the fighting 86th took its name. Back in 1837, a delegation of Sauk (or Sac), and Fox Indians, headed by Chief Keokuk went to Washington where, on October 21 of that year, they made a treaty ceding to the United States most of their land in Iowa. Keokuk was accompanied by Black Hawk, whose adventures and warlike character had made him a conspicuous public figure, so much so that the celebrated artist, Charles King, painter of many well-known Indian portraits, induced him to sit for the portrait. The result was this picture, which became one of the celebrated McKenney and Hall collection of Indian portraits. Beneath the original painting is the inscription "MA--KA-TIAME-SHE-KIA-KIAH - Black Hawk, a Sauke Brave".


  • == * ======Awards====== ==

The 1989 series of comics was nominated for the Squiddy Award for New Continuing Series in 1989.[1]

See alsoEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ==Further reading==
    • ==Further reading==
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • ==Further reading==
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  2. Murry, Will. "An interview with Chuck 'Blackhawk' Cuidera". Comic Book Marketplace #68, May 1999.
  3. Yronwode, Catherine. "Who's Who: An Interview With Will Eisner". Blackhawk #260 (July 1983). DC Comics.
  4. Schumacher, Michael. Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics. (Bloomsbury USA, 2010). pp. 72–73.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Steranko, Jim. The Steranko History of Comics Volume 2. (Supergraphics, 1972). pp. 52–61.
  6. Evanier, Mark (2001). The Blackhawk Archives Volume 1. Foreward by Mark Evanier. DC Comics. p. 9.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Misiroglu, Gina Renee Misiroglu; Roach, David A. (2005). The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic-Book Icons and Hollywood Heroes. Omnigraphics, Inc. pp. 87–90. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  8. Kahn, Jenette.The 1976 regeneration of Blackhawk was written by Steve Skeates for most of its run, and was edited by Gerry Conway, with assists and story editing by Jack C. Harris. George Evans was the sole artist on the first tale, then he became the finisher over Ric Estrada's art. DC chose to keep this team's true origins (and continuity) a bit mysterious. No doubt the property posed a similar problem to any of DC's other long-running features: how do you explain the true age of these characters if they were active in the 1940s? In 1976, DC's answer was that the Blackhawk team began in the 1950s (1957 if one mirrors the start of their DC career). The 1970s Blackhawks could not have been from Earth-X (which was overtaken by Hitler), and the 1980s revival was later defined as the Earth-One team. "Publishorial: Onward and Upward," DC Comics cover-dated September 1978.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Kooiman, Mike. "Mark Evanier discusses Blackhawk and Plastic Man". "The Quality Companion Companion".
  10. Amash, Jim; Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2010). Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 218–219. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  11. 11.0 11.1 ==Further reading==
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  12. Amash, Jim; Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2010). Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 218–219. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  13. http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/06/09/welcome-to-the-edge/
  14. http://acomicbookblog.com/2011/10/blackhawks-1-review/
  15. http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2012/01/12/dc-comics-in-2012-%e2%80%93-introducing-the-%e2%80%9csecond-wave%e2%80%9d-of-dc-comics-the-new-52/
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Military1
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  27. 27.0 27.1 Template:Cite comic
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  31. Zimmerman, Carla B. "From Chop-Chop to Wu Cheng: The Evolution of the Chinese Character in Blackhawk Comic Books," in Ethnic Images in the Comics, edited by Charles Hardy and Gail F. Stern (The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies,1986) pp. 37–42.
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  39. http://www.aquamanshrine.com/2008/05/aquaman-meets-blackhawks.html
  40. ==Further reading==
    • ==Further reading==
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    • ==Further reading==
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 {{cite book===

     | last = HarmonEdit

     | first = JimEdit

     | coauthors= Donald F. GlutEdit

     | authorlink = Jim HarmonEdit

     | title = The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and FuryEdit

     | origyear = 1973Edit

     | publisher = RoutledgeEdit

     | isbn = 978-0-7130-0097-9Edit

     | pages = 161–163Edit

     | chapter = 7. The Aviators "Land That Plane at Once, You Crazy Fool"Edit

    === }}

  42. {{cite book===

     | last = ClineEdit

     | first = William C.Edit

     | title = In the Nick of TimeEdit

     | origyear = 1984Edit

     | publisher = McFarland & Company, Inc.Edit

     | isbn = 0-7864-0471-XEdit

     | page = 27Edit

     | chapter = 2. In Search of AmmunitionEdit

    === }}

  43. Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture - The Decline of the Serial
  44. {{cite book===

     | last = ClineEdit

     | first = William C.Edit

     | title = In the Nick of TimeEdit

     | origyear = 1984Edit

     | publisher = McFarland & Company, Inc.Edit

     | isbn = 0-7864-0471-XEdit

     | pages = 253–254Edit

     | chapter = FilmographyEdit

    === }}

==
  •  

    ==Comic Book Marketplace No. 60==

Publication Date: June 1998

Title: Fantastic Fiends & Mad Machines!

Author: Tony Gleeson

The article starts off with a brief rehash of the beginning of Blackhawk. This section even acknowledges some of the darker aspects of the early stories, including the racism, ethnic slurs and sexism that were common fare in the '40s and '50s comics. The majority of the article however is a relaxed, almost chatty, but knowledgable discussion of Reed Crandall's work on issues from the '50s (#42 to 67, skipping only a couple). Some issues merit only a sentence but some get a whole paragraph. Gleeson obviously knows his subject and it is fascinating reading.

Title: R. Crandall

Author: Roger Hill

Hill's article covers the whole of Crandall's career, so Crandall's work on Blackhawk gets only a few paragraphs. Though many fans think of Crandall first when they think of a Blackhawk artist, and Crandall is closely associated with the title, he is perhaps even better known for his work at EC. Certainly he was a vastly talented artist, if a troubled human being, and Hill does a fine job of describing both aspects of the man.

As always with CBM, the articles are lavishly illustrated with both B&W and color reproductions of the original interior and cover art. Since this issue features two articles about Reed Crandall, it is loaded with his work, and that is some of the best ever done for comic books. There is enough beautiful Blackhawk art to satisfy any fan, plus lots of other great Crandall art. The covers are in brilliant color and the B&W is crisp and clear. And, though it has nothing to do with Blackhawk, I enjoyed the Planet Comics coverage, too. 

  • ==Comic Book Marketplace No. 68==

Publication Date: May 1999

Title: An Interview With Chuck "Blackhawk" Cuidera

Author: Will Murry

This article was the first place, as far as I can determine, where the 'common knowledge' that Will Eisner created the Blackhawks was challenged. In an interview conducted by Will Murray, a noted comics and pulps historian, Chuck Cuidera asserted forcefully that he was the creator of Blackhawk and that Eisner had virtually nothing to do with it. Murray's skillful questions spur Cuidera to remember a great many fascinating details about the creation of Blackhawk. He also delves into other mysteries of the early days of comics, such as who created the Blue Beetle.

A side bar explores the interesting connection between Blackhawk and Superman. Most Blackhawk fans know that it was a very successful title in the early '40s, outselling every other comic book except Superman. It even outsold Batman. But this article reveals that the Blackhawk radio series (that premiered on ABC on September 20, 1950, and aired every Wednesday at 5:30 until January 3, 1951) alternated with the Superman radio series, in its last season in 1950-51. The parts of Superman and Blackhawk were played by the same actor, a former Universal contract player named Michael Fizmaurice. Curiously, the next year Kirk Alyn, who had played Superman in two serials, was cast in the role of Blackhawk. 

  •  


Comic Book Price Guide No. 8Edit

Publication Date: Unknown

Title: The Man Behind Torchy

Author: Bill Ward

This is an autobiographical article in which Bill Ward recounts some of his adventures in illustration, including his work on the Blackhawk comic books. He only spends a few paragraphs talking about his work on Blackhawk but they are amusing: "I took naturally to Blackhawk. My training by Jack (Binder) in layout stood me in good stead. All of that practice in inking paid off. They especially liked my covers. I'm especially proud of Military No. 30, a shot of that silly Blackhawk plane coming at you, cannons firing, Blackhawk piloting, Chop-Chop waving his meat cleaver menacingly over his shoulder. (Ed. note: see Military Comics No. 29 for another example of a Bill Ward cover.)I drew that idiotic plane (from the early Military Comics) for years before it was changed to a jet. I used to wonder what nut designed the damn thing. Of course, it could never fly -- ridiculous to think so.

A few years ago I was leafing through a copy of a 1942 "Aerosphere" that I had acquired. Imagine my astonishment . . . there it was, an actual photograph of that same silly plane! Reading on I found it was an experimental model, the Grumman "Skyrocket," that the army had rejected. Can you blame them? . . . but it must have at least flown!" Despite Ward's (unfortunately common) ignorance of the true capabilities of the Skyrocket and the history of how it was chosen as the Blackhawks' mounts, I couldn't help smiling at this story. The article is illustrated with a photograph of the actual XF5F-1 in flight with a caption that says "Grumman 'Skyrocket' XF5F-1. An experimental aircraft with an astonishing resemblance to the Blackhawk plane." 

  •  


Comic Courier No. 6Edit

Publication Date: 1971

Editor: Mark Ammerman

  1. 6 was a Blackhawk issue, according to the editor's comments. It featured a number of Blackhawk illustrations, including the cover (reproduced at right). Most of the artwork was amateurish, but still enjoyable for its fannish enthusiasm. The other Blackhawk content was a short commentary on how the "superhero" Blackhawks was a terrible idea (something with which most fans would agree), a fanfiction story about a man who accidently is sent back to 1941 where he learns the reality of the Blackhawks is not the same as their legend, and a illustrated comic strip that is a pretty decent parody of the superhero Blackhawks.

The writing and art is hardly professional, but it still has a certain charm. And as I said about Comic World, I am amazed at the energy and effort that went into producing a zine like this using typewriters and mimeographs. I know I did the same sort of thing back then, but it is all a vague memory now and I wonder how we did it.

Thanks to Bob Fulker for providing a copy of this zine. 

  •  


Comic World No. 8Edit

Publication Date: 1969?

Title: Blackhawk

Author: Robert Jennings

This article is 36 pages of single-spaced type lightened by a number of illustrations reproducing covers and interior art. It is amazingly dense and detailed in its description of Blackhawk comics. Jennings gives a detailed description of each of the Blackhawks that includes an analysis of their function on the team. The author also discusses the other characters that appeared in the series, including commentary on the many female characters who were attracted to and rejected by Blackhawk. Some of his comments are humorous but accurate. He goes into unusual detail in analyzing the Blackhawks tactics, weapons and equipement, especially their aerial combat techniques. I have not seen this anywhere else and found it very interesting. I enjoyed his discussion of how the location of Blackhawk Island seemed to be the worst kept military secret in history, since any villain seemed able to find it when ever convenient. Jennings gives us informed and thoughtful discussion of the Blackhawks' function in the comic book universe and why Blackhawk was essentially different from the superhero titles. There is a lot more in this article, far too much for me to describe here, but it is well worth reading. I couldn't help but wonder at the dedication and hard work it took to produce something like 'Comic World' in the days before computers and desktop publishing. This, obviously, was a real labor of love for comic books.

The article is generously illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Harry Thomas. The illustrations appear to be copies of the original artwork from the comics (the cover illustration, for example, recreates the cover of Military No. 30, by Bill Ward), but they are very well done and no doubt were easier to reproduce than actual art from the comic books, as shown by the few photographs of covers included in the article. 

  •  


Serial World No. 11Edit

Publication Date: Summer 1977

Title: Blackhawk: A Serial World Filmbook

Author: Eric Hoffman

This article begins with a reasonably accurate and detailed history of the origin of the Blackhawk comic book, including the origin of Blackhawk himself, and a concise account of the comics' development up to the time that the article was published. It is an excellent introduction of the Blackhawks to an audience presumably not familiar with the comics. The majority of the article, of course, is about the Blackhawk serial produced by Columbia in 1952.

The article provides several pages of background material on the cast and production of the movie serial with some interesting quotes from the stars and the directors. It then gives a detailed synopsis for each of the fifteen episodes of the serial. The article is illustrated with publicity stills, each with a caption that identifies both the characters and the actors playing them. 

 


Near Mint No. 10Edit

Publication Date: 1980

Title: A Tribute to Reed Crandall

Author: Jerry Weist

This article is a reprint of an article by Jerry Weist from Squa Tront #4, published in 1969. It gives a brief summary of Crandall's career and includes some reminscences by George Evans of his friendship and association with Crandall. It also includes short comments about Crandall from Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, and Marie Severin. There is a list of comics on which Crandall worked. The zine features a lot of examples of Crandall's art, including a number of interior illustrations and covers for Military/Modern and Blackhawk. The total is rather disjointed, but interesting and worth while for Blackhawk fans. 



Back to Magazine Articles Page

Alter Ego No. 8Edit

Publication Date: 1967?

Title: When Hawkhood Was In Flower

Author: Derrill Rothermich and Roy Thomas

This article begins with the origin of Blackhawk himself, including quotes from the first panels of the first story. It then procedes with a rapid fire summary of each of the first dozen Military Comics elaborated with commentary on the background or merits of the stories. It proceeds to analyze the artwork and writing of the series as it has progressed since those first days. The speak highly of the work of both Chuck Cuidera and Reed Crandall. The authors are obviously fans of the earlier Quality series and do not care much for how the Blackhawks have been portrayed since their move to DC. But they express hope for the direction the series had taken with the 'New Look' introduced in Issue No. 197. I suspect they were disappointed.

The article is illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Biljo White. 

 


Comics Feature No. 19Edit

Publication Date: September 1982

Title: Feature News Preview: Mark Evanier Talks About The Return Of Blackhawk

Author: Uncredited

The title pretty much says it all. This is a two page interview in which Mark Evanier talks about the 1982 relaunch of Blackhawk. Mark's enthusiasm for the project comes through clearly, and it is interesting to read his thoughts on how he intends to handle the characters. He also provides a little background about why the title was revived at that time. 


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