Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Paramilitary Heroes - The Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are probably my overall all-time favorite comic book heroes. I grew up during the Silver Age of comics (Golden Age was 1938-55 and Silver Age was 1956-69) and along with Superman and Batman, I always tried to pick up the latest Blackhawk comic with my meager allowance. I liked them because the art really showed distinct characters. I liked the jets they flew and the villains they fought and the various war machines they both used and battled. I also liked that they were distinct personalities and most of them spoke with a distinctive accent. The Blackhawks originally appeared in Military Comics #1 in August 1941 published by Quality Comics. However, by 1956 Quality was folding its tent and as a result DC Comics got a number of their properties, including the Blackhawks, who they continued to publish for some years afterwards. Later there would be a change of uniforms, then a "superhero" phase, and still later they would be reinvented in a couple of different guises. But these are the ones I liked. At top I've shown the original group with the guy on the right as he first appeared as a rather racist caricature of an Asian, and below the later version where he has become a little more PC, although still dressed differently then the rest of the group. As for the figures, from left to right we have Blackhawk himself, the only one with the emblem on his chest, variously reported as an American or Polish freedom fighter; next is Chuck, the American, then Andre the Frenchman, followed by Olaf the Swede, then Stanislaus from Poland, and Hendrickson, who was either a German freedom fighter or Dutch and finally Chop Chop from Nationalist China. As for the figures, the uniformed figures were from Hasbro's Star Wars Imperial Commander, while the heads were as follows: Blackhawk was Kirk from Star Trek the Motion Picture, Chuck was Decker from the same movie, Andre was Ponch from the CHIPS TV show, Olaf was Jon from the same show, Stanislaus was Charles Pizer from the movie Black Hole and Hendrickson was Harry Booth from the same movie. Chop Chop's body was made from various GI Joe and other military figures parts and the head was from a GI Joe Airborne figure. The military caps were either from the Love Boat crew or a GI Joe figure.
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