Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Let's Hit The Street, Dart!"

Aside from hunting down Canadian heroes, there are currently only two comic characters that I currently follow religiously.  One of them is Dynamite's Green Hornet (particularly the Year One book.  It the Hornet's version of Batman Begins.  Get it.  It's great.)

Therefore, finding out about the Black Scorpion some time back was a real treat.  To say this character is "inspired" by the Green Hornet doesn't do the level of imitation justice.  About the only significant difference is racial.  The Black Scorpion is black in the literal sense and Dart is Caucasian, unlike the Green Hornet's partner Kato, who is Asian.

Something that struck me as odd when finding out more about the book was the name of its writer; George Stryker.  While by no means a Hornet historian, I knew he had been (co-) created by one Fran Stryker. A closer look revealed another co-creator named George Trendle.  It seemed rather unlikely that the Black Scorpion writer just happened to combine those two names.

Rachel Richey provides some background details on her Canadian comics-based blog, Comic Syrup.  And one of the artists in issue #1, Scott Dutton, provides more in this answer to a question on a Google group:
Dave Darrigo was the editor/publisher. His company was Special Studio.  They were in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area, and most of us who worked on that book were Canadian. The writing was creditted (sic) to George Stryker.  This was a pseudonym for Dave Darrigo or another professional writer who was under contract to a different company and wished to avoid a conflict of interest.
Fair enough.  The thing is, as you read the book, that aspect is rather convincing.  Each of the three issues published mentions parts of George Stryker's personal life, his writing style, etc, in the inside front cover, all in the 3rd person.

The Black Scorpion went through something of a makeover after another more visible character using the same name found her way onto television. He went from "Black" to "Blue" and his partner's name was changed to Stinger.  Apparently the Blue Scorpion's adventures never made it stores, however.  And he can't get a break, because someone recently used that name too in order to spoof the Green Hornet (well before the latter was portrayed as a drunk jackass in a movie).

Now this character's "Canadianness" is a little debatable.  He operates out of a town named Ravenia but it isn't clear, probably by design, whether that town is in a state or province.  However, the majority of the talent involved in the book was Canadian, and I couldn't prove that he's anything other than, therefore I have determined that he counts. ;-)

The graphic above is the cover to #2, so to conclude, let's display the back cover to the same book.  And if you want to have a look for yourself, I would refer you to artist Scott Dutton's site for his contribution to the first issue.

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