Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Badness of Black Bolt

Who's the black clad king
Who can't whisper, speak, or anything?


Right On!

He's an Inhuman
And no one understands him but his woman


Okay, enough zaniness! Comics! When Stan and Jack unleashed the Inhumans on the unsuspecting comicbook world over 40 years ago (Fantastic Four #45), they created one of the most cool and unique characters, ever--Black Bolt. For a couple of years, the King of the Inhumans co-starred with his royal family in their own Amazing Adventures series (issues 1-10, March, 1970-October, 1971). During this time, he established himself as a multi-faceted mute of many moods. With his super-strength, flight, powers of energy manipulation, and sonic voice (his whisper could equal the force of an atom bomb!), Black Bolt's badness is something to see, Groove-ophile!

BB and the Inhumans went through three artistic phases during their stay in Amazing Adventures. The series started under the talents of writer/artist Jack Kirby. When King Kirby left Marvel for DC, the team-supreme of writer Roy Thomas and artist Neal Adams took over. For the final two issues, writer Gerry Conway teamed with legendary Silver Age JLA artist Mike Sekowsky. Let's see how the various creative teams affected midnight-clad monarch's many moods, shall we?

First of all, Kirby shows us that the formerly peaceful Black Bolt can be riled into a hawkish stance as he declares war on humankind...
Jolly Jack also allowed BB to demonstrate his skills at charades...

Roy and Neal's BB was much more serious. First of all, he really, really seems to hate muggers...
Our boy Bolt was also something of a social activist under Thomas/Adams (does it really take amnesia for royalty to develop a social conscious?)
Lastly, Conway and Sekowsky's Black Bolt seemed to show a bit of prejudice towards mutants. Or perhaps Magneto simply stomped on his last raw nerve...
Whatever the case, one thing's for sure. Loose lips do a lotta damage when your vocal chords have been altered by Kree/Inhuman science. No wonder the guy never smiled!


  1. Black Bolt = Awesomeness

    OBTW, I love the new graphic at the top of the page.


  2. The layout is looking "Marvelous" and I always like Black Bolt. He was a good example of how well Marvel could develop a superhero who never even had his own title. DC for the most part lacked this except with a couple writers like Denny O'Neil (?). Always great stuff. Keep it up man.

  3. I always wondered what happens when BB sneezes or coughs? And does Medusa have to put her hand over his mouth when they...er, you know what I mean?

  4. Thanks for the kudos on the new banner/logo, good buddies! I'm kinda pleased with it (for the first time)!

    The Black Bolt post was an experiment that, from the looks of your responses, worked. Of course it did! As Jim said, Black Bolt=Awesomeness! Thanks for the positive feedback, fellas!

    Willy, you're so right about Classic Marvel being able to make their characters so rounded and real. Not only did BB never have his own title, he never even spoke! (Well, not so's we'd understand...)

    As for your questions, cerebus660, I think BB keeps foreign objects from irritating his nose and throat by using his molecular controlling powers. No dust, germs, or nuttin' gets through. As for his love life, well, I just figure BB has better control over his--well--everything than anyone could imagine. I mean, he and Medusa have been married for years and she's still in one piece...

  5. -does it really take amnesia for royalty to develop a social conscious?-
    so true...

  6. Great character profile! And great character to examine to begin with.

    To be honest I think Black Bolt is much more dynamic and interesting when he is being 'hawkish' than when he is all introspective and pacifistic. (In the most recent comic issues of him he has declared war on...everyone really, and though they try and make him seem despotic or corrupted or something, i'm pretty damn into it.)

  7. I agree, Cap! I think the writers of today tend to look at a "hawk" as a bad guy, like it's a "black and white" thing (hawk=evil)--which it's not. Depends on the situation. Both Roosevelt and Hitler would be considered hawkish by today's standards--but only one of them was evil...



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