Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know that words like eccentric, oddball, offbeat, weird and damn crazy come to mind when describing me. So, that being the case the most appropriate superhero mascot for this site is the Black Condor.
That’s the Golden Age Black Condor, who debuted in 1940 and is now in the public domain, not the newer comic book characters going by that name. The original Black Condor appeals to me in the same way that bad movies do. Here are the six reasons why this figure has long been my favorite weirdass Golden Age superhero:
ONE: HE STARRED IN A COMIC BOOK TITLED CRACK COMICS! Yep. Crack Comics number 1 marked the first appearance of the Black Condor. Very appropriate for a hero whose whole story sounds like it was inspired by smoking a crack pipe.
TWO: THE THOROUGHLY WEIRDASS ORIGIN OF HIS POWERS – A little boy named Richard Grey, Jr was traveling through Mongolia with his parents. Those parents and their guides were robbed and murdered by roving bandits and little Richard was raised by black condors. Never mind the fact that condors don’t live in Mongolia, we’re told a little boy was able to survive on worms provided by his condor mother.
But wait there’s more! Little Richard (not the singer) watched the other hatchlings being raised by his foster mother learning to fly and eventually followed suit, imitating their “perfectly aerodynamic motions”. Years later a monk named Pierre befriended Richard and taught him English, which is apparently the language of choice for French monks living in Mongolia.
Presumably Pierre also taught Richard to stop crapping on people as he flew overhead.
The same gang of bandits who murdered Richard’s parents are still active in the region however. The bandits kill Father Pierre, prompting our now-grown hero to don an odd monk outfit of his own and fly into action to get revenge. After ending the reign of terror of these bandits Richard decides to go live in his parents’ homeland.
THREE: A HILARIOUS NEW TWIST – Arriving in Washington, DC the Black Condor fails to stop the assassination of United States Senator Thomas Wright. He captures the conspirators however and, since the late Senator Wright and Richard Grey, Jr look EXACTLY the same the Black Condor decides to assume the Senator’s identity as his own alter ego.
So a man who was raised by birds, learned English from a French monk in Mongolia and who hasn’t set foot in his home country in nearly two decades IMPERSONATES A U.S. SENATOR with nobody being the wiser – not his staff, not his colleagues, not the press … nobody!
FOUR: THE LACK OF A MASK – As you can see in the pictures the Black Condor went maskless like Superman, with just a pair of eyeglasses to keep the world from realizing he and Senator Thomas Wright were one and the same, yet nobody ever caught on!
FIVE: THE KINKY COSTUME – People who complain about the supposedly revealing outfits worn by superheroines should enjoy the equal time they get in the costume Senator Wright strips down to when it’s time for action. That getup is apparently from the “Just a little something for the ladies” Collection.
SIX: THE WASHINGTON D.C. LOCALE – For once I’m being sincere. There really is something cool about a superhero operating out of Washington D.C. and regularly flying past the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and other national treasures. And having the hero’s secret identity be a United States Senator kicks ass and opens the way for plenty of exciting stories.
If you really want a 7th reason there’s the Black Condor’s black energy gun. A couple of stories into the character’s run he was suddenly wearing a holster with a gun that shot black energy beams. No explanation was ever given for the gun or how our hero came to possess it, making it fit in perfectly with the rest of this character’s half-assed elements.
Decades later part of the Black Condor’s origin would be retconned to claim radiation in the Mongolian hills enabled him to fly but I prefer my alternate explanation: the Condor’s creator could have had Richard Jr raised by Father Pierre and other monks who, in typical comic book fashion, would be into levitation. Richard could be presented as learning their esoteric art of levitation so well he could actually fly. The Black Condor moniker would be his superhero name simply because of his fascination with actual condors.
At any rate, the Black Condor is Exhibit A to throw at “graphic novel” snobs when they act huffy about how comic books weren’t taken seriously for several decades.
FOR MY BAD MOVIE REVIEWS CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/bad-movies/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.