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For uses of "black mark", see Black mark (disambiguation).
File:Blackmark paperback.JPG
Blackmark is a Bantam Books paperback (Bantam S5871), published January 1971, that is one of the first American graphic novels, predating such seminal works as  Richard Corben's Bloodstar (1976), Jim Steranko's Chandler: Red Tide (1976), Don McGregor & Paul Gulacy's Sabre (Sept. 1978), and Will Eisner's A Contract with God (Oct. 1978). It was conceived and drawn by the veteran comic book artist Gil Kane, and scripted by Archie Goodwin from an outline by Kane.But with a publication date of January, 1971, Blackmark still represented a departure for the American book industry. No previous work of comics had been published in standard paperback form, without having been printed first as magazine cartoons or a syndicated comic strip. What's more, this one wasn't even intended to be funny.

By the early 1970s, the term graphic novel was part of the comics creator’s vernacular; however, it was not used to describe America’s next attempt at a graphic novel, Blackmark (1971). Blackmark was conceived by Gil Kane (aka Eli Katz 1926–2000), written by Archie Goodwin (1937–1998) and illustrated by Kane over uncredited pencil layouts drawn by Kurtzman (Kitchen, 2011). Published by Bantam Books, Blackmark was a 119-page science fiction/sword and sorcery heroic fantasy graphic novel printed in a traditional paperback format. While conceived as the first in a sequence of ongoing graphic novels, sales of the first volume were poor, which led to the cancellation of the series.Ofcourse,ashame,since Blackmark was ahead of it's time,and although not without flaws like anything creative,it had a bold merit,mixing science fiction with sword and sorcery-sort of,luke mark Christ Mythology and the Arthurean Mythology.

== Bantam Books == 



Gil Kane pitched it to Bantam Books as resembling the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, Nyoka the Jungle Girl), which at the time was riding a wave of renewed popularity. It had all the right elements — fantasy, exotic locale, stalwart hero, scantily-dressed fair maiden … Kane even designed the cover to remind readers of the ones Ace Books was then using for novels by Burroughs.Like Harvey Kurtzman (Goodman Beaver) before him, Kane was taking active steps to push the boundaries of his chosen field of creativity. A few years earlier, in His Name Is … Savage, a magazine-formatted (like Vampirella) comic book, he'd broken new ground in hard-boiled storytelling techniques. His later Star Hawks experimented with a two-tier format for daily newspaper comics, allowing greater scope for graphic design.  Unfortunately, most experiments fail. This one was hampered by the fact that, being the first of its kind, Blackmark didn't fit a familiar publishing category. Bantam didn't quite know how to promote it, and retailers weren't sure where to place it. Kane originally intended it as an eight-book series, and even drew the second book in its entirety — but Bantam chose to publish only the first. 

== Marvel Comics == 

Marvel Comics re-formatted the book's 119 pages for reprinting as a four-part serial in the back pages of its magazine-style Savage Sword of Conan, in 1974. Later, it published the second book in the same format, as Marvel Preview #17 (Winter, 1979). Other than that, Blackmark remained out of print for the rest of the 20th century.Associate Professor Matt Thorn, School of Cartoon & Comic Art, Kyoto Seika University, Japan, said of the 1971 paperback: "[I]t's a great read, beautifully illustrated. ... I found the separation of text and images to be no obstacle, and was soon absorbed in the story and art. And speaking of art, this is truly Kane at his finest. Here I think he approaches his own ideal of portraying 'life in motion'. Melodramatic? Cheesy? Maybe.

Blackmark: The Mind Demons by Gil Kane 62 pgs. [reformatted from the original never published 117 pg format.] /Marvel Comics Group Appeared in the magazine Marvel Preview # 17 referred to as "a graphic novel" on the magazine cover.Blackmark,strangely,resembles John Robinson's black outfit in the episode Follow the Leader of Lost in Space.

Blackmark is pulp entertainment at its best".[6]  Critic Randy Lander, in a review of the reissue, said Blackmark "started to push the boundaries of what comics could do. The book does not look particularly revolutionary in 2002, but when you consider that it was created over 30 years ago, this illustrated novel that is a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy genres and is unquestionably aimed at an adult audience, starts to look a lot more impressive. ...Goodwin and Kane take a fairly predictable plot and stock characters and make it a fascinating and twisted ride. ... The material sometimes features cheesy dialogue or veers into melodrama, but mostly it holds up remarkably well. It's hard to argue against the merits of Blackmark. It's a piece of comic-book history, a solidly produced book and an example of work from two of the finest creators to grace the medium".[7]


Comics historian R. C. Harvey notes that "several sequences ... gain enormous power fro the juxtaposition of pictures and prose."[8] Breaking down a four-page scene in which the mother of a six-year-old Blackmark is raped as the child is forced to look on, Harvey observes that,Upon first examination, it would appear that the pictures add nothing to the story that is not present in the words. In fact, in some instances, the pictures repeat information given us in the text. That sort of verbal-visual double exposure normally signals inept use of the medium. But a careful reading ... suggests that Gil Kane's visual treatment has contributed a dimension of horror to the incident that is but hinted at in the accompanying words. ... As scripted by Archie Goodwin, the prose is spare, almost flat: It narrates the action in nearly emotionless, descriptive language.... Kane handles the accompanying visuals with similar restraint. [All but one panel] on the first two pages are closeups ... where the emotional consequences of the action are registered. [The mother's] staring but unseeing eyes and her silent scream convey in an instant all the horror, revulsion, and sense of violation that the otherwise restrained sequence only suggests ... [and] derives a good deal of its power from its contrast to the emotionless context in which it appears."

'== Fantagraphics Books ==



'In 2002, Fantagraphics Books (The Comics Journal, Love & Rockets) reprinted both stories in a 30th anniversary edition. But that, too, is now out of print. The term "graphic novel", while seen in print as early as 1964 in an obscure fan publication, was not in mainstream use in 1971 when Blackmark, a science fiction/sword-and-sorcery adventure, was first published; the back-cover blurb of the February 2002 30th-anniversary edition calls the book, retroactively, "the very first American graphic novel." Blackmark is, objectively, a 119-page story of comic-book art, with captions and word balloons, published in a traditional book format. It is also the first with an original heroic-adventure character conceived expressly for this form. It originally sold for 75 cents, comparable to other paperbacks at the time. The 30th-anniversary edition (ISBN 1-56097-456-7) also includes the planned second book, the 117-page The Mind Demons; an eight-page historical afterword; and the paperback's double-page frontispiece. It does not include the original final page: A full-body shot of Blackmark with sword, and a Kane floating-head self-portrait and one-paragraph biography / afterword. 

==Publication history==

File:Blackmark.jpg
Gil Kane — an established comics artist who helped usher in the Silver Age of comic books with his part in revamping the DC Comics characters Green Lantern and the Atom, and who drew The Amazing Spider-Man during a historically notable 1970s run — had experimented with the graphic novel form with his 1968 black-and-white comics magazine His Name is... Savage, a 40-page espionage thriller also scripted by Goodwin from an outline by Kane. According to Gil Kane in a 1996 interview, Bantam Books CEO Oscar Distel had personally taken Kane's pitch after Kane's attorney had secured him an appointment through a mutual friend of the attorney's and Distel's. Gil Kane went on to say Bantam contracted for four books, and increased the order to eight after Distel saw and liked the completed pages of the first. Gil Kane said Bantam paid him $3,500 for 120 pages (including the cover) all written, drawn and lettered in "camera-ready" form, i.e., in completed form suitable to go immediately to the printing press. Kane recalled having to draw "30 pages in one week. Then I'd have to knock off for a week or two to make some additional money" drawing comic-book stories and, mainly, covers.[1] Goodwin came in, the scripter recalled, at "the 11th hour":Template:Quote The 2002 reissue, in its afterword, credits cartoonist and Mad magazine founder Harvey Kurtzman as laying out a small number of pages, and another major comics artist, Neal Adams, as inking some of Kane's pencil work, both doing so as a favor to help Kane meet his deadlines. Adams' own website, however, states that Adams did not ink but rather "penciled pages 80/81/82/92/98-107 / (total of 14pgs.)"[2] and "Neal penciled 14 pages with Gil Kane inks (pages 80,81,82,92,98-107)".[3] Though Bantam had envisioned a series of eight books, the publisher halted plans after the first sold less well than expected. Gil Kane maintained that,Template:Quote  Gil Kane also partly blamed Tarzan comic strip writer-artist Burne Hogarth, an influential figure in the field, for the series' demise:Template:Quote
File:MarvelPreview17 Blackmark.jpg
 By this time Gil Kane had already completed The Mind Demons, which eventually premiered — with its contents intact but its panel-layout reconfigured — as the 62-page Marvel Comics magazine Marvel Preview #17 (Winter 1979). In an early use of the term, it was called a graphic novel on the cover. The first Blackmark book had already been reprinted by then — similarly with its contents intact but its panel-layout reconfigured — in Marvel's black-and-white comics-magazine omnibus The Savage Sword of Conan #1-4 (Aug. 1974 - Feb. 1975), as the 15-page "Blackmark" and the 14-page "Blackmark (Chapter 2)", "The Testing Of Blackmark", and "Blackmark Triumphant!" Blackmark is unrelated to the music company Black Mark at blackmark.net, or to the fictional insurgent group Blackmark in the TV series Babylon 5.

 

AwardsEdit

The book won its creator, Gil Kane, a Shazam Award for Special Recognition in 1973 "for Blackmark, his paperback comics novel." 

==Critical assessments==Edit

Associate Professor Matt Thorn, School of Cartoon & Comic Art, Kyoto Seika University, Japan, said of the 1971 paperback: "[I]t's a great read, beautifully illustrated. ... I found the separation of text and images to be no obstacle, and was soon absorbed in the story and art. And speaking of art, this is truly Kane at his finest. Here I think he approaches his own ideal of portraying 'life in motion'. Melodramatic? Cheesy? Maybe. Blackmark is pulp entertainment at its best".[4] Critic Randy Lander, in a review of the reissue, said Blackmark "started to push the boundaries of what comics could do. The book does not look particularly revolutionary in 2002, but when you consider that it was created over 30 years ago, this illustrated novel that is a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy genres and is unquestionably aimed at an adult audience, starts to look a lot more impressive. ...Goodwin and Kane take a fairly predictable plot and stock characters and make it a fascinating and twisted ride. ... The material sometimes features cheesy dialogue or veers into melodrama, but mostly it holds up remarkably well. It's hard to argue against the merits of Blackmark. It's a piece of comic-book history, a solidly produced book and an example of work from two of the finest creators to grace the medium".[5] Comics historian R. C. Harvey notes that "several sequences ... gain enormous power fro the juxtaposition of pictures and prose."[6]  Breaking down a four-page scene in which the mother of a six-year-old Blackmark is raped as the child is forced to look on, Harvey observes that,Template:Quote

Original bioEdit

Not included in the reissue is this one-paragraph biography: Template:Quote

Notes'


Buried within my Prince Toreus Rhann concept,is remnants of Gil Kane's Blackmark,which read the one serialized in the pages of Savage Sword and later the Marvel Preview]] #17..The original Toreus the Slayer existed with a similar post holocaust world of mixture of science-fiction and fantasy genres that was I hoped unquestionably aimed at an adult audience.Although,I knew of the Mighty Samson,by one issue,Blackmark and the like of Kamandi influenced the creation of character Toreus,along Burrough's Tarzan and John Carter,Robert E.Howards Conan,plus Gene Roddenberry's pilot Genisis II.In in 1973/1974-the likes of Thundarr the Barbarian didn't exist yet,so no credit can given him-even retroactively.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Template:Cite magazine
  2. "Book Covers and Illustration",  NealAdams.com. WebCitation archive.
  3. "Magazines and Fanzines", NealAdams.com. WebCitation archive.
  4. ==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 | Additional WebCitation archive.
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    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York | Additional  WebCitation archive.
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External linksEdit

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