Friday, October 11, 2013

Number 1452: The Blackhawk team’s transition

When Everett “Busy” Arnold sold his Quality Comics characters to DC (then called National Comics Publications), how did it work? Comic books were in the doldrums, several companies had gone out of business. There wasn’t really a huge market where Arnold could have his rivals bidding for his successful titles, like Blackhawk. Did Arnold contact DC and offer to sell, or was it the other way around? What do Blackhawks go for, anyway? What was the price? I don’t know, and have never read anything about the business transaction that sent Blackhawk from Quality to DC. (Quality sold other titles and characters, but for this post I’m only concerned with Blackhawk.)

For the readers the transition was seamless. One month they were reading Blackhawk #107 (dated December 1956) under the Quality label, next month they were reading DC’s Blackhawk #108 (January, 1957). There were some cosmetic changes. In my opinion DC’s coloring looks kind of muddy compared to Quality. I’m showing the very last story in Blackhawk #107, and the first story from #108. The art team remained the same, and that must have been a good deal for Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera, who were the Blackhawk artists. In those days comic artists were lucky to pick up work, so they probably jumped at the chance of a steady gig at DC as opposed to scrounging for work in the wasteland that was left after the comic book crash of the mid-fifties.


jim said...

You're right. Like everything else at DC, even their coloring was more "square". The last Quality Blackhawk story color is much more vibrant.

Daniel [] said...

What I'd like to see — but may not be worth anyone's time to assemble — would be a complete sequential presentation of every image of Chop Chop, or at least of one image from every story in which he appeared.

Yeah, many of us would be wincing through most of it. But it would say something about the evolution of attitudes towards race.

(Chop Chop didn't appear on my radar until Blackhawk #231, in which he had become Dr. Hands — which is to say a politically correct stereotype for the late mid-'60s.)

Darci said...

With your title and choice of art, I thought this was going to be about the Blackhawks' transition from the Grumman F5F to the Republic F-84...