Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Put it to music and you've got a guaranteed hit, believe you me.

I've previously pitched the above cover, for Blackhawk No.199 (August 1964, advertising a story dubbed "The Attack of the Mummy Insects") as being my favorite gloriously weird cover of the entirety of comicdom. It's so much of a perfect storm - the multi-tiered cavalcade of weirdness, the miniature story as told in a succession of comic panels, and the taxonomy of the mummy insects - surely ALL mummy insects are "weird," aren't they? Does it even bear saying?

I mean, I understand that not all weird insects are necessarily mummies, nor that all weird mummies will necessarily be insects, but surely "mummy insects" are just weird across the board, no modifier needed.

A-a-a-anyway, this story takes place during the Blackhawks' uncomfortable Silver Age weirdness era but before they got the dumb costumes, dumber codenames and possibly even stupider super-powers. Still, this was a period where they were facing off against cavemen on rocket sleds and meeting Blackhawks from five hundred years in the future who flew on rainbows instead of inside airplanes, so in a way weird mummy insects are just par for the course. Whatever the case, though, it's still a real step down from blasting Ratzis out of the sky.

Glalloping Ladybugs are NEXT issue.
The story begins when mysterious clouds of gas erupt from a seemingly peaceful field, which seems bad but I believe that it's just DuPont Chemical's equivalent of a Bat-Signal. "Look, a green cloud choking the life out of a field," cries the chairman of DuPont's board, "We're needed!" And they slide down a bat-pole to rush to the scene of unspoiled wilderness in need of poison.

What it turns out to actually be is a gas released by the Anteos, a highly unimaginatively-named race of super-smart ants from another dimension. The gas theoretically is meant to make all the local insect life straight-up suicidal. Frankly, this is a billion-dollar idea I'd never even considered before, making all the insects so depressed they just jump in ocean, make little nooses out of sewing thread or lock themselves in the garage with the car running. Someone call DuPont.

The Anteos have a multi-faceted eye towards conquering the planet, but they're concerned that the local vegetation can't handle both the native life and the voracious Anteos, so they decide to off the competition. Plus they shrink the Blackhawks down to tiny size the tell them about this plan. All in all it reads like a story from another comic crashed into a Blackhawks comic, and it all turns out okay and even gives them a chance to use the phrase "weird mummy insects" in the story, too, jut like I did in my wedding vows.

They're armed with fuuristic hair dryers the likes of which our imaginations cannot even conceive.

To get a good idea of how weird the Blackhawks comics were around this period, the second story in this issue is titled "The Fabulous Blackhawk Freaks" and tells the tale of benevolent, highly-advanced aliens imbuing members of the Blackhawks with crazy powers so they can take care of a planet-destroying bomb.

Love what you do.
Elderly Blackhawk Hendrickson develops the ability to inflate himself to ridiculous size and adopts the name The Human Dirigible, French lothario Andre can stretch like the prophylactics he refuses to use and becomes The Living Rubber Band,while Chinese compatriot Chop-Chop - who, by this point, has at least shunned the offensively rendered caricature which he'd been carrying around in the Forties and Fifties - develops insane upper body strength and is dubbed by his teammates "The Chinese Superman." He should release an album.

The trio work together to get rid of the bomb, although Chop-Chop's primary contribution was to beat the holy hell out of a spaceship they otherwise could've used to ferry the explosive device off-planet. The other members of the team put him up to it, but they also blamed him when it went awry, so I think you get a pretty good idea of the team mechanics at work there. Everyone's equal in the eyes of the weird mummy insects, though, they oughtta bring those guys back.

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