Sunday, 20 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 6

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 6

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 9

DATELINE
19 May 79

This strip featured alongside The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Moon Ghost, Storm, Tornado's True Tales, Victor Drago, Captain Klep, Big E In Action and Tornado's Gallery of Heroes, with a Tornado's True Tales Cover.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk and his men are sent to Judea, but they are not made to feel welcome.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First part set in Judea.

INFORMATION
The Heights of Hazda are in the desert of Judea. A group of Judean rebels has held out for half a year against a Roman siege.

BLACK HAWK
As a child, he tamed elephants. He has been described as the Hero of Rome. Black Hawk watches as his men undergo combat practice. When an elephant is let loose, he leaps onto its back and tames it. He and his men are ordered to Judea. The journey takes some weeks. The General in Judea orders Black Hawk and his men to make camp out of sight and denies them any food, water or weapons. He follows the bird over the mountain, discovers something useful and sends the worst of the thieves in his ranks on a mission.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE BIRD
The people of Rome have begun saying there is something special about her. She accompanies Black Hawk to Judea and flies over the mountain. He follows her and discovers something useful.

CRASSUS
He and his men watch Black Hawk's men train. Crassus lets an elephant loose on them. He convinces his friends in the senate to send Black Hawk's unit to Judea.

STRONUS
Black Hawk orders him to use his shield as a ramp, which he then uses to jump onto the loose elephant.

BATUS
Black Hawk orders him to use his shield as a ramp, which he then uses to jump onto the loose elephant.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
None.

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
Someone screams "Aieee!" when they see a charging elephant. Black Hawk utters "Haarrr!" and Haaar!

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
There are references that Black Hawk and his have just returned from the German forests and that they have been "taming German barbarians".

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
This part impressively squeezes in an elephant attack, a trip to Judea and an intriguing cliffhanger.

Next Week: The Awful Truth!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 5

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 5

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 8

DATELINE
12 May 79

This issue of Tornado, also contained The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, The Search, Storm, Tornado's True Tales, Victor Drago and Tornado's Gallery of Heroes, all behind a Big E Cover.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk's men survive the fire and return to Rome.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First five page Black Hawk strip, first time Barabba is named and the end of Black Hawk's first mission.

INFORMATION
None.

BLACK HAWK
Inspired by the bird's capture of a mole, he orders his men to dig down and wait for the fire to subside. They escape with only minor burns. They depart for Rome carrying the deceased Legion's standard. The Germanic tribe's chief attacks him and Black Hawk impales him on the standard. Weeks later, they arrive in Rome.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE BIRD
She extinguishes her wings and catches a mole. This inspires Black Hawk to order his men to dig themselves in to escape the fire.

BARABBA
One of Black Hawk's auxiliaries. He plans to arrange Black Hawk's death.

CRASSUS
He presumes Black Hawk and his men are dead. When Black Hawk returns to Rome, he takes the standard to Crassus and encourages his men to eat and drink the centurion's supplies.

DEATHS
Two. The bird kills a mole and Black Hawk stabs the German Chief with the deceased Roman Legion's standard.

BEST LINES
Black Hawk: "What the..? Sands of the desert! The hawk has recovered! She has attacked some prey...A mole!"
Barabba: "It desires some food. That is all!"

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
Barabba screams an "Aiee!" as the Bird knocks him into a bath of water.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Valhalla is the location of the afterlife in Norse mythology.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
After a something and nothing cliffhanger resolution and a brief fight with a German Chief, Black Hawk's first mission comes to an end. Barabba procrastinates about killing Black Hawk and adds no drama to the story at all.

Next Week: The Heights Of Hazda!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 4

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 4

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 7

DATELINE
5 May 79

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk's men clash with German tribesmen, find a Roman legion slain in their camp and are surrounded by flames.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The Bird is now nameless for the first time.

INFORMATION
The Black Forest is home to Germanic tribes.

BLACK HAWK
He leads his men from Rome to the Black Forest. With his men under attack by Germanic tribesmen, he breaks formation and uses a discarded battle-axe to fell a tree containing a pair of archers. This act inspires his men to fight and defeat the Germans. They encounter a Roman camp in a clearing and discover the soldiers have all been killed. As they explore the camp they are surrounded by flames.

OTHER CHARACTERS
THE BIRD
It spots a lookout for a Germanic tribe and alerts Black Hawk to his presence. When the Roman camp in encircled by flames, the Bird's wings catch fire.

DEATHS
At least two. The Roman auxiliaries stab German

BEST LINES
Roman auxiliary (upon seeing a German warrior): "By the pit of Hades...look at the size of them!"

WORST LINES
Black Hawk: "We can also attack!"

Well, yeah.

CATCHPHRASES
German tribesmen shout an "Aieeeeeeeee!", a "Graaaieee!" and an "Aiee!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The Tortoise (or Testudo) Formation sees Roman align their shields to surround themselves with shields on the front, back, sides and top.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
The Black Forest is 634 miles from Rome and would take approximately eleven days.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
Disappointingly, Black Hawk has very quickly gone from Nubian slave to Roman through and through. It would have been nice to see him struggle with the parallels of putting down the Germanic tribes, but there is nothing of the sort here. Instead, this is a big scrap and a fire.

Next Week: Fires Of The Forest!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 3

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 3

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 6

DATELINE
28 Apr 79

This issue of Tornado featured The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, Victor Drago, Storm, Captain Klep and Tornado's Gallery of Heroes with a Storm cover by Ian Kennedy.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk recruits the rest of his men, trains them and leads them out a mission.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First (and probably last) time that the bird is referred to as Scythe-Wing.

INFORMATION
(This strip takes place over the course of three months)

The Valley of the Untouchables is a quarry near Rome where many of the city's outcasts live.

The lands around the Rhine are forests filled with Germanic tribes.

BLACK HAWK
He has successfully recruit fifty men. He recruits more from the Valley of the Untouchables. He returns to Rome to requisition uniforms and weapons for his troops. He spends three months training his men. When word reaches Crassus that two legions have disappeared near the Rhine, he recommends to his general sending Black Hawk's auxiliaries. The general agrees and Black Hawk leads his men toward the Rhine..

OTHER CHARACTERS
SCYTHE-WING
Another name that Black Hawk uses for the Huntress.

CRASSUS
He witnesses Black Hawk requisitioning uniforms and weapons for his men. Three months later he rides out to inspect the troops. When word reaches Crassus that two legions have disappeared near the Rhine, he recommends to his general sending Black Hawk's auxiliaries.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Black Hawk: "Lesson one - a fighting man who loses his temper pretty soon loses his life - and you didn't hold the sword right, soldier."

WORST LINES
Black Hawk: "I said try to kill me, you scum-eared spawn of dust! Are you deaf?"

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Mars was the Roman god of war.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: G.F. Day
Artist: Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
This part sees Black Hawk recruit another fifty men with ease, train them over the course of three months between panels and get an assignment just at the end of that training period. It all flies by pretty quickly and feels a little too straight-forward.

Next Week: Forest Of Death!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 2

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 2

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 5

DATELINE
21 Apr 79

This issue of Tornado also featured The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, Victor Drago, Storm, Captain Klep, Tornado's Gallery of Heroes and a The Angry Planet cover by Ian Kennedy.

PAGE COUNT
4

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
Black Hawk begins his recruitment.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Stronus, Batus and a new Black Hawk logo.

INFORMATION
Gladiators can be bought out of their responsibilities. Condemned men can have their convictions revoked by a tribune.

The Emperor decides who lives and dies at the coliseum.

BLACK HAWK
He seeks men to serve under him at the coliseum. He recruits Batus and Stronus from the coliseum, and a group of condemned men from a hill of execution.

OTHER CHARACTERS
'THE HUNTRESS'
She accompanies Black Hawk in his search for 100 men willing to serve under him. She forces the Emperor into a thumbs up that spares Stronus' life. She leads Black Hawk to a group of condemned men on a hill of execution.

CRASSUS
He follows Black Hawk. He acts as tribune to revoke the punishments of the group of condemned men that Black Hawk seeks to recruit.

BATUS
Ex-Sergeant in the Legions. A forkfighter. He is forced to fight Stronus in the coliseum. He wins and looks to the Emperor, who is forced into a thumbs up by the Huntress that spares Stronus. Black Hawk convinces Batus to join him and buys his release.

STRONUS
Ex-Sergeant in the Legions. A swordsman. He is forced to fight Batus in the coliseum. He loses, but is spared by the Emperor after the intervention of the Huntress. Black Hawk convinces Stronus to join him and buys his release.

THE EMPEROR
He attends a gladiatorial fight at the coliseum. He attempts to give a thumbs down, but the Huntress forces him into a thumbs up.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
None.

WORST LINES
Emperor: "By Zeus!"

It's a bit odd that the Roman Emperor invokes a Greek god.

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Batus means either blackberry bush, raspberry bush or bramble in the Latin. Contrary to popular belief, the emperor did not give a thumbs down (or up for that matter) to a gladiator as a signal to kill his opponent. The emperor would reportedly show an open palm to spare the loser, while a fist meant kill him. If the victor killed his opponent before the emperor gave permission, the gladiator would be put on trial for murder, as only the emperor had the right to condemn a man to death. If this strip is set in 50 A.D., then the emperor is Claudius.

MISTAKES
The first caption states that this strip takes place in 50 AD, which would be a hundred years after Part 1.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Gerry Finley-Day
Artist: Alfonso Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
Another packed part that sees Black Hawk adjust to life in Rome exceptionally well, gives the Huntress plenty to do and makes Crassus a far more complicated villain than he might have originally appeared.

Next Week: Unclean

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Black Hawk, Part 1

For convoluted reasons, here's the first part of Black Hawk...

NAME
Black Hawk, Part 1

FIRST PUBLISHED
Tornado Issue 4

DATELINE
14 Apr 79

This issue of Tornado bore a Black Hawk cover by Alfonso Azpiri and also featured The Angry Planet, The Mind Of Wolfie Smith, Wagner's Walk, Victor Drago, Storm, Captain Klep and Tornado's Gallery of Heroes.

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Black Hawk: The Intergalactic Gladiator.

SYNOPSIS
A dispirited slave has his fortunes turned around by an act of kindness to a desert hawk and mutiny aboard a slave ship.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First Black Hawk strip, first appearances of Black Hawk, the Huntress and Crassus.

INFORMATION
(This strip is set in 50 BC, over the course of more than ten days)

The Roman Empire extends across Europe, Asia Minor and into Africa.

BLACK HAWK
A Nubian. He has been captured by the Romans and feels shame at the dishonour. He saves the desert hawk from being killed by Crassus. A week later he is put about a Roman galley to be taken to Rome. When the Roman's colonial auxiliaries mutiny, he fights back and throws his lot in with the Romans. Governor Marcus appoints him an officer of the Roman auxiliary troops, writing out a scroll just before he dies. As Crassus steals it from the slave, the Huntress steals it from Crassus. Crassus' superior officer chooses to honour Marcus' wishes. The Huntress accompanies him wherever he goes. Three days later, he arrives in Rome and is fed, clothed and put in charge of 100 men, but told he must find the men himself. Many refuse to fight under a Nubian. He is nicknamed Black Hawk by the Romans and decides to take the name and make it his own.

OTHER CHARACTERS
ZEUS
An eagle. The mascot of a Roman legion. The centurion orders that Zeus be let loose on a desert hawk and they fight, but the hawk wins.

'THE HUNTRESS'
Centurion Crassus orders that Zeus be set upon the black desert hawk. They fight and the desert hawk wins. Black Hawk prevents Crassus from killing the hawk and it escapes. A week later, Black Hawk sees the bird again believing it to be what his people call The Huntress, a friend to great warriors.

CRASSUS
Roman centurion. He sets Zeus against the Huntress and is embarrassed when it loses. He is offended when a slave prevents him from killing the victor and embarrassed further when Governor Marcus agrees with the slave. Following the mutiny, he attempts to steal the scroll that governor gave the slave, but the Huntress

GOVERNER MARCUS
Roman governor. He is mortally wounded during the mutiny aboard his galley, but he is so impressed by Black Hawk that he appoints him an officer of the Roman auxiliary troops, writing out a scroll just before he dies.

DEATHS
Many. Zeus the eagle is killed by the Huntress. Several Romans, their auxiliaries and the governor are killed in the mutiny.

BEST LINES
Black Hawk: "Back yo mutinous crocodile dung! Taste the wrath of a free Nubian warrior!"

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
Roman auxiliaries scream "Aieee!" and "Aieeeeeee!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The Nubians are an ethnic group that are originally from what is now northern Sudan and southern Egypt. Zeus is named after the father of the Greek gods. Crassus means Thick in the Latin.

MISTAKES
Technically, the Roman Empire didn't exist in 50BC and in its place would have been the Roman Republic with Julius Caesar as Dictator. Crassus is initially spelt Crasus.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Gerry Finley-Day
Artist: Alfonso Azpiri
Letters: Unknown

REVIEW
Black Hawk has a fascinating beginning and squeezes a lot into those first five pages: slavery, dishonour, mutiny, freedom and all without shying away from the racism inherent in the concept.

Next Week: Legion Of The Damned!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Judge Dredd: 'Any Confessions?'

NAME
Judge Dredd: 'Any Confessions?'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 AD Featuring Judge Dredd Prog 201

DATELINE
28 Feb 81

This prog also featured The Mean Arena, Meltdown Man, Return To Armageddon and Strontium Dog strips, part two of Tharg's Futureworlds Poster and a Judge Dredd cover by Ian Gibson.

PAGE COUNT
7

REPRINTS
The Complete Judge Dredd 19, Judge Dredd's Crime Files 4, Judge Dredd Chronicles Book 25 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 04.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd attempts to have a controversial game show cancelled.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First use of the term "Spont"

INFORMATION
Mega-City One's citiblocks include Jay Silverheels Block, Frankie Joe Haydn Block and Gus Holst Block.

Any Confessions? is a vid-prog game show presented by Corn O'Connor. Contestants competitively confess to crimes to win prizes up to 200,000 credits. Sections include What's My Crime? and Mime That Crime. It reaches number 2 in Mega-City One's TV ratings. Surveillance reveals that the crime rate among future contestants is six times higher than the Mega-City average, however spontaneous confessions are up 4000 per cent and prison admittances have doubled since the show went on air. Following the assassination of Deputy Chief Judge Pepper by a pair of future contestants, the show is cancelled by order of the Supreme Council.

Kneecap testers test kneecaps. A Tando-Chop is a helicopter-style flying vehicle that carries two people.

The Justice Department's spy-in-the-sky surveillance system has at least 774 cameras. Spont is a nickname given to spontaneous confessors. Named Judges: Judge Klugman.


JUDGE DREDD
He dislikes the motive of Any Confessions?, believing it to encourage crime. Dredd arranges for round-the-clock spy-in-the-sky surveillance of all future contestants. It pays off and he interrupts Bern and Mikki Walter in an attempted robbery. He defends the Chief Judge from an assassination attempt by future Any Confessions? contestants. When the Supreme Council bans Any Confessions?, Dredd delivers the relevant documentation personally.

OTHER CHARACTERS
CORN O'CONNOR
Presenter of Any Confessions?

CHARLES & BLENDA DAVENPORT
Contestants on Any Confessions? They confess to multiple vehicle theft. They win the first prize of 200,000 Credits and are arrested for gross vehicle theft, sentenced to eight years in an iso-cube.

IKE & TINA SCHMIDT
Contestants on Any Confessions? They confess to shoplifting, beating up a mock-dog vendor and setting fire to an elevator in the Jay Silverheels Block in 2099 because they weren't given an apartment there. They win a pair of solid golf effect handcuffs as a consolation prize and are arrested, sentenced to at least three years.

ROCKY KNUCKLE
Lives in Mega-City One's District 31. He calls in to Ant Confessions? to feature on the What's My Crime? section of the show. He confesses to, among other things, not paying for his vid calls. He wins 500 creds and is due to be arrested at home and serve between five and ten years in an isolation cube.

BERN & MIKKI WALTER
They have been booked as contestants on Any Confessions? Dredd orders 24 hour surveillance of them and they are apprehended attempting a robbery in the Frankie Joe Haydn Block Plaza. Dredd shoots Bern in the leg and arrests them both.

JEAN & GINO ESCALINO
They have been booked as contestants on Any Confessions? Dredd orders 24 hour surveillance of them and they are apprehended vandalising vehicles in the Gus Holst Block Lower Parking Bays. They are trapped by the attempt at arson. Dredd arrests them both.

BRUTUS & IVY LUPIN
They have been booked as contestants on Any Confessions? They attempt to assassinate the Council of Five from a souped-up Tando-Chop and succeed in killing Judge Pepper. They are trapped by the attempt at arson. Dredd arrests them both.

CHIEF JUDGE GRIFFIN
He is in favour of Any Confessions? remaining on air.

JUDGE McGRUDER
She is in favour of Any Confessions? remaining on air.

JUDGE QUIMBY
He is in favour of Any Confessions? remaining on air.

DEPUTY CHIEF JUDGE PEPPER
He is initially in favour of Any Confessions? remaining on air. After the assassination attempt that leaves him mortally wounded, he changes his mind. He dies.

ARRESTS
Four. The Davenports are arrested for gross vehicle theft and sentenced to eight years in an iso-cube. The Schmidts are arrested and get at least three years. Bern & Mikki Walter are arrested for attempted robbery.

DEATHS
One. Deputy Chief Judge Pepper is shot dead by the Lupins.

BEST LINES
Psi-Judge Ecks (as Judge Pepper lays dying): "I foresaw trouble all along!"

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Game show host O'Connor shares his surname with Des O'Connor, future game show host of Take Your Pick and Countdown.
Judge Klugman is presumably named after the American actor Jack Klugman (1922–2012), best known for playing Quincy in Quincy, M.E. (1976–1983). Jay Silverheels (1912–1980) was a Native American actor who played Tonto in The Lone Ranger from 1949 to 1957. Frankie Joe Haydn refers to the Austrian composer, Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), while Gus Holst is obviously Gustav Holst (1874–1934) was an English composer who was best known for his orchestral suite The Planets, written between 1914 and 1916. Ike and Tina Schmidt share their first names with Ike (1931-2007) and Tina Turner, who together released the singles 'River Deep - Mountain High', 'Nutbush City Limits' and 'Ooh Poo Pah Doo'.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: T.B. Grover
Artist: Emberton
Letters: Tom Frame

REVIEW
Judge Dredd takes another swipe at exploitative reality TV before such a thing really existed and the result is fantastic. The most surprising thing about this strip is that following a potentially tense atomic thriller is that what seems like a jaunty comic one-off then in a marvellous turnabout kills off Deputy Chief Judge Pepper brilliantly in a manner that serves the story, the comedy and remains shocking.

Next Prog: When A Lawmaster Goes Haywire!