Saturday, February 11, 2017

Strike! Black Part 2

Continuing the origin of Strike! Dennis takes the Power Belt out for a test run in Cherry Hill, one of the worst sections in Baltimore.

What happens next? Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Strike! Black Part 1

Over the past few years, to the consternation of older fans, there has been a trend with "mainstream" comic publishers to replace "legacy" characters (who are older established, and usually Caucasian) with either a minority or a woman. Strike!, created by Charles Dixon (writer), Tom Lyle (penciler), Romeo Tanghal (inker) and published by Eclipse Comics in 1987, in some ways could be considered a legacy character with a unique spin, in that both predecessor and newcomer make their first appearance in the first issue of the series. Unlike DC and Marvel Comics, Eclipse did not have established Golden or Silver age characters other than the acquired Air Fighters(Airboy, Valkyrie, Sky Wolf, The Heap, etc) originally published by Hillman Periodicals during World War II. Strike! became only the second comic published by Eclipse to star a Black character(Sabre being the first). Unfortunately, sales on Strike! did not seem to warrant publishing beyond 6 issues and the one shot Strike! VS Sgt. Strike. What a shame.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Dragon's Quest

Comics usually follow the latest fads in society, so it should come as no surprise that publishers jumped on the "Kung Fu Craze" bandwagon. In 1973, the same year Warner Brothers imported King Boxer (also known as Five Fingers of Death) and then released Enter The Dragon,

Marvel debuted The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of KungFu, featuring the son of Fu Manchu as the series protagonist. Iron Fist followed a year later.

In Detective Comics #437 DC Comics had revamped Manhunter, a Golden Age character, complete with a modern outfit and newly acquired martial arts skills. Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter came along in May 1975, just as the "craze" was winding down.

In June 1975, Atlas/Seaboard Comics premiered their martial arts comic, The Hands Of The Dragon. If look and design of the cover look familiar, well, it was no coincidence. A very "off brand" look of Marvel's Master of Kung Fu series.

Atlas/Seaboard was the brainchild of Martin goodman, the founder of Marvel Comics. As the story goes, Goodman wanted revenge on the new owners of Marvel for their reneging on the promise to keep his son Charles "Chip" Goodman installed as the company's editorial director. His plan was to create a new company that would go head-to-head with Marvel, basically "Marvelizing" his line of books. Not the best way to start a company IMHO. Looking back, Atlas' line was more "miss" than "hit", but as a kid during that time, it was very exciting to "get in on the ground floor" of a new comic experience. I don't want to overanalyse Hand Of The Dragon's only outing with a contemporary mindset. There was room for growth, unfortunately, the company folded the series never got that chance. Incidentally, if the artwork looks familiar, that's because it's Canadian artist Jim Craig, who would later if only briefly, take over the art chores on Marvel's Master of Kung Fu series. Man, talk about irony.