Monday, January 18, 2016

Sales were around the 100,000 mark; better get a Venom appearance in there quick!

Over two years ago, we took a look at an appearance by Venom that may have been intended to limit his exposure, so today we've got one that came almost two years later, and may have been the start of a ton of appearances for him: from 1992, Darkhawk #13, "Heart of the Hawk, part IV: Journey" Written by Danny Fingeroth, pencils by Mike Manley, inks by Ricardo Villagran.

That's actually not a bad recap page, for a monthly book: it would be a touch redundant collected in a trade, but the creators almost assuredly weren't planning ahead for that.

Rookie hero Chris Powell isn't having a good day as Darkhawk, since he's had the amulet that gave him his powers ripped out of his chest by Tombstone. (Tombstone had been introduced in 1988, and was still a relatively new villain.) But that's not even the worst of his problems, since he still had the mystery of the armored Savage Steel, and mob boss Philippe Bazin was still trying to have Chris's mom killed, revenge over her successfully prosecuting his murder trial. Chris's dad had been kidnapped in Bazin's escape from prison, which was his priority, if he could keep from dying. After a visit to try and get information about the Darkhawk armor at the amusement park where he found the amulet, Chris works over a snitch, to find Bazin was having some of his things sent to an island in the Caribbean. Stowing away aboard the cargo plane, Darkhawk is discovered when Bazin's men get a message they had not picked up a favorite statue of their bosses. Which is just as well, since the plane crashes during the fight.

Bazin's men are "charred remains" by the time Darkhawk lurches out of the wreckage, where he's immediately attacked by Venom! Darkhawk recognizes him from the papers, but has no idea what he's doing there, and Venom's speech patterns don't help either: Venom says Darkhawk must die to protect "our" privacy, meaning Eddie Brock and the symbiote, but Darkhawk wonders if Venom is working for Bazin or something. He does have the good sense not to correct Venom about killing Spider-Man, though; as Darkhawk steels himself to go out fighting and take Venom with him!

Owtch! I kinda like that one.

I didn't read this title at the time, and some of it is completely boiler-plate Marvel standard: Darkhawk, Nova, Speedball, Sleepwalker, probably all the way to the new Ms. Marvel; all take a lot from classic Spider-Man comics. But it's a perfectly fine, mid-level title that you don't see anymore. It would run for fifty issues, you don't see that anymore, either. Checking this issue's U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation; line C. Total Paid and/or requested Circulation...Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 98,611. Average no copies single issue nearest to filing date: 185,500. Woof, you don't see that enough anymore, either. Going off Comichron's November 2015 numbers, 98 thousand in sales would be the number 14 title; just behind Batman!


SallyP said...

Boy, those giant clunky shoulder pad things were annoying.

Dale Bagwell said...

What's really sad and sobering about those numbers is how many editors would KILL to have these numbers now, but back then it was cause for concern. So yeah, time to bring in Venom... Who'd be a guaranteed sales booster much like Wolverine, Ghost Rider and the Punisher... Up until say '95. Except for Logan of course.

Darkhawk should be allowed to come back though. I know he appeared during the whole Avengers acadamy Hunger Games thing, but he's a solid enough character to warrant a return. A fucking ML figure too!