By Beau Smith
Too many Marvel and DC Comics calories have been fed to us in the last week. Time to cut back on the high fat hype from the San Diego Comic Con and get in shape with some healthy snacks. Be proud to take off that black T-shirt (the uniform of most comic book readers) and show whatever six-pack you may have under all that couch time you’ve been spending. Hold out your plate and I’ll load it up with a few healthy items:
Don’t Call Me Bob
In another world, another time, what if Anthony Capone, son of Al Capone, was the governor of Illinois? What if the family of Joe Kennedy had taken a slightly different turn down a darker, more corrupt political street? What if the most covert squad of covert law enforcement worked within the Department of Agriculture, a squad set up by Elliott Ness? The biggest question is what if the best agent for this squad was in deep cover as an enforcer for the Capones? What if he wore skull and crossbones on his chest. What if he were The Black Terror?
Back in 1989 I got the chance to create a what-if world of crime and politics and bring back a super hero from the Golden Age that was my dad’s favorite?The Black Terror. I was lucky enough to co-write this with my good friend Chuck Dixon and the both of us were lucky enough to have a young painter fresh out of art school fully paint this three issues series. You may have heard of him, his name is Dan Brereton. It was a creative dream for me.
The Black Terror: Seduction of Deceit was published by Eclipse Comics. I thank Dean and Jan Mullaney for taking such a high risk on a high concept idea. They knew going in this Black Terror wasn’t going to be the Bob Benton-Pharmacist and super powered hero of the Golden Age. This Black Terror didn’t have a youthful sidekick named Tim. Nope, this Black Terror was shackled with a psychotic, sadistic, pyromaniac mob hit-man named Frankie Dio. Dio was “The Joker” before Heath Ledger made it scary. Although Dio wasn’t half as scary as Al Capone’s grand daughter, Allison. She makes The Black Terror’s life a true nightmare. The Black Terror I created was modern day crime-noir with the smell of a sweat soaked costume that carried the skull and crossbones. Chuck and I built the world, Dan painted it red and Eclipse covered it in a prestige format that showcased it well.
Not a week goes by that I don’t get emails and letters asking about and talking about The Black Terror. I wish I could satisfy these requests for the series to be collected, but like Miracleman, Airboy and other Eclipse books, the reprint rights lie in the hands of my buddy and former boss, Todd McFarlane. With Todd primarily at Toy mogul now, it’s unlikely that his interest in comic books will return any time soon. He’s decided to keep his publishing attention on his sole creation, Spawn, so it looks like he doesn’t have much time for the other properties he bought when Eclipse went out of business. I hope one day he turns his focus back on those properties and realizes there is not only money to made, but comic book history to build upon. Todd’s a good guy and a sharp business guy. I think he’ll come around at some point. Perhaps he’ll even publish the unpublished Black Terror book that I did with Clayton Crain and Mark Irwin on art duties. It was to be the first issue of many back in the late 1990’s when he was going to bring back the Eclipse characters. I wrote it, Clayton drew it and it was all ready to go when Todd decided to release only books that were tied to his toy line (Cy-Gor, Curse of the Spawn) or ones that he had licensed. (Kiss Psycho Circus and The Crow) The Black Terror and the rest of the Eclipse properties got put in cold storage.
Maybe someday Todd will haul ’em out. They would make mighty fine looking toys.
In the mean time, you can check out the script for that issue of The Black Terror and some of Clayton Crain’s art at my home website at www.flyingfistranch.com in the SCRIPT SAMPLE section. While you’re there you can also check out the ARTWORK section and see more of the beautiful painted pages of Black Terror art by Dan Brereton. If you enjoy Sin City, Ed Brubaker’s Criminal and Brian Bendis’ Torso, then you will enjoy the book that came first, The Black Terror: Seduction of Deceit. If you want to own the series, then just check with your local comic shop, Ebay or online at places like www.mycomicshop.com or www.milehighcomics.com or many of the other back issue outlets.
I dare to say I think you’ll really enjoy it and find that it stands up quite well if not better than some of today’s crime and super hero books. I don’t say that with arrogance or conceit, but with confidence and the hope that I can entertain you. If you like stories of dark crime, political intrigue, sex and reality twists, then look this series up, if you don’t like it, I’m even tempted to give you your money back. Tempted…
Ted Adams Talks
Right now there is a very good and interesting interview with the President and co-founder of IDW Publishing, Ted Adams online at The Comic Book Reporter. IDW Publishing is one of the best business success stories in the comic book industry in the last five years. People are just now beginning to figure out the inner workings of this small, but powerful company. I liken IDW to a Jack Russell terrier, a small but very powerful package that has the ability to make over the fence leaps. Ted Adams is one of, if not THE smartest business mind in comics today. Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter is known for his non-fluff questions and they fit well with Ted Adams no-nonsense answers. This very interesting interview barely scratches his surface, but it does make a reader want to know more of the workings of IDW and what they have planned. It’s no secret now that IDW has landed Darwyn Cooke to draw and adapt the first four “Parker” novels by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake). If you haven’t read any of the Parker novels the release of Cooke’s version will certainly have you chucking out cash to buy them. There’s a lot going on at IDW Publishing. Start learning why. Oh, and a HUGE congrats to IDW and Dean Mullaney for winning an Esiner Award at San Diego Comic Con. Well deserved and a BEAUtiful book to behold!
The Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: The Black Terror #24
July 13, 1948
In keeping with my tribute to “America’s Fighting Nemesis Of Crime”, I give you this wonderful Golden Age version of the original Black Terror as he saves the damsel and puts a choke-hold on crime. Notice the smirk on The Black Terror’s face as he prepares lights out for the crook. This is a man that truly enjoys his work. You gotta love that in a hero.
Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week: Charissa Thompson
Who would’ve ever thought that one day there’d be more beautiful women reporting sports than pin-up girls in magazines? I for one am very happy to see so many women in the world of sports. I like seeing them play sports, report sports and making sport of it all. Charissa Thompson is one of my very favorites. She rules Fox Sports with her work on FSN Baseball Report and it’s always a pleasure to see her on the sidelines giving us stuff we need to know…okay….maybe I don’t need to know it all, but she sure is nice to look at. The best part of Charissa’s reporting is that she really seems to enjoy it and always has some insightful questions for those that she interviews. I’d rather listen and look at her than Joe Buck any day.
It seems that a lot of my email here at the ranch has been loyal Knuckleheads asking what books, magazines, music, TV Shows and DVD’s I’ve been reading, listening and watching to entertain myself. Well, I figured I owe all of you an answer on that so here goes:
Books Reading Or Read As Of Late:
- One Ranger Returns by H. Joaquin Jackson
- Lone Star Lawmen: The Second Century Of The Texas Rangers by Robert M. Utley
- The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
- Nothing To Lose by Lee Child
- Resolution by Robert B. Parker
- National Geographic Adventure
- Men’s Journal
- Fast Company
- Guns & Ammo Surplus Firearms
- American Handgunner
On my iTouch:
- Long Road by Drew Emmitt
- The Dave Stewart Songbook EP by Dave Stewart And His Rock Fabulous Orchestra
- Best Of Jay And The Americans
- Snapshot by Roger Glover and Randall Bramblett
- Sequestered In Memphis by The Hold Steady
- In Plain Sight- USA Network
- Burn Notice- USA Network
- Eureka-Sci-Fi Channel
- Wild West Tech.-History Channel
- Sports-Any Network
- You Kill Me
- The Invaders: The Complete First Season
- Blood Simple
- Mannix: The First Complete Season
I hope that helps you out and maybe even gives you an idea of something you may want to try out. After all, I aim to entertain and enlighten.
Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!