Monday, March 25, 2013

Derivative Gentlemen: Black Goliath


Black Goliath #1 (February 1976)
"Black Goliath"
Writer: Tony Isabella
Pencils: George Tuska
Inks: Vince Colletta

Karen: Last time around in our look at derivative characters, Doug and I had to give one of our toughest reviews ever. I think that reading that first issue of She-Hulk, and then trying to write it up, was really one of our most painful blog experiences yet. So I was quite relieved to find that this week's assignment was actually rather entertaining. I wasn't expecting to like Black Goliath #1, but I did.

Doug:  You'll get no argument from me.  I read this for the first time just a couple of weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised.  I've always liked the character, but had never owned an issue of this solo series.

Karen: Now, I had read this book when it originally came out, but I didn't remember it very well when it came time to re-read it for this review. I didn't know what to expect, but let's say my expectations were set pretty low. But writer Tony Isabella does a solid job here, making Bill Foster (aka Black Goliath) a likable hero with just enough problems to make him a true Marvel character. As for the art, well, I have to admit, I've never been a fan of George Tuska's. I don't hate his style, but it just doesn't do anything for me. It's a little too cartoony, in my opinion. But overall, my complaints are minor.

Doug:  I guess I'd go more quirky than cartoony for Tuska.  My main experience with him was in the Champions mag, where he was also inked by Vinnie Colletta.  I've seen some older samples of his work (specifically Avengers #48) and generally liked it.  Tuska is like this for me:  you know how people around here will criticize Mike Grell for continually using "stock poses"?  Tuska has a certain number of shots, poses, and facial expressions that are pretty repetitive.  Like you, I don't hate him -- but he's not going to make my Top 10 list either.


Karen: The story opens with Foster wandering through his old Los Angeles neighborhood, thinking about the days of his youth. Things have changed -and not for the better. As he loses himself in memory, three very cartoonish thugs (Benny and his Jets -I kid you not) begin to follow him. Foster starts to head over to Pop's corner store, thinking to find the kind old man he remembered, only to instead find a scowling proprietor surrounded by some posters apparently touting black militancy (are we to assume that's a picture of Angela Davis behind the new Pops?). I wonder who put this in there -Tuska? It seems really odd. Foster, a bit surprised and dismayed, walks off and right into Benny and his two goons. They grab him and pull a knife on him, and rip off his jacket, exposing his costume. Before they can do much more though, Foster turns the tables on these pathetic losers and shoots up to 15 feet, sending them running.  All but Benny, who Foster grabs and deals with, off-panel. Then he lobs a trash can at the other two, knocking them off their feet.  He hangs them up from a street sign and grabs his overcoat and starts to head off just as the sun rises. He thinks to himself he might have a real talent for sculpture, but he should take off before anyone sees his masterpiece -and then we see what he did with Benny: he wrapped part of a lamp post around him, suspending him high above the ground. Soon after Foster leaves, police and the press show up. Benny refuses to say anything, other than just to get him down!

Doug:  Can I just say that in spite of the "iconic" image of BG on the splash page (it was used in the silly stickers set we looked at last week), it's a waste.  We lose a story page just so they can do the credits in an eye-catching way. 
It actually sort of smacks of the way comics are today with the recap page.

Doug:  I triple-checked the first few pages to see if we are ever told why Foster is wearing his fightin' togs under his trench coat.  We are not.  Don't you just have to laugh when the creators do that, and the skin tight pants and yellow cuffed boots (in this example) are on full display?  Anyway, I've stated before that I always feel a little disoriented when the stories are set on the West Coast, as is the case here.  For you, partner, I'm sure these stories were welcomed.  It's dumb of me, as I've only been to New York City once.  I found the caricatures of "Pops" and the three street goons bordering on reprehensible.  Whereas Bill Foster was drawn as a handsome black man throughout the story (as a Chicago-area guy, I see Gale Sayers when I look at Tuska's Foster), it seems that every other Black man was almost a joke.  The fracas was sort of fun, as we got to see Foster's powers on display right away -- this had been a theme through the Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman books, showing off right from the top.  I love books with giant-sized characters, but as I often complain of, consistency of scale is a major issue.  Hmmm...  come to think of it, when we get to Avengers #'s 139-140 in May, Tuska's the artist there, too!

Karen: I have to agree with you on Tuska's depictions of Foster and the thugs here, and in general, the way he drew African Americans, whether it was in this book, or over in Iron Man, or Power Man, or any of the other titles he worked on: his Black heroes were all quite handsome, but his Black criminals were stereotypically ugly, almost 'Buckwheat' types, big buck teeth, you name it. Now I know it's not unusual for artists to make bad guys look ugly or unattractive but these guys ...I don't know, it just makes me feel uncomfortable.

Doug:  In regard to the Black Power posters at "Pop"'s store, I'll admit that the Angela Davis reference went over my head.  But there's not a doubt that there was a militant vibe in this scene, with Foster's reference to never seeing cops in Watts when he was a kid.  The infamous Watts riots were in 1965; if Marvel time in these days was still roughly akin to a very slow version of real time, we could assume that Foster would have been a young adult during the upheaval.  Obviously, then, when the cops did show up in the neighborhood it wasn't just for a meet-and-greet.  But I have no idea if the inclusion of this scene, subtlely done, yes, would have been a political agenda on the part of Tony Isabella or George Tuska.

Karen: It seemed totally unnecessary to me. Why draw the connection to crime and the Black Power movement? Sure, there were radical groups that were involved in illegal activities, but there was a lot more to the movement than just the Black Panthers. But it's just one panel and we're reading a lot into it. It's more a sign of the times than anything.
Also, it serves to show us what a straight-laced guy Foster is.

Karen: After his little incident with the street thugs, Foster's thinking about all the people who've trusted him and given him a chance when one of those people, Hank Pym, gives him a call. Pym and his wife, Janet, are better known as Yellowjacket and the Wasp. Both are recovering from wounds suffered fighting the Toad in Avengers #137 (a nice bit of continuity) when Pym calls Foster to congratulate him on his return to super-heroing. Pym's been watching the news and has rightly surmised that only a giant could've twisted that lamp post like a pretzel around Benny. But Foster's not so sure he wants to be a super-hero. He's got his hands full running Tony Stark's L.A. labs. There've been attacks on a number of local labs and Foster's worried that his is next. Pym chides him -why not use your super-powers to protect your lab? The call ends, and Foster realizes that he may have been looking at things the wrong way. Still, he's got a big chip on his shoulder, as he feels like the third-string Goliath. First there was Pym, who invented the growth process, then Hawkeye,who used it to become Goliath for awhile. But then Foster came along and used it, primarily to try to win back his girlfriend. He faked being trapped at giant-size to get her sympathy (this all happened in the pages of Power Man). But, during the course of his history recap, we're told that Foster found a way to work out the bugs in Pym's serum, so that it no longer had any of the nasty side effects that plagued Pym over the years.
That's pretty impressive, and gives us an idea of the kind of big brain he's sporting.

Doug:  I also liked the guest appearance of the Pyms, which not only tied this book to the
Avengers stories I mentioned earlier, but was a nice reach back to Foster's original appearances in the Marvel Universe.  Since I'd not read the Power Man stories where Black Goliath first appeared, I was grateful to Tony Isabella for the brief recap.  But hey -- talk about that inferiority complex!  When Foster brags on himself about his power and then says he could hold his own against the entire Circus of Crime...  well la di da!

Karen: Foster can't decide what to do -whether to put on his blue and yellow togs or not. He decides to go see what his "whiz kids" are up to. Frankly this was the weakest part of the story for me. This supporting cast just did nothing for me, but perhaps they might have grown on me later on. I actually did have all five issues of this series but can't recall anything about it. Anyway, Foster steps into the lab and finds the three scientists under his supervision: Herbert Bell, Dale West, and Talia Kruma. I thought it was odd that they were all dressed in skin-tight generic super-hero type outfits rather than in normal clothes and lab coats. West is sort of a trouble-maker and wants to try out a force field vest while the other two think it needs more time to be developed. But Foster indulges West and hi-jinks prevail.
This had the feel of bad sitcom humor and like I said, was the only sour note for me in the story.

Doug:  The lab assistants looked like they would have been more at home in an Archie comic.  I should give out a kudo along with my former criticism of the depiction of Black characters by George Tuska:  Talia Kruma is drawn beautifully.


Karen: After his time in the lab, Foster returns to his office and sees in the paper that another lab has been hit by raiders. That's enough for him. Suddenly he decides that he'll defend his lab as Goliath. I thought this was kind of sudden -after all his equivocating, he just seems to make the decision, but OK. The book wouldn't be much fun if it was the adventures of Bill Foster, lab manager.

Doug:  Yep, one-panel turnaround, basically.


Karen: That night, a bunch of yellow-garbed bad guys gather outside the lab, casing the joint. They turn to a figure in the shadows and ask what to do. Then we get a glimpse of their leader, Atom Smasher.
He's an orange-skinned guy with little atoms spinning around his head. If this wasn't a comic it would seem goofy but I kind of like it. He blasts some guards outside the building and then proceeds to blast a hole in the building. He's not subtle. The robbers are looking for radium, and head for a vault. But just as they round a corner, they run into Foster, just putting on his gloves, finishing his costume. He announces himself as Black Goliath, and says that he knows both parts of the name "belabor the obvious." I thought this might have been Isabella's way of complaining about having to label an African American character "Black" whatever, but then again, this is the man who created Black Lightning, so who knows. Once Goliath is suited up, and the thugs are over their initial shock, the shooting starts. You'd think a giant would be an easy target, but as Goliath explains (thinking to himself), "I just realized why Happy Henry never got so much as nicked by a bullet in all his years as a giant! These guys are shaking so much they can't shoot straight!" That's a bit hard to swallow, but in any case, Goliath knocks the thugs around like ten pins.

Doug:  Nothing screams "stalking the night shadows for radium" like bright yellow body suits with brown sweater vests.  There was a real DC feeling to this first appearance by Atom Smasher and his gang, at least for me.  The half splash of Foster getting his fighting gear on was a pretty cool entrance.  You make a good point on the name of the character -- Black Panther is obvious, as it's what we call the cat.  But all of the others?  It just seems unnecessary.


Doug:  You want to know a strong guy gimmick that I think is just stupid?  Ripping up concrete and shaking it like it's a rug.


Karen: Unfortunately, Atom Smasher has been waiting his turn, and he blasts Goliath in the back, sending him to the floor. As Goliath struggles to recover, Atom Smasher stands over him, his energy building up, about to blast our hero!

Doug:  It's a nifty little cliffhanger.

Karen: I thought this was fairly entertaining, but as I said at the top, I had lowered my expectations coming in. But we get a good idea of who Goliath is and some decent super-hero action at the end. The middle does drag a bit. I looked up the rest of the series on the Comic Book Database (
http://comicbookdb.com) and was surprised to see that Chris Claremont is listed as the writer for the remaining four issues of the series. Now I wish I hadn't sold my issues years ago. I'd like to revisit this and see what it was like. I'm curious what Claremont would have done with the character. I enjoyed Goliath's guest appearances in The Champions and also in the "Project Pegasus" story over in Marvel Two In One (which we reviewed here). He was a rarity in comics; you don't see a lot of African American heroes who are also scientists -well, you don't see a lot of African American heroes, period. But that particular combination is even more difficult to find, especially way back in 1976. It was cool and I thought he was a character with potential, but never realized. I'm still annoyed that Marvel brought him back for Civil War apparently just so they could kill him. He deserved better.

Doug:  This was a book I recall seeing on the spinner racks, but for whatever reason I never picked it up.  It's always been on my Bronze Age wish list, along with titles like Claws of the Cat.  But as we've seen, sometimes adult reality clashes with childhood memories.  I'm like you, though -- this issue was good enough that I would definitely read the other four if given the opportunity.  Now that being said, I must declare that I'd also love to get my hands on Claws of the Cat #2, the only issue I've not read.  But that's mainly to see if it is as gawd-awful as the other three in that short-lived series!

Doug:  I enjoyed Big Bill's adventures from the latter days of the Kooky Quartet, and always felt it was somewhat inspired to take him off the shelf and revitalize him.  I have to wonder if the Los Angeles-based setting for the book sort of doomed him, as it really cut into his interaction with the rest of the MU.  I certainly could have seen this Goliath in the Shooter/Perez Avengers; like you I also really liked his guest appearance in the Champions.  But as I commented at the time, I thought he was very poorly handled in the "Project Pegasus" arc.  They played him as a bumbler, always seeming to act on bravado with an absence of brains.  Which is a pity, because at that point he'd lost some of his dignity in my eyes. 

45 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

I also had all five issues of the original series - I bought cheap back issues (I mean real cheap - I think I paid a buck for the entire run) after becoming interested in the character based on his appearance in the Project Pegasus story. And like Karen, I hardly remember any of it now, except the vague impression that poor BG never seemed to get any respect even in his own series (I think in one issue Stiltman just humiliated him). However, I recall liking that last issue - it was this sort of science-fiction type story with really nice art by Keith Pollard.
By the way, I agree with your comments on the 'black' appellation. There's no reason he couldn't have just been called Goliath. And yes, that goes for Black Lightning as well - I agree that the word Lightning probably needs some kind of adjective, but why not Lightning Bolt? Or even better, Thunderbolt?
Back on topic, I have to say, I've always liked Bill Foster, but he never seemed to live up to his potential under any writer. I kind of regret that Roger Stern didn't bring him into the Avengers during his run on that title - maybe then he would have got some respect, and he wouldn't have been rather pointlessly killed off later.

Edo Bosnar said...

By the way, Doug, if you just want to read that Claws of the Cat #2, you can find it here:
http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com/2011/11/random-reads-owl-and-pussycat-by-fite.html
Although I can understand the need to have the actual book in your hands; as I've said in the comments here before, I wouldn't mind some kind of collection of Cat/Tigra stories from the '70s. In fact, it could be in an Essentials volume that also collects Black Goliath. It could be called "Essential Marvel B-stringers" or "Essential Marvel Great Ideas That Never Lived Up to Their Potential" or something like that...

Inkstained Wretch said...

I gotta say I really like George Tuska's art here: it's nicely detailed, flows well and has a good handle on the perspective issues of drawing a super-size character. Yeah the bad guys are made a little too ugly and stereotyped, but I do think that is balanced by the way he draws Foster himself. I take this just to be the usual visual shorthand of making the bad guys less attractive.

That costume design on the other hand... Yeah, blue and yellow always go together well, but couldn't they have come up with a more unique design? And why the missing section in the front? What is the deal artists have with cutting out whole sections of a costume?

Matt Celis said...

Didn't Claremont send BG off into space? Unless I'm misremembering...series went downhill with the new writer. BG kept losing fights as I recall. It felt to me like his comic book was being sabotaged!

I always liked BG--Bill Foster, rather, as his superhero codename changed to the awful Giant-Man later.

Always enjoy Tuska!

david_b said...

Never had interest in the character, although I like the costume.. Clearly '70s with the collar, mixed with Clint's Goliath color/style, as Instained mentioned, not too much a stretch..

As for the moniker, eh, 'Black Panther' symbolized the costume rather than the man inside, unfortunately it stuck for future superheroes who happen to be black, obviously along with the blaxpoitation kick going on at that time.

I for one always love Colletta inks and how they're clean and soft, the exception being over Perez (on Avengers) and perhaps Sal Buscema, somehow the inks didn't quite jell as well and it weakens the art too much in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I was never disappointed to see Tuska as artist. He wasn’t in the premier league (Adams, Kane, Colan, Miller, etc), but better than Heck, Robbins and a few other criminals. I’d plonk him between Sal B and JR SR, somewhere near Kirby. I like the way he draws muscles. Whereas some artists just draw a really wide upper arm, there’s some sense of anatomy there, biceps & triceps.

Ref. the art on the back characters, it is a bit racist, isn’t it? (Although hoods in 70’s Marvel are usually drawn as broken-brown knuckle-draggers regardless of their skin colour). The way he draws some of these black faces reminds me of Uderzo (i.e. Asterix) which is, of course, meant to be caricature.

Ref.the Watts riots, etc, Bill Foster as an intelligent educated black man was always used to raise those issues. The first time we ever see him, I think he’s attacked by the Sons of the Serpent literally 2 panels later.

Consistency of size is, as you say, often an issue, although it bothers me far less with characters who can change their size at will, as opposed to, say, the Hulk, who in the hands of some artists is a just a very muscular bloke and in others is the width of a bus.

No one commented on BG’s lack of inclusion in the Champions. He was supposed to be one of the original team members. I can’t remember why he was excluded, but Bill Mantlo sneaked him in as a guest star. Might have helped join him up to the Marvel universe a bit more if he’d been a Champ (and certainly couldn’t have done much to shorten their lifespan).

Richard

david_b said...

I loved Tuska on IM.., primarily from the fact he was the IM artist when I started reading. Richard, you mentioned arms, I'd agree, plus I loved how he drew hands and a more-three dimensional framing of people.

I didn't like him as much in the Avengers book or drawing Silver Age Teen Titans, but for heroes that should be drawn bulked-up like Shellhead, Tuska was tops.

dbutler16 said...

I always liked Bill Foster, in spite of the unfortunate Blacksploitation name. He always seemed like a very real character -a bit unsure of himself, trying to prove himself as a superhero. I also like that he started out as Hank Pym's lab assistant.
I also thought it was very brave and noble the way he had achoice between curing himself or Ben Grimm of radiation poisoning, and chose to save Ben. I'm glad they didn't kill him off.

Bruce said...

I've never read these stories, but I'd like to. I just remember Black Goliath from Marvel Two-in-One, and liking him there. I'm surprised he never was used in Marvel Team-Up as one of Spidey's monthly tag team partners.

I have to say, that costume does nothing for me, particularly the ab window. It's like the male version of Power Girl's costume!

Doug said...

Bruce --

Now that's funny! But, he would have to have some pretty large and pronounced abs to be an apt comparison, wouldn't he?

Richard --

Great points about race and about Bill Foster. At some point some sociologist who loves comics will write the definitive book on the topic, and I will buy it. As comics are literature, I don't see why there shouldn't be intelligent conversation on the subject as there is in film, television, and the print media.

Anyone (Edo?) -- was the Super Friends character named Black Vulcan? He was Black, wasn't he?

Oh, and Edo -- thanks for that Claws of the Cat link. I will peruse it at some point in the not-too-distant future.

As to Tuska's art in general: He does move a story along, and as has been mentioned his care toward realistic anatomy is appreciated. He does have a distinctive style, which does fall below my realistic hall-of-fame of the Buscemas, Adams, Aparo, Romita, and Silver Age-era Heck. I'd put Tuska in my "quirky" group with Kirby, Kane, Infantino, and Colan. I really like all of the artists on the latter list (some at certain eras of their careers more than others), but my eye does not see them as in the same style as my first list.

Doug

Karen said...

The midriff cutaway here is perhaps even more puzzling than the one on Ms. Marvel. At least with Clint-Goliath and the bare belly it made more sense, as he wore just sort of a shoulder piece. This is a pure cutout.

Richard, I will shamelessly plug my Champions article in the upcoming Back Issue magazine #65 for the lowdown on the Champs and BG. I really would have liked to have seen him as a full time member of the West Coast Avengers -at least that team, as lame as it was, had some longevity.

I liked Ben Grimm's comment to Foster in that MTIO -"It's pretty obvious you're black, and in Sunday school they taught us Goliath was a bad guy" -so why not take up Giant-Man? Not a perfect name, but better than Black whatever.

Matt Celis said...

As a subscriber to BI, I look forward to your article as well as the article on the Champions.

i would have loved it if Bill Foster took that empty sixth slot on the West Coast Avengers, who were not lame but rather got saddled with very bad writing for their regular series. The miniseries was good. If only Roger Stern would have written both Avengers titles!

Doug said...

Englehart must have been hitting the Maui Wowie HARD during his tenure on the Wackos! Man, that was a bad series.

Doug

Karen said...

The writing AND the Milgrom art -ugh. I really really wanted to like that series -it was set in my back yard! -but I never could get into it. And then Byrne came along, seemingly hell-bent on ruining as many characters as possible...

Bruce said...

Yeah, I'll need to pick up that Back Issue as well, Karen. I recently read The Champions (for the first time) in TPB form, so it's pretty fresh on my mind.

Just my 2 cents, but I don't know that I would read racism into the way the thugs are drawn. I agree they are uncomfortable images to our modern eyes, but Golden Age artists like Tuska often drew generic thugs as cartoonishly ugly, regardless of race. Or maybe I'm just inclined to give the artist the benefit of the doubt - I dunno.

Bruce said...

Really?!? I really liked Englehart's tenure on West Coast Avengers. All the subplots and character interaction - I thought it was a very compelling team book. Just curious - what didn't you like about it? (Hey - maybe that's a blog post someday!)

I have to say I've never be a huge fan of Al Milgrom's art. He knows how to tell a story, but his style never clicked for me.

Matt Celis said...

I quite enjoy Al Milgrom's work. He's not flashy but he got the job done and quite nicely. He drew some of my favorite issues of Avengers.

Doug said...

Bruce --

Too much to write about in a comment. Consider such a post on your horizon!

Matt, Al Milgrom (for me) is to comic book art what Brian Bendis was to comic book writing (at least on the Avengers).

Doug

Ace Frehley Jr said...

The way I remember it...BG gets sent off into space with his girlfriend & her son and they meet a friendly alien and...really, it got pretty bad.

William said...

It's funny, just a few months ago I bought every issue of Black Goliath off of Ebay for a really good price. I even ended up with two copies of #1. I haven't gotten around to reading them all yet, but I'm looking to forward to doing so.

I always liked the character when he would guest star in other comics.

Them killing him off was just another reason (of about 1,000) that I hated Marvel's so-called "Civil War". What a total piece of garbage. I don't even consider it canon as far as I'm concerned. I just imagine that the Marvel Universe branched off into an alternate reality somewhere in the late 1980's and the real MU is still continuing on somewhere.

Matt Celis said...

All i can say is that sounds negative as I don't know anything about Brian Bendis! Sounds like ignorance is bliss in this instance.

Doug said...

Really, Matt, I'm probably being unfair. Milgrom did some nice inks along the way, and for the most part I've enjoyed thumbing through the Guardians of the Galaxy issues from Marvel Presents (I haven't read them yet). I do not care for his art during his Avengers run, and care even less for his stuff with the WACKOS.

Bruce, short take on Englehart's WACKOS tenure: Master Pandemonium, and Ultron uttering the word "Daddy" to Hank Pym. Oh my.

Doug

Anonymous said...

I read Black Goliath #5 many years ago, the issue where he gets zapped into another world/dimension and has to battle a robot just as big as he was.

Gotta admit, I almost cried when the alien (Derath) got killed by the robot. Sniff.

Never been a big fan of Tuska's artwork but it's passable here. He belongs to the workman level of artists, not great but he'll get the job done. Yes the black villains here are too stereotypically cartoonish, but I guess Tuska drew them that way to contrast with Bill Foster.

Personally, I would love to see a new series with Black Goliath. They killed him off in the Civil War series, did they? Hmm maybe Hercules could pull him out of limbo and have a whole new set of adventures! Sorry Amadeus Cho.



- Mike 'Hmm why wasn't Henry Pym called White Goliath?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Edo Bosnar said...

Have to disagree with Ace Jr. about that last issue - as I said in my first comment, I rather enjoyed it (as Mike from T&T apparently did). In fact, it's probably the best issue of the series. I know that's not saying much, but it was a really interesting change of pace: not just the story, but Pollard's art as well. I think it's unfortunate that the series folded before we could see more stories like that one, with more nice art by Pollard.

As for Milgrom, not really a fan - he gets the job done, that's about it. Even so, since Doug brought it up, I like his work on the Guardians in Marvel Presents, although if I recall he correctly there were usually some top-notch inkers working on those stories as well (Pablo Marcos and even Terry Austin I think).
By the way, Doug, Colan and, especially, Kane, are "quirky?" I don't think we have the same definition of that word...

Edo Bosnar said...

Geez, sorry for all double comments on this thread, but just after I hit publish I do a "d'oh!" because I realized I'd forgetten something: to answer your question, Doug, yes, the Super Friends character was named Black Vulcan (when I was a kid I heard it as "Black Falcon"). And yes, obviously, he was Black. Actually, they were going to use Black Lightning, but then changed the name, I think so DC or Hanna-Barbera wouldn't have to pay any royalties to Tony Isabella, who (co)created BL.

By the way, do either of you two have any Black Lightning issues, i.e., are there any plans for reviews of that series? Like with BG, I also had the complete run of BL (also purchased on the cheap in 1980 or '81), and thought it was actually a pretty solid series.

Matt Celis said...

Oh, I wish I had the old Black Lightning series! I had a few issues but half my collection was stolen a few years back.

Karen said...

At one point I did buy a set of Black Lightning books, but I honestly can't recall if I still have them. But if time allows this weekend, I'll climb around in the closet under the stairs and see if I can find them. We do need to review more DC on the blog.

Karen

Doug said...

I don't have any Black Lightning comics, so if Karen finds hers it will be a solo flight.

I don't know how many readers we have who are of African descent (for lack of a better term), but I would be curious to know how many Black BABers would have, as a kid, seen the prefix "Black" as a compliment or as a source of pride. Anyone with any insight, please help us add to this conversation.

Doug

david_b said...

Ok, careening off-tangent here..

WCA was horrible on, oh, dare I count the levels..:

1) As much as I had high hopes for WCA especially after a nice, appetizing limited series and an alright premiere issue, I couldn't buy anymore after the first dozen. The bile in my throat would threaten to choke me whenever I handed over my hard-earned cash each month on lousy covers.

2) Englehart earned my trust during Defenders, CA&F and Avengers, spinning many a good yarn with supporting characters brimming with personalities. He tanked quickly on this title.

3) I.. could.. not..take.. another Milgrom-drawn page.. As Edo summized, it's probably all inker, but mediocre inkers can only do so much.

I picked it up again once Byrne came on, but it was hard to see our Vish lying wire-stranded out on the table.. Was striving for new story material really worth seeing that..?

Matt Celis said...

I would really like some reprints of BLACK GOLIATH! They probably fit Bill Foster's early appearances, all 5 BG issues, and his later MTiO appearances in one Essential volume. Ah, to dream the impossible dream!

And oh, if D.C. would print a Showcase Black Lightning!

I'm not black or African but these guys and Luke Cage are some of my favorites from when I was a lad. Maybe it was the "closest" I could hope to get to a Latin hero.

Edo Bosnar said...

Matt, all of that BG material could fit comfortably into a single Essentials book, and still leave room for something else.
And I love the idea of a Black Lightning Showcase volume, especially if it collected not only the series, but also the shorts from World's Finest and Detective and his appearances in team-up books...

Matt Celis said...

Wouldn't that be great? If Metamorpho was worthy
of an early Showcase volume (great, by the way), why not Black Lightning?

Karen said...

I asked my husband, who is African American, how he had felt as a kid about heroes with the "Black" prefix in their name. He said, "To be honest, it didn't really bother me. I was just happy there were some Black super-heroes!"

I suppose that puts the whole thing in perspective.

Edo Bosnar said...

Karen, must be cool to have a spouse who shares your appreciation of super-hero comics...

Matt Celis said...

Maybe if Luke Cage had adopted the name Black Power Man he could have avoided all those fights with the villainous Power Man who wanted to reclaim his name.

Karen said...

Edo, it is really cool to share comics with him, even though he is more of a DC guy. But nobody's perfect.

david_b said...

Great point, Matt.

Karen, you have MUCH to be thankful for in your spouse.

Mine still calls my Marvel Universe Goliath figure a 'Power Ranger'.......

:(

Karen said...

OH, I am thankful David, although I think he might be more thankful to have a wife who not only understands but encourages him in his comic hobbies!

Doug said...

Before this one's put to bed by Father Time, I thought I'd mention one more Black character that I don't think anyone else mentioned: Aquaman's (quit laughing...) nemesis Black Manta! However, I don't know enough about the character to know if he was always depicted as Black. I believe he is nowadays...

And, to show that there were plenty of folks running around in the Bronze Age with that "Black" prefix who were of the Caucasian Persuasion, we should toast to --

Black Knight
Black Widow
Black Condor
Black Bolt
Black Queen

-- and probably several others that didn't come right off the top of my head.

Thanks to all for making this post's comments section very interesting!

Doug

Doug said...

I must confess to having an "DOH!" moment just now.

While typing that last comment, I was also watching the NBA games tonight. I had to go back and double-check my naming of "Black Manta" as opposed to my fear that I'd said "Black Mamba", which is of course Kobe Bryant's nickname.

But I got it right.

Doug

Matt Celis said...

My wife can now name all the Super Friends and movie Avengers...something she never could have done a few years back!

mr. oyola said...

Hey, just FYI - I recently wrote about the whole Black Goliath series on my blog if anyone wants to check it out: http://themiddlespaces.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/black-goliath-some-black-super-dude/

Karen said...

Enjoyed your write up Mr. Oyola -who knew Goliath would get so much love!

Goldenrulecomics said...

I had known Bill Foster from his appearances in the Avengers before he became Black Goliath, and was excited when this series began. But it really was completely forgettable (though issue No. 5) did have nice art. In many ways he just became a rather generic second-tier superhero who would pop up over the years when I reading comics, and in some of those he was fun.

Doug said...

GRC --

Just before I saw your comment, I was actually looking through the John Byrne-penciled issues of The Champions, several of which prominently featured Black Goliath. There is no reason Big Bill should not have been a star, and it's quite unfortunate that the Champs met their demise shortly after his appearances; seems that might have been a perfect home for him!

Doug

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