Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Warriors and Wizards Week! Black and White Wednesday: The Birth of Blackmark

You can't have a Warriors and Wizards Week without including Gil Kane and his creation, Blackmark. Kane had intended to self-publish Blackmark as a black and white comic magazine, but instead saw it published in paperback format by Bantam Books in 1971. The very first, by the way, non-reprint, straight-to-paperback comic ever. Today's offering is the preface, the birth of Blackmark, as reprinted in Marvel's Savage Sword of Conan #1 (cover dated August 1974). Art by Kane! Words by Archie Goodwin! Dig it, baby!


  1. one of my favorite things gil kane ever did.
    i really wish that the paperback format had caught on.

  2. Thanks for showing a little love for Blackmark - I actually have the original Bantam paperback (found it pretty cheap from an online bookseller a few years back) as well as the Dark Horse "complete edition"; despite all of the criticism it often gets, I'm rather fond of this little gem...

  3. "The very first, by the way, non-reprint, straight-to-paperback comic ever."

    How about Harvey Kurtzman's JUNGLE BOOK (from 1959)? (Kurtzman, coincidentally, did some of the layouts for Kane's BLACKMARK.)

    I really like your blog, by the way; I enjoy reading about the obscure gems you choose for each post.

  4. Just a quick note. Blackmark is a character created by Gil Kane in both story and art. Gil brought Archie Goodwin in to script the story for the book, and according to one source it was a last minute deal. This prompted some critiques regarding the quality of the writing. One of those critics was Tony Isabella in his column in the CBG.
    I never verified the latter point with Gil Kane while he was alive but I always thought the story and script were solid.

  5. Andy, Edo, and Joe: Glad you dug the Blackmark post! Been planning this for some time. Oh, and Edo, I found a copy of the paperback a few years back. It is really, really cool, and like Andy, I wish the format had caught on.

    Rodrigo: I stand corrected. Thanks for jarring my (slipping) memory . Maybe I should change that line to add "full-length adventure". Or leave it alone and sit in the corner with my dunce cap on for a little while? (I can't believe I forgot about Kurtzman's contribution to Blackmark, as well. Two demerits for me!)Glad you enjoy the Diversions!

    Rick: Thanks for verifying my "created by Gil Kane" line. It's nice to be right about something today!

  6. I'm loving this Warriors and Wizards Theme!

  7. I'm with Jim Shelley and the rest in my appreciation for the Wizards and Warriors postings. This is the stuff that hooked me on collecting comics.
    It's a shame that simple premise of of a man standing up to supernatural threats has become so convoluted in our current popular media. I mean, this was always a metaphor for fighting the good fight especially on an individual basis, the notion that "the odds are against you", is a philosophy. In this age of quests with casts of thousands and a dozen primary characters I get the feeling the mediocrity has cubby-holed the genre. I don't need to "relate" to Conan or Fafhrd and the Mouser to enjoy their exploits.
    So, thank you for reminding me of how much fun the genre was. It's great recalling a time when the only bloated epic out there was The Lord of the Rings and as such it was easier to appreciate. Now it's trolls and dragons and quests all over the place... yawn...

  8. Buried within my Prince Toreus Rhann concept, is remnants of Gil Kane's Blackmark, which read the one serialized in the pages of Savage Sword and later the Marvel Preview]] #17..The original Toreus the Slayer existed with a similar post holocaust world of mixture of science-fiction and fantasy genres that was I hoped unquestionably aimed at an adult audience. Although, I knew of the Mighty Samson, by one issue, Blackmark and the like of [[Kamandi]] influenced the creation of character Toreus, along Burroughs’s Tarzan and John Carter, Robert E.Howards Conan, plus Gene Roddenberry's pilot [[Genisis II]].In in 1973/1974-the likes of Thundarr the Barbarian didn't exist yet, so no credit can give him-even retroactively.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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