365 Reasons to Love Comics #37
Thirty-seven. Thirty-seven columns. Thirty-seven!
“In a row?”
Ahem. Welcome to another Black History Month profile. This one’s about a big guy with a big heart who everybody forgot about (except Dan Slott) and who is no longer with us. Those of you reading a certain huge mega-event of cataclysmic proportions probably know who I’m talking about.
37. Black Goliath
Bill Foster was one of many African-American superheroes whose codename began with “Black.” He was not the first, nor was he the last. He was also the second Giant-Man and the fourth Goliath. He’s the only Black Goliath, though. Ol’ Hank Pym’s running out of identities, though, so maybe he’ll take too many bronzing pills after watching Soul Man one night and have Jan make him a new costume.
Our buddy Bill started as Pym’s lab assistant and ended up a superhero, just like every other Marvel scientist. He eventually spun into his own series, seen above, started by Tony Isabella and George Tuska and finished by Chris Claremont and Keith Pollard. It only lasted five issues, back in the mid-70’s. That was still enough time for him to fight Stilt-Man, though!
I love Stilt-Man.
Bill ended up fading into obscurity, popping up occasionally as a supporting character or guest star. He gave up his superhero identity once or twice and turned back to his first love, science. No one heard from him for a long time. He showed up in Dan Slott’s short-lived Thing series, but that was it.
Until Civil War. There was that whole nasty business with Clone Thor, and, of course, someone had to die in order for the event to have “meaning.” Bill drew the short straw.
Chains? OMG SYMBOLISM
Hence, we lost an underappreciated and underused character who could’ve been very cool. It was easier to kill him off, I guess. I bet he isn’t popular enough to ever be resurrected, either.
Black Goliath wasn’t the best superhero. He struggled with his crimefighting career. He made some blunders and he had some victories. Still, he tried. There’s where his character lies: a good man at heart, a scientist trying to do the right thing. He was a noble man, that Black Goliath, and now he’s gone, and will quickly be forgotten. It’s a damn shame. I totally would’ve put him on the Avengers if I wrote it.