Thursday, 21 February 2013

Harlem Heroes, Part 22

NAME
Harlem Heroes, Part 22
(according to Wikipedia, this is the first part of a strip also known as 'The Bushido Blades')

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 22

DATELINE
23 July 77

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Sam Slade Robo-Hunter (Volume 2, Issue 18), 2000AD Extreme Edition 13 and The Complete Harlem Heroes.

SYNOPSIS
The Harlem Heroes play the Bushido Blades.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First and last strip to feature work by Unknown.

INFORMATION
Tokyo has at least five airports.

Aeroballs are filled with helium and are launched at a hundred miles per hour during the blast off. Rule change 30 allows the use of wooden implements to hit the ball. The Japanese version of aeroball only has one score-hole.

The Bushido Blades play their home games at The Palace of Sport in Tokyo. They dress like Samurai warriors and carry wooden Kendo swords during the Aeroball matches.

GIANT
He is appalled when Ulysses Cord attempts to bribe the Harlem Heroes.

SLIM
He is apparently mrried and has an ugly mother-in-law. He takes the blast off for the Harlem Heroes.

OTHER CHARACTERS
ULYSSES CORD
He attempts to bribe the Harlem Heroes into using spike punch gloves and helmets. Giant refuses.

HOJO
He is the captain of the Bushido Blades.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Bushido Blades Fan: "Death to the upstarts of Harlem!"

I don't know why I love that line.

WORST LINES
Unidentified Harlem Hero: "Uhuh, I sure hope we've seen the last of that crazy killer."

Well, obviously you do.

CATCHPHRASES
Hojo gives us a "Banzai!" Also the word Japs is used five times, while not out of place in a comic set in World War II (or possibly sadly 1977), it's an unfortunate part of the vocabulary for circa 2050.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Samurai cinema, such as Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961).

MISTAKES
Why would there be multiple versions of aeroball played within a single World Championship? It seems unlikely that house rules would be permitted.

The first line is "Tokyo's fifth airport, 2,000 A.D.", the year cannot be "2,000 A.D." since the Trans-Atlantic Tunnel was finished in 2050. Presumably "Tokyo's fifth airport, 2,000 A.D." means that Tokyo's fifth airport is called 2,000 A.D., and maybe named after the year it was built or maybe even a certain comic.

RETROSPECT
In 1981, there was a film called The Bushido Blade. I don't think it features jet-packs.

NOTES
Bushido means "the way of the warrior" in Japanese.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Tom Tully
Artist: Dave Gibbons & Unknown
Letters: Dave Gibbons & Unknown

REVIEW
This part ticks along nicely and the last page is beautiful, but the cliffhanger isn't particularly thrilling. The conspiracy subplot is parked somewhat and as long as Ulysses Cord isn't the shadowy figure behind Artie Gruber this is going to build to something great.

Here Comes The Heroes + + + Fighters To The Last
Don't Miss Our Next Prog + + + The Flyin's Hard 'N' Fast.
Don't Miss Our Next Post + + + The Flyin's Hard 'N' Fast.