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“…Achieving Liberal Ends By Fascist Means.” COMICS! Sometimes They Fight To Make Men Free!

John Kane

…and it stank like it something had crawled up it and died! What? I’m on? That’s a bit ahead of schedule. Caught me on the hop a bit there, let’s see what we can do. Hold on…let me check my pockets…right! Harumph! This’ll have to do. Here goes.

Welcome, International Comrades! In this exciting post I will be treating the eyes of all to the sight of many comic covers. Yes! These coruscating covers adorned the 1982-4 run of BLACKHAWK; a run written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Dan Spiegle with back ups from a heavenly host of talents. Pleasure for all viewers ensured as I have mastered the scanner! Technology is yet servant to the flesh! Yes! So, unlike the measly Luis Dominguez scans so unworthy of your mighty gaze these scans provide plenty of artistic acreage for your eyes to graze upon! Also, get ready to meet your new favourite artist Mr. Dan Spiegle! Anyway, this…
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It (BLACKHAWK) was about achieving liberal ends by fascist means.
Howard Victor Chaykin amusingly summing up the concept in Comic Book Artist #5 (2005)

You don’t know this (because you aren’t psychic) but even when you can’t see me I’m working. Sometimes I’m even working at the job I’m paid to do or, on rarer occasions ,working to be a decent father and partner but mostly, let’s face it, I’m working on something to do with comics for you and you only! At the minute I’m invisibly having a pop at something on BLACKHAWK. A bit like I did for John Carter, you know – how it’s changed over the decades. Anyway, I’ve got loads of stuff and it’s all a bit overwhelming but work continues a(snail’s)pace. Don’t, you know, hold your breath or anything is my advice.

So, a I’m ploughing my way through this particular run of comics; a run I was previously unfamiliar with. And what gets me right from the off is the quality of the covers so I thought I’d share ‘em. Now, I don’t want to spoil anything I may later write but this series is solidly written by Mark Evanier in a slightly updated romantic adventure strip style. I like that, that’s pretty good but Dan Spiegle? Dan Spiegle is a revelation. I will come back to this run even if I don’t do the glutton’s portion of BLACKHAWK, and I will do so for Dan Spiegle. No offence to Mark Evanier whose work is sturdy and entertaining but Dan Spiegle is…well, words you know, failure of.

Basically, in case I never finish the writing part I didn’t want these covers to go to waste as some are sizzlers!  and there was a gap in the content. What does nature abhor? A lack of free content! So,  while you probably came for the Chaykin, Kane or Cockrum, I think you may find you stay for the Spiegle.

Anyway, some BLACKHAWK covers for your pleasure.  I hope you enjoy them.

And now, our Feature Presentation:

BLACKHAWK was created by Chuck Cuidera, Bob Powell and Will Eisner.

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Art by Dave Cockrum

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Art by Dave Cockrum

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Art by Dave Cockrum

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Art by Dave Cockrum

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Art by Ed Hannigan & Dave Cockrum

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Art by Ernie  Colon

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Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

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Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

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Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

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Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

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Art by Dave Cockrum

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Art by Howard Victor Chaykin

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Art by Gil Kane

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Art by Gil Kane

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Art by Dan Spiegle

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Art by Dan Spiegle

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Art by Dan Spiegle

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Art by Dan Spiegle

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Art by Dan Spiegle

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Art by Dan Spiegle

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Art by Dan Spiegle

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Art by Gil Kane

Blimey O’Reilly! I think we can safely say those were – COMICS!!!

12 Responses to “ “…Achieving Liberal Ends By Fascist Means.” COMICS! Sometimes They Fight To Make Men Free! ”

  1. Proud to say I bought every one of these off the rack back in the day.

  2. LAST ISSUE #273! 273!!!

    Yeah, those were comics.

  3. I only have a few of these, and I enjoyed them (those really are some beautiful covers), but Evanier and Spiegle’s “Crossfire” is a really great series from around the same time. Excellent stuff, and always a great Hollywood text piece from Evanier. Spiegle’s storytelling is second to none.

  4. Heh. Sort of like the opposite of current American government, “Achieving fascist ends by liberal means.”

  5. Aha! I was wondering what inspired this wave of BLACKHAWK nostalgia. It should have dawned on me that a fair percentage of the covers were by the beloved Gil Kane, and the yet more beloved HVC!

    Also, it might help if somewhere you’d noted that your somewhat cryptic headline derives from a Chaykin comment about BLACKHAWK. (Thanks, Google!) That may have helped derail this thread’s inevitable decline into politicohack garbledygoo.

    Sidebar to Kristin 89: You’re welcome at any time to discover what the term “fascism” actually means. PS: Jonah Goldberg is a know-nothing buffoon!

    Cheers.

  6. Hello all!

    @d: Sing it loud!
    @Jordan Smith: Sure were! LAST ISSUE!
    @Steve Bouvier: I should check Crossfire out, right? I liked Spiegle’s Bat Lash. Yeah, that storytelling is something.

    @Kristin89/@SteveD: Just popping in to say that I have amended the post to clearly indicate the source of the title. I did not do so initially as I usually like people to wonder where they have come from. Bit of fun. This may have been a mistake in this case.

    There was no intention to be politically provocative and I apologise if that was thought to be the case. I just always liked that HVC quote.

    Nice covers though, huh? Thanks all as ever!

  7. OK, I’ll ask. Why is Chop-Chop drawn like that? Not in all of them (that last one seems alright), but most. I know that’s how he was depicted originally, but I have one of my dad’s Blackhawk issues from the ’60s (something w/Lady Blackhawk as Queen Killer Shark, 225 I think), and C-C got to wear the same uniform as everybody else on the team.

  8. @CalvinPitt: Ah, the Chop-Chop question. I am going to answer this one seriously if that’s okay? So bear with me here.

    Firstly, in the actual comic Chop-Chop does not transpose his r’s and l’s and he in no way, shape or form acts like a cheap racial caricature. It’s probably worth my being clear about that to start with.

    So…these Blackhawks aren’t your father’s Blackhawks! Literally. These Blackhawks are on Earth #1. All previous Blackhawk adventures (incl your Dad’s #225) took place on Earth-2 or Earth-X.These Blackhawks are starting from scratch and as such their appearances have not been finalised in the early issues.

    In issue #256’s Blackhawk Bylines (the lettercol) Mark Evanier writes, “Should Chop-Chop be clad in his traditional garb or should he wear the leather-but-we-colour-it-blue uniforms that his teammates have?…So we’re taking the coward’s way out and throwing it open to the floor. How about it? We dressed him that way because he always dressed that way, way back on another Earth where they found humour in racial caricatures. But should Chop-Chop have a new wardrobe?

    Basically then, they started from scratch using the original visuals but things evolved as the series went on. In hewing so closely to the originals though they did leave themselves open to reader’s concerns. Which readers expressed at the time, oh yes. In fact, the letter columns and Mark Evanier’s open and mature dialogue with his readers is one of the highlights of reading these books. And Dan Spiegle.

    Hope that helped and wasn’t too dry.

    Thanks!

  9. John, that absolutely helped. Thank you very much. I had no idea those Silver Age guys were Earth-2. I could have sworn I saw the JLA calling them has-been heroes in an ad once, but the explanation for that almost certainly leads down roads I’m better off not exploring.

    So anyway, the cover for #268, I like that! Yeah, something about them heading straight down, towards those tanks in the background no doubt, really catches my attention. Also, Blackhawk himself looks a little glum, which is not the reaction I’d expect from the lead, but is an understandable one.

  10. @Calvin Pitt: No probs, sir. Although to be fair you probably did see the JLA harshing the Blackhawks out. After all, until Evanier said they were then they weren’t on Earth-2 or X. He does admit his retcon doesn’t explain everything but it explains enough for him…yeah, roads best avoided as you say!

    Yeah, I like #268 but, hmmm, that’s probably not the most efficient way to strafe but, yeah, it is striking. As for Blackhawk’s glum phizzog, well spotted! He is one dour fellow in these books so far. Covers-wise I’m partial to #271 (and HVC’s#260 – naturally!) personally.

    Cheers and the very best to you!

  11. In the Evanier/Spiegle run, there was a running subplot thread addressing “Chop-Chop”‘s secondary status. The team eventually addressed their unthinking discrimination towards him, offering him a full uniform, and giving him leave to fight on the Pacific front after he expressed frustration at fighting only the Europeans’ side of the war.

    Interestingly, there was a letter page where Evanier addressed a Richmond, Va. newspaper editorial where the writer sneered at Evanier’s “politically correct” treatment of Chop-Chop. The editorial writer also made the outrageous claim that the roly-poly, pigtailed, overtly racist caricature from the ’40s was actually more historically accurate!

    So Evanier’s treatment of the character was arguably somewhat progressive. But, on the other hand? “Chop-Chop.”

  12. @SteveD: Oh, thanks for that! I’m only up to 260 and that subplot hasn’t moved from the letters pages to the strip. (Mostly it’s focused on the bromance between BH and Stanislaus. No undercurrents there, kids!)

    Oh, the letter columns are very entertaining aren’t they? I’ll look forward to the highlighting of the Richmond, Va. one!

    Yeah “Chop Chop”? “Chop-Chop”!?!?!? I guess you’re stuck with it if you do the Blackhawks. I always liked HVC’s solution in Blackhawk: Blood And Iron where C-C says, “And you can knock that “Chop Chop” shit off!” And they do. That’s Howard Victor Chaykin for ya!

    Cheers for the info!

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