Monday, March 10, 2014

Number 1539: Blackhawk and the hatchets of Hongo

This is day two of our Week of Quality, today featuring Quality’s long-running and successful leatherboys, Blackhawk and his gang.

Sinister “orientals” who use hatchets for murder (shades of the lurid tales of Tong wars and hatchet killers from tabloids and pulps of the first half of the twentieth century!), and who extort honest silk dealers are the villains. But unlike the grotesque stereotype of Chop-Chop, the comedy relief of the Blackhawk team, these Asians are at least presented as looking human. Or at least more human than Chop-Chop (or the stereotyped Connie or Big Stoop from Terry and the Pirates.) The Chop-Chop caricature was later toned down, but when this story was published in Blackhawk #15 (1946), he was a clownish and freakish little fat man speaking pidgin English. My apologies to those among you who may be offended.

The Grand Comics Database credits Harry Harrison for the pencils, but doesn’t make a guess as to an inker.


Daniel [] said...

“Leatherboys”?!? You know, I just never made the connection concerning the Finnish Blackhawk, Touko (a.k.a. “Tom”)!

Anyway, the … boys aren't in their best form here. They arrive for their secret mission in Radien disguised as … Blackhawks. They manage to save exactly no one of those who try to talk to them. They succeed by coming upon the villain's lair fortuitously at the same time. After all but the ring-leader are thoroughly punched, only Blackhawk himself goes after that leader, or even notices his escape, as Andrè the other boys are too busy doing a sack-dance.

The art by Harrison isn't bad, but I'd never have wanted to follow Reed Crandall.

Pappy said...

We should ask Martin O'Hearn of the Who Created the Comic Books blog to fill us in on who wrote the script, full of those "What th — ?!" moments you have listed. William Woolfolk wrote a lot of Blackhawk stories in his time.

Yes, "leatherboys." Someone (probably Will Eisner) who designed the Blackhawk uniforms in those early days of World War II may have asked, "Why should the Nazis have all the cool gear?" so he put the Blackhawk in leather, looking almost as Nazi as the Nazis they were originally fighting.