The Blackhawks of Earth-One

Fourth Era: The 1980s

Created by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle

FIRST APPEARANCE: Blackhawk #251 (Oct. 1982)

History

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, 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

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).

 
I'd love to find the original art showing Von Tepp, ... anyone?

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.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • All-Star Squadron #48-50
  • DC Comics Presents
  • #69

» SERIES:

  • Blackhawk #251-273 (1982-84)