Friday, December 28, 2018

"The End" Week: Blackhawk #273!

I know I've bought this issue twice, as I come across it, but had I read it yet? Let's see. From 1984, Blackhawk #273, "No Information Available at Press Time!" Written by Mark Evanier, art by Dan Spiegle; and "Deserter!" Written by Mark Evanier, pencils by Mike Sekowsky, inks by Richard Howell.

The Gil Kane cover is nice, if not at all indicative of the inside story; and the "Final Mission?" blurb is a bit misleading, since this was set fifteen months before Pearl Harbor. Reporter Ginny Mueller wants to follow a story with the Blackhawks in China; they're looking for their man Chop-Chop, who's been fighting a one-man rebellion against the Japanese. He managed to destroy some blueprints and set them back, but they had completed a new weapon, a massive dragon-tank! The Japanese had captured Chop-Chop and his girl, to lure in Blackhawk, to kill him as part of their deal with Germany. They had even called in the press to cover it, which is how Blackhawk realizes it's a trap--right before it's sprung!

Chop-Chop, who does all the heavy lifting this issue, lures the tank into firing at explosives and blowing itself up, then returns to the Blackhawk roster. Ginny is left without a story, since Blackhawk tells her they have to figure out who leaked that info, hence "No information available at press time."

Mark Evanier has other writing credits, yet I'm most familiar with his long run editing Sergio Aragon├ęs Groo. The letters page has a piece from him that mentions he was the book's current editor, but had to fire himself as writer, which in turn caused Spiegle to quit; but DC cancelled Blackhawk before Bill Dubay and Carmine Infantino could take over. He also suggests a new fan look into back issues, but keep it under his hat, as to not drive up prices: "I made the big mistake of opening my cavernous mouth about how good old Fox and Crow comics were...then ZOOM!" Meanwhile, I'm not sure Blackhawk appeared again until Howard Chaykin's miniseries in 1988. No, he probably was in Crisis, wasn't he? He still turns up here and there, and DC's tried to repurpose the name with the New 52. He'll be back.

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