""The Origin of Blackhawk"": Poland 1939: Germany invades, and Nazi Captain Von Tepp leads his famous "Butcher Squadron" against the greatly outnumbered Polish air force. The Poles fight valiantly but are shot from the sky until only one jet-black plane remains. Finally, the lone flyer is over
- ... and as for you, my friend ... when we get to that island, you're going to pay an old debt! .. involving one bombed farmhouse and two dead kids!!
- -- Blackhawk
Appearing in "The Origin of Blackhawk"
- Blackhawk Squadron (First appearance)
- Connie (Only appearance; dies)
- Jack (Only appearance; dies)
- long-range 4-engine bombers
- semi-obsolete Brewster Buffaloes and Bell Airacobras
Synopsis for "The Origin of Blackhawk"
Poland 1939: Germany invades, and Nazi Captain Von Tepp leads his famous "Butcher Squadron" against the greatly outnumbered Polish air force. The Poles fight valiantly but are shot from the sky until only one jet-black plane remains. Finally, the lone flyer is overwhelmed and crashes in a "pancake" landing. He runs for a nearby farmhouse, but Von Tepp dives and drops a bomb on it. The flyer rushes in and calls for Jack and Connie, his brother and sister. Connie is killed instantly, and Jack soon dies, too. Before he goes, Jack asks his brother to get revenge.
Months pass, and a squadron led by the mysterious "Blackhawk" has the Nazis scared. The one question Blackhawk always asks is: where is Von Tepp? Von Tepp hears of this and lays a trap at a comfortable chateau in France with a pretty English nurse as bait. Blackhawk and his men surround the chateau and turn the tables on the Germans. He confronts Von Tepp and there is a brief distracting scuffle, but Blackhawk captures the chateau's German staff. They are blindfolded, packed aboard Blackhawk Squadron's planes (long-range 4-engine bombers), and flown eastward to Blackhawk Island. There, Blackhawk challenges Von Tepp to an aerial duel and gives him his choice of pursuit planes. Von Tepp chooses his plane but secretly loosens the gas petcock on Blackhawk's plane. They shoot it out in the air; Blackhawk gets a fuel-supply problem, crashing his plane into Von Tepp's. Both survive the resulting crash, and Von Tepp is finally killed in a pistol shootout with Blackhawk. Blackhawk sends the nurse back to England, despite the fact that she wants to stay with his unit, and prepares for future attacks against the Germans.
Appearing in Loops & Banks: "Flying With the Red Dragon"
- Loops McCann
- Banks Barrows
- General Cheng
- Japanese military
- U.S. Marine Base, near Chung Sow, China
- Chinese guerilla flying field, near Chung Sow, China
Synopsis for Loops & Banks: "Flying With the Red Dragon"
Two civilian American aviators (Loops McCann and Banks Barrows), at the U.S. Marine base in China, get fired from their test pilot jobs, and go to work for General Cheng, better known as the Red Dragon. They fix up some fighter planes and soon are attacking formations of Japanese bombers. They dogfight with the bombers' escorts and get shot down but are lucky to crash land right next to a hospital where a pretty American nurse can care for their injuries.
Appearing in "Origin of the Blue Tracer"
- William "Wild Bill" Dunn (First appearance)
- Boomerang Jones (First appearance)
- white girl
Synopsis for "Origin of the Blue Tracer"
Captain "Wild Bill" Dunn, an American engineer attached to a British Army scouting division in Ethiopia, is the sole survivor of an ambush. He is found and cared for by a young Australian, Boomerang Jones, another sole survivor, this being of the 25th ANZACs. Both units have been wiped out by the M'Bujies, a race of superbeings, armed with ray-guns, living in an impregnable fortress city, by a nearby volcano called Ras Dashin.
For many months, Dunn puts his engineering skills to work and, using parts from a junkyard full of wrecked military equipment, cobbles together a flying, diving, burrowing, obstacle-climbing vehicle, with amazing capabilities and a million-horse-power engine: the Blue Tracer. He also puts together a super-hero costume and, with Boomerang as his sidekick, attacks the fantastic city of the M'Bujies. The heavily-armored flying tank easily withstands the evil city's antiaircraft barrage; and crashes through the outer defenses. A white girl (who, from where, why?) gets rescued, and the Blue Tracer grinds its own escape tunnel into the neighboring volcanic rock, then flies out through the crater, just before tons of molten lava pour out of the side of Ras Dashin, and consume the fortress city.
Appearing in Archie Atkins: "Episode With a Goat"
- Archie Atkins
- Jack Bailey
- Senussi tribesmen
- Italian soldiers
- Billy the goat (Single appearance)
- Free French soldiers
- British soldiers
Synopsis for Archie Atkins: "Episode With a Goat"
In a Senussi village in Libya, Archie Atkins, desert scout, and two other British soldiers are saved from seemingly-certain doom at the blades of some hostile, Italian-sponsored, Arab tribesmen, by a goat. After a narrow escape and a grueling march through the scorching wasteland, they then join a column of Free French troops, and in a three-day forced march, go back to soundly defeat the Senussi tribesmen and their Italian allies. But when they get back to the British camp, in Gopal, the goat butts their commander, and Archie and his friends are in trouble again.
Appearing in Shot & Shell: "Enlisting the Hard Way"
- Colonel Sam Shot
- Slim Shell
- Herr Von Slobben, Nazi Military Attache
- two hench-spies
- Slim Shell's home-made airplane, (Destroyed)
Synopsis for Shot & Shell: "Enlisting the Hard Way"
At an airshow, two wannabe Army fliers (Colonel Shot & Slim Shell) take their home-built airplane into an Army Air Force formation, and do pretty well until the wings fall off. They parachute to the ground and just happen to land on some German agents (Herr Von Slobben, Nazi Military Attache, and his two aides), thus becoming heroes by accident. They do subdue the agents with some solid punches before the Army shows up to take over. One officer tells them "I must commend your heroic deed to the proper authorities! It's men like you the country needs!"
Appearing in "The Coming of the Yankee Eagle"
- Sam the eagle
- Senator Walter Q Noble
- Von Weissman
- his crew of sleeper agents
- Captain Webb
- Washington DC
- South Atlantic Ocean
- Black Island
- USS America (a Pennsylvania-class battleship)
- small rented speedboat
Synopsis for "The Coming of the Yankee Eagle"
In the South Atlantic Ocean, German sleeper agents take over an American battleship (the USS America), and they maroon the crew, and the whole graduating class of Naval Academy Midshipmen, on the deserted “Black Island.” Meanwhile, the rich playboy son of a U.S. senator hires a boat to follow his pet eagle, Sam, out to sea. The eagle leads him to the stranded sailors, and his tiny speedcraft can carry the first 12 of them to safety. On their way to land, they encounter the stolen battleship (which is returning to shell the desert island), and Jerry whips up an extremely bold plan. He calls a very large flock of seagulls to aggressively attack the under-manned battleship's crew, providing cover while Jerry and a dozen Navy men capture the Nazi leader, Von Weissmann, and then take over the ship. Afterward Jerry asks Captain Webb not to reveal the day's events.
Appearing in "Origin of the Death Patrol"
- Death Patrol (First appearance)
- Del Van Dyne, former airline pilot (First appearance)
- Butch O'Keefe ex-safe-cracker (First appearance)
- Gramps, ex-pickpocket (First appearance)
- Hank, ex-rustler (First appearance)
- Peewee, ex-forger (First appearance) (Dies)
- Slick Ward, ex-con-man (First appearance)
- Colonel Rider
- LaGuardia Field
- southern England
- northern France
Synopsis for "Origin of the Death Patrol"
Taking off from LaGuardia Field, fired airline pilot Del Van Dyne, millionaire owner of his own Stratoliner, gets hijacked by five escaping convicts (all of whom claim to be ace pilots), who order him to fly to Boston. He instead flies to England, and along the way persuades these mugs to fight for the R.A.F., as “a foreign legion of the air.” They arrive in English airspace during a German bombing raid, and manage to take out one Dornier DO-17 by dropping two drums of oil on it, in mid-air. Some R.A.F. officers see this, and are very anxious to recruit all six of them. There is friction between the very stuffy regular military and the unruly convicts, but they get an assignment: capture the complete attack plans from General Von Plump at his HQ in Ostend, and do so in the plane they rode in on.
They fly across the Channel and land near Von Plump's HQ, which is isolated and surprisingly lightly guarded. They break in and steal the plans, but Peewee is shot dead during their escape. On their return, the five surviving adventurers are issued special uniforms, and begin calling themselves the Death Patrol.
Appearing in Miss America: "The Origin of Miss America"
- Miss America (First appearance)
- Joan's newspaper boss
- three thugs (transformed into doves)
- three thugs (transformed into trees)
- two thugs (Dies)
- Mr. Grost, Factory Superintendent
- FBI Chief Inspector
- other agents and cops
Synopsis for Miss America: "The Origin of Miss America"
Reporter Joan Dale visits Bedloe's Island, the home of the Statue of Liberty. While dozing off on a park bench, Joan wishes she had “the powers that the Statue of Liberty must possess,” in order to do some good in the world. She then falls asleep and dreams that the Statue has spoken to her, and given her magic powers. When Joan wakes up, she surprises herself by making a tree disappear; her dream has become reality. Joan hurries back to her office, but along the way encounters a gang of ruffians attacking an old man. Joan gestures, and turns the hoodlums into doves. The grateful man then calls her “the real Miss America,” a name which Joan adopts as her own.
Joan catches up to her boss and receives an assignment, to investigate a munitions factory bombing, in Newark. At the scene, her questions are ignored by the FBI and factory boss, so she investigates on her own, and finds a bomb fragment. As she gazes into it, the image of a large house appears; she recognizes the house and goes there, instantly, in a puff of smoke. She peeks inside the mansion and spots Mr. Grost, the factory boss, laying out new plans for his gang of saboteurs. Their next target is the Burtis Airplane Company. Joan tries again to tell the FBI what she knows, but they again blow her off. She gives up on those dolts, and goes to the Burtis plant herself, that very night, alone. Three thugs jump out to attack her, and she gestures, turning them into trees. She finds two more men planting a bomb, and she gestures, levitating the bomb in pursuit of their fleeing car and blowing it up. She then visits Grost, levitates a pistol out of his hand, and compels him to write out a confession and sign it, and finally she delivers him to the FBI.
She then breaks the Fourth Wall by looking over her shoulder and winking at the reader.
Appearing in "Sink the Kaiser Adolf"
- Captain Foghorn (Single appearance)
- Bob Wayne (Single appearance)
- Dick Martin (Single appearance)
- Freckles (Marmaduke van Weyden (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Sink the Kaiser Adolf"
An American sailing ship (called a "schooner" even though it is drawn as a square-rigged clipper) is outfitted as a disguised warship, a Q-Ship, to fight German naval forces in the North Atlantic and protect convoys.
- This book was first published on May 2, 1941.
- This issue was reprinted in its entirety in Flashback #5 (DynaPubs Enterprises, 1974) and Millennium Edition: Military Comics #1.
- "The Origin of Blackhawk" was reprinted in Secret Origins #6, America at War: The Best of DC War Comics, Blackhawk (Volume 3) #7 and The Blackhawk Archives, Volume One.
- Blackhawk Island is located a long distance east of the chateau in France where Blackhawk captures Von Tepp.
- The Blackhawk unit is equipped with long-range 4-engine bombers, some radial-engine pursuit planes (Brewster Buffaloes?) and some in-line-engine pursuit planes (Bell Airacobras?). No Grumman X4Fs are seen, yet.
- Loops and Banks
- Bob Powell is also credited as Bud Ernest in this issue.
- Yankee Eagle
- Jerry Noble really can talk to his eagle Sam, and to seagulls also.
- Miss America
- Joan Dale wears her regular office clothes and no mask throughout this episode.
- Miss America has so far turned three guys into doves and three guys into trees; we never hear about any of them getting turned back into men. Then she blows up two more saboteurs with their own bomb. Body Count = 8.
- In the final panel, Joan breaks the 4th wall by looking over her shoulder and winking at the reader.
- Includes a one-page feature titled "Sabotage" by Tex Blaisdell and Lane French.
- Includes a two-page text story by Dick Scopes titled "Gone With the Draft", an obvious allusion to the 1936 novel and subsequent film Gone With the Wind.
- The character of Blackhawk and his Blackhawk Squadron proved to be one of the most enduring aviator adventure strips of all time. The team went through several permutations over the years, not all of which were equally popular.
- Write your own review of this comic!
- Discuss Military Comics Vol 1 1 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the Military Comics series
- Images from Military Comics Vol 1 1
- Blackhawk Squadron Recommended Reading
Links and References
- Military Comics series index at Comicbookdb.com
- Military Comics series index at the Grand Comics Database
- Military Comics #1 Aug 1941, entire issue