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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #62

Edit: Ahahah! I finally overcame my laziness and completed the 365 Reasons to Love Comics Archive! Now you can peruse all the posts. Let me know if you find any errors.

It’s our final day of Black History Month rejects. What awesome hero with the word “Black” in their name appears within? Probably no one you remember, but they’re worth talking about anyway.


62. The Black Hood

Black Hood 1.jpg

With a name like that, he could be a novelty prophylactic. But no, the Black Hood is a superhero-ish concept that’s spanned 67 years, a few companies, and several incarnations.

Originally, the Black Hood was one of the MLJ superheroes, along with guys like the Shield and the Fly, published by Archie Comics before it was Archie Comics. Created by Hal Shorten and Al Cany, he first appeared in Top-Notch Comics, as a policeman named Kip Burland who donned a mask in order to fight crime and clear his name. His strip lasted a while, and he received a solo title, but the superheroes were phased out in favor of the humor books. Top-Notch became Top-Notch Laugh and Black Hood became Laugh Comics, a home for Archie for decades to come.

In the years that followed, Black Hood would appear in Pep Comics and guest appearances, but wouldn’t have the spotlight again until an early 80’s revamp revival, brought to life by Alex Toth and Gray Morrow in the pages of Black Hood and Blue Ribbon Comics.

Black Hood 2.jpg

This didn’t last long, though. Fear not! The Black Hood concept would appear again in DC’s !mpact Comics line, when they licensed the Archie heroes. Me, I loved this imprint.

The Black Hood first appeared here as a Punisher type in numerous guest appearances before getting his own title– in which he was killed in the first issue! The series was about the Hood itself, not the man under it! Two more characters would don the hood in the series– a mobster and a teenager. The Hood was cursed, you see; whoever wore it was compelled to do good and given the physical enhancements to do so. It was a pretty good series, with great creators like Mark Wheatley, Rick Burchett, and Tim Sale working on it. It only lasted twelve issues; it probably should’ve stayed a lot longer.

Black Hood 3.jpg

Our own Brian Cronin wrote about the !mpact series a while back. Click here to read about the goodness that was the Black Hood.

I love the Archie superheroes, and I loved the !mpact line. The Black Hood is an overlooked but really fun part of the mythos, and I wouldn’t mind seeing another revival sometime. Maybe a few of the other heroes deserve the relaunch ahead of the Black Hood, but the concept’s got limitless potential, especially since the premise has led to so many different story directions! Talk about your character legacies… forget the Justice Society! You’ve got the MLJ guys!

Link: Don Markstein on the Black Hood


Let me tell you, the Golden Age Black Hood was just the bee’s knees. An original, minimalist idea…just fantastic. Especially compared to the mobs of Batman knockoffs that were the Black Hood’s peers. I’d revive him with that yellow jumpsuit and a yellow and black rocket-motorcycle. It’d be awesome!

wasn’t the Black Hood also the inspiration for the character Hooded Justice in Watchmen?

The Golden Age MLJ heroes were the basis for the Minutemen, the Golden Age superteam in Watchmen, but Hooded Justice was actually based on the Hangman. Black Hood’s Watchmen counterpart was actually the original Nite Owl.

“Hooded Justice was actually based on the Hangman. Black Hood’s Watchmen counterpart was actually the original Nite Owl.”

Thanks- that’s a pretty cool little fact. Shows how Moore monkeyed around with things so well- Nite Owl II was based on Blue Beetle, right? So to be true to the original character’s personality, he needed to be a character who was continuing someone else’s legacy- but the original Beetle had powers, so he couldn’t really have a counterpart in the story…

You know, I’ve often thought about how Moore’s career (and by extension, the comics industry post 85) might have been VERY different if DC had let him use the original characters for Watchmen.

Also, this adds to the coolness of the Black Hood for me, since Nite Owl I was my favourite character in Watchmen!

I only read one Black Hood comic when I was little, it was the ski mask and bike version. All I remember was his girlfriend being fatally shot in a robbery and he rode out and killed the guy who did it. Was probably the first anti-hero I ever saw in a comic.

Annoyed Grunt

March 4, 2007 at 6:33 am

I remember being shocked when he died in the first issue of the Impact series. I didn’t know the character had any sort of history, I was just looking for some decent action being I was 10 at the time.

Black Hood was soooooooo much better then the rest of the Impact line. I think it could have been a real sleeper hit were it on it’s own. Killing the main character, after such a buildup, and in such an ordinary (yet novel) way, was brilliant. Damn, I may just go homw and pull those all back out!

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 4:45 pm

Another weird coincidence!
I just bought an almost complete run of Impact’s Black Hood (missing last issue #12 and the single Annual) really cheap. I bought it for the Burchett art. Not bad but not great either. Tim Sale started to draw in the last few issues but he was just starting at the time and wasn’t fully developped as an artist.

DC’s Impact had some cool and fun art in the first 6 issues or so of a few titles (Parobeck on the FLY, Burchett on the BLACK HOOD and I don’t remember his name but there was also a good one on JAGUAR).

I can only HIGHLY recommend to you readers of good taste to hunt down the usually very cheap and sadly short lived revival of Archie’s BLACK HOOD from the 80’s.
The 3 issues of BLACK HOOD (1983) was gorgeously illustrated by Alex Toth (who also drew the FOX back-up stories), Doug Wildey, Gray Morrow, Pat Boyette and underrated Al McWilliams. The set must also include BLUE RIBBON COMICS # 8 (1984) which also included a Neal Adams drawn Black Hood story and more art by McWilliams, Toth and Morrow.

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