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Maybe the shattered mace should read “censored” – Hawkman #8

May 1, 2010

I just can’t shake the feeling when I look at this cover that the masked giant is making an obscene but hidden gesture.  You know, one involving an upraised finger.  Anyway…

This is the first issue of the old Silver Age Hawkman series that I’ve ever picked up.  I bought it this past week and, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  My indifference to the winged lawman from Thanagar is usually almost palpable, but the goofy feature story inside was coupled with some very pleasant artwork.  It was a good buy.

Both the feature and the backup are scripted by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Murphy Anderson.  The first, “Giant in the Golden Mask,” deals with a coworker of Carter and Shiera Hall at the Midway City Museum who becomes possessed by the giant golden mask.  This makes for a ridiculous visual, since he “wears” the mask, though the mask covers his entire upper body.  The Halls get into their Hawkman and Hawkgirl getups and follow him to Greece, where the mask soon latches itself onto its original host – the giant statue from the cover.  The Hawk-team soon figures out a way to defeat the giant and contain the mask and they cart it back to their museum, where I assume it can one day rise again and once more terrorize the world.  Thanks, Halls.

The second story, “Battle of the Bird-man Bandits,” isn’t all that interesting, but I did learn from reading it that Hawkman could fly without his wings.  That was kind of a “Huh?” moment for me.  Turns out he only uses his wings to steer and his anti-gravity belt does all the lifting.  Remember what I said about my indifference to the character?  I guess that’s where this ignorance came from.

And the art… Like everyone else, I’m mainly familiar with Anderson through his inking of pencils from larger luminaries like Carmine Infantino and Curt Swan.  I liked his pencils here, and I enjoyed the way he constructed his panels – they were very reminiscent of the structure used by Infantino in early Silver Age Flash issues.  The similarity was so pronounced I had to check and see whether Infantino had a hand in this issue.  He didn’t, but I guess maybe there was a DC “Guide to Style” back in those days, sort of like the Jack Kirby-inspired Marvel style around the same time.

Nice issue.  Despite the imagined obscene gesture on the cover.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2010 5:27 am

    Yeah, that Anderson artwork really makes this series sizzle. If you ever get a chance, check out his work on Atomic Knights, a terrific little series that ran every third issue in Strange Adventures from about 1960-64. Great stuff.

    • May 2, 2010 11:27 am

      Thanks for the recommendation. I see some Strange Adventures every now and then in a friend’s store – now I have a little more impetus to pick one or two of them up.

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