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History Lesson

In the book Comics of the American West by Maurice Horn, Black Diamond Western (the original comic book Ace of Diamonds is based on) is featured in the subsection "The golden age of the Western (1948-1954)".

The section gives some background and details on Western comics after WWII, and how Western comics boomed while superhero comics "slumped" (84). It talks about Kid Colt ("one of the more entertaining of the cowboy features", 85) and many of the other Atlas comics of the '40's and '50's (many written by Stan Lee). It gets into National Periodicals' forays into the Western, including Nighthawk ("most interesting of all . . . about yet another hooded figure of justice, by the name of Hannibal Hawkes, whose emblem, a hawk emlbazoned on his shirtfront, spread terror in the hearts of prairie evildoers, much as National's Batman was already doing with Gotham City criminals", 87).

"In that prolific year 1948 Western comic books just seemed to tumble over one antoher as far as the wide horizon," Horn says (88). The following year "proved hardly less productive" (89). The chapter gives examples of these comics, but it's what he says about Black Diamond Western that I found most interesting. I had hoped to find some information about the title and the artists, but here's what I got instead:

And still they came . . . Lev Gleason, notorious for his crime comics, put out Black Diamond Western (formerly Desperado), about yet another masked rider who faught outlaws, maurading Apache bands, claim jumpers, and a mysterious criminal mastermind known as the Scorpion. The comic book was on the whole undistinguished, with only the wildly parodic Bing Bang Buster by Basil Wolverton as its redeeming grace; it lasted from 1949 to 1956. (90)
Well, there you have it. At least Black Diamond Western warranted a whole paragraph in the book! I'm going to continue my search for information about Black Diamond Western and the people who made it happen!

By the way, Basil Wolverton's pages will be featured in either issue 2 or 3 of Ace of Diamonds, while the Scorpion will be mentioned in the near future but not featured until much later. He's the closest thing to an arch-enemy that Black Diamond had, and will join Faro Kid in Ace's rogues gallery.

A sidenote: Nighthawk gets a hawk on his shirt, ala Batman. What does Black Diamond/Ace get? A black diamond shape. Good grief. That'll strike terror in the hearts of men, right? "Yikes! Look out! It's a girl's best friend!"

~ Ben

“Ace” of Diamonds, Remix Comix, Whisperingloon Studios, and the other stuff I made up for this webcomic are TM and (C) Ben Avery, 2009. While the original Black Diamond Western is in public domain, “Ace” of Diamonds (the story and the artwork) and the contents of this page are NOT public domain.

This entry was posted on August 12, 2009 at Wednesday, August 12, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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