Friday, February 27, 2009

Blackhawk down!

Twelve hours until WonderCon... oh, frabjous day!

(That peculiar noise you hear is me, chortling in my joy.)

While I'm away immersing myself in the West Coast's second-largest annual comics-related event, please enjoy this second of two entries in my Bombshells! theme gallery by longtime Flash and Legion of Super-Heroes artist Greg LaRocque. (You can see Greg's first Bombshell! in last week's Comic Art Friday entry, assuming you didn't already.)

Say hello to Zinda Blake, better known to the world as Lady Blackhawk.

Before I can explain much about Zinda, I have to mention something about Blackhawk, probably the most successful example of the venerable genre of aviator heroes. Blackhawk and his squadron of internationally diverse pilots — American, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, and Chinese — burst onto the scene to dogfight against the Axis Powers in Military Comics #1 (August 1941). They continued the battle long after World War II ended, headlining their own comic until the 1980s.

The lone female Blackhawk (the name applied equally to the squadron's leader, originally a Polish aviator who later was identified as an American of Polish heritage, and its members collectively) first appeared in Military Comics #20 (July 1943). She didn't show up again, much less join the Blackhawk boys permanently — or, for that matter, reveal her name — until 1959's Blackhawk #133. At that point, Zinda adopts the moniker Lady Blackhawk, and so she is primarily known to this day.

As a result of some wacky time-warping folderol that occurred during DC Comics' Zero Hour storyline in 1994, Zinda remains today as fresh, youthful, and pulchritudinous as she did in her original appearances. Nice trick, if you can swing it.

These days, Lady Blackhawk fights crime as a key member of the all-female superhero team Birds of Prey. Zinda, in fact, is the member who gives the group its nom de guerre, doubtless as a nod to her former compatriots in Blackhawk Squadron, whose uniform she still wears.

If you ever need to fly someplace in a jiffy, and you don't feel like hanging around the airport for a commercial connection, Zinda's your gal.

Me, I'm off to WonderCon.

And that's your Comic Art Friday.


4 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Avitable offered these pearls of wisdom...

Zinda's a bad ass in Birds of Prey. Too bad the book's ended now.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Nick Ahlhelm offered these pearls of wisdom...

I wish Greg LaRocque would come back to comics with a serious project. His art has grown more and more gorgeous since his Flash days.

And I would love to see DC take another stab at Blackhawk. What a great concept that they just can't seem to use right.

4:52 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Avitable: Sadly for me, I came back to reading comics at a point when Birds of Prey was already in full swing. I never made the effort to jump into it midstream -- even though Gail Simone is one of my favorites among the current crop of writers.

I should check out some of the trade volumes. Birds of Prey seems like the kind of thing I would enjoy.

11:31 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Nick: I agree with you on both counts.

LaRocque is a more fully developed artist today than in his DC heyday. He's one of a number of artists I could name that it's criminal to see on the comics sidelines when hordes of talentless hacks are getting regular work in the industry.

It would be fun to see a solid creative team take a fresh stab at a Blackhawk series. We can never have enough magnificent men in flying machines.

11:36 AM  

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