On this day, 14 April 1979: Tornado
On this day, 14 April 1979 … ‘Loathed by his men! Feared by his masters!’ Poor old Black Hawk – such are the perils of middle management #ancientfirstworldproblems The tale of a heroic loner is usually good material for a comic strip, and Black Hawk was a bit of an epic. Starting in this, the fourth issue of Tornado, it followed the story of a Nubian slave of the Roman Empire who, inspired by the sight of a hawk killing an eagle, fought free of his chains to become a centurion leader. One of Tornado’s most popular characters – a hero among heroes – Black Hawk was selected to survive the merger into 2000AD where he underwent a further transition of circumstance, being zapped into a deep space reality where he fought as a gladiator against alien species.
Tornado continues to deliver strong fare here. Since I wrote about the first issue the comic has also taken on Storm – about a cave-dwelling gipsy boy discovered living alone in the Scottish highlands – while The Mind of Wolfie Smith and The Angry Planet remain standout strips. The other day I read a suggestion that Tornado had been launched as a home for stories commissioned for Action before that comic’s cancellation, and while I can see that they all would have fitted the remit most of them seem better than what had become a bit bland and samey in post-ban Action. They would have improved it, but their legacy is probably stronger for having been part of the all-new Tornado (even if short-lived).
There’s the start of a very cool Carlos Ezquerra ‘Tornado’s Gallery of Heroes’ in this issue – including a Wulf-like Viking. It’s ‘the longest poster ever in British comics’, so I won’t be posting a full scan of this one!