Hawkgirl Origins-Pt.11 – This is a continuation of an exploration of the origin of Hawkgirl in the 1940s in words and pictures. In this part, we review the series as it appeared in 1948/49. In this post, I look at issues 91 through 104. This is the last year for the run of the golden age Hawkman and Hawkgirl stories. Hawkgirl and Hawkman appeared on the cover of Flash Comics issue #91 in January 1948.
In its final year, the series was starting to show some maturity.
Although it is a shame, this may have been a factor in the demise of the golden age comic books.
Also, in this issue, Black Canary and Johnny Thunder appeared together for the last time. Starting with issue #92, Black Canary would appear a separate series.
Also per an ad in this issue, it appears that Carol Ferris was not the first Star Sapphire (ref. Green Lantern vol. 2 #16). I will investigate this in a separate posting.
Black Canary was on the cover of issue #92.
Starting with this issue, the Black Canary had her own feature. This issue saw the introduction of a Gotham City private detective named Larry Lance (see my post from April “The (Mysterious) Death of Larry Lance”). Dinah Drake (aka Black Canary) ran a flower shop and Larry hung around the shop giving Dinah “the business”.
Larry did not know that Dinah was the Black Canary.
This was the first appearance of Black Canary’s famous choker locket that contained all sorts of things from tiny knives to gas pellets.
Also in issue #92, “The Ghost” is terrorizing Europe with a crime spree and only “that charming pair”, Hawkman and Hawkgirl can stop him in a story titled “Riddle of the Clown”.
“The Ghost”, we are told, will return. In the 60s and later, he was known as the “Gentleman Ghost” or the “Ghostly Gentleman”.
In issue #93, Hawkgirl and Hawkman take on the Flying Bandits. How did they get those horses to fly like that?
Elsewhere in the same issue, Dinah and Larry continue their witty banter as Larry practically moves into the flower shop.
But it is Black Canary who solves the mystery and rescues Larry from a dangerous cult of crystal worshippers.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl appeared on the cover of issue #94 of Flash Comics (May 1948)
The story which took place in the American southwest involved living creatures coming out of rugs woven by native Americans.
Needless to say, the Hawks were deeply involved in the mystery titled “The Rug People Rise Again”.
In this issue, Larry Lance has all but moved into Dinah Drake’s Flower Shop. The story is that later Dinah and Larry marry and they have a baby girl in the early 1950s. It is now canon that the baby girl was Dinah Laurel Lance and she became the Black Canary of the silver age and that she was taken by Superman from Earth-2 to Earth-1. It was this Black Canary II who became a member of the Justice League in the late 1960s, acquired a “sonic scream”, and in the 1970s became a love interest of Green Arrow…
But that is future and in the late 1940s, Dinah Drake was Black Canary, a badass crime-fighter and martial arts expert.
In issue #95 of Flash Comics (May 1948), Shiera buys a mystery box containing a crystal ball in a story titled “Terror Under Glass” and despite Carter’s warning of it being a fake, the ball, of course, turns out to be real.
In Black Canary, Larry Lance now moves into Dinah Drake’s flower shop and she’s not happy about it one bit.
In issue #96 of Flash Comics (June 1948), the theme of fables returns once again in a story titled “Return of the Centaurs”
In this issue, Black Canary appears for the first time on a motorcycle. The illusion is now complete.
In issue #97 of Flash Comics (July 1948), Hawkgirl and Hawkman appeared in “The Call to Crime”, a story involving stuffed animals that come back to life and it features a sudden trip to “Africa”.
The Hawks learned not drop in on folks unannounced.
In issue #98 of Flash Comics (August 1948), a new look for Hawkman & Hawkgirl was introduced.
Hawkman appeared on the cover of issue #98 sporting a new mask that made him look like a character out of Masonic/Rosicrucian mythology.
In issue #99, Shiera finds a doll that she wants to give to her redheaded niece. Shiera looks so happy in this picture.
But there is something about the doll that gets the Hawks into their new costumes. The new costumes look great, but they are a little late in series because there are only six issues remaining before the series ceases publication.
In the end, everyone is smiling including the red-headed doll.
In issue #100, the dynamic duo switches costumes “with desperate speed” to attend a costume ball to try and find out who is about to reveal their secret identities.
They end-up in vat of mercury (and somehow they survived inhaling the deadly fumes)
In issue #101, Carter and Shiera volunteer for an experiment…
…they meet once more a villain named the Falcon.
Back in the forties there seemed to be a lot of BDSM in the comics and this is one of the reasons why the industry came under fire in the early 1950s. (Note: this is tame compared to the early Wonder Woman comics).
Unlike the way Carter reacted to Shiera’s efforts to participate in the crime-fighting, it was clear by issue #102, that Hawkman and Hawkgirl were a solid team.
And the new costume made it so that you could actually see their faces.
This costume design was only seen once in the 1960s in one of the JLA/JSA cross-overs that occurred annually until 1984 in the “Justice League of America” series.
In issue #103, Hawkman appeared once more on the cover and the story featured the villain who was known then as “the Ghost”, but is today known as “the Ghostly Gentleman”.
Carter and Shiera were not only crime-fighting detectives, but they were also quick-change artists.
For one last time, Shiera Sanders took to the sky as Hawkgirl. This version of the character, the golden age Hawkgirl, would not appear again in a comic book until the late 1970s. However, she would never again wear this costume.
Are you ready for a sad ending to this story?
For whatever reasons the publisher had, Flash Comics cease publication with issue #104 in January 1949. Hawkman appeared without Hawkgirl on the cover and in the story titled “The Flaming Darkness!”, neither Shiera or Hawkgirl appear.
In 1949, Flash Comics and the Green Lantern title were canceled. In 1951, All-Star Comics, the title that also hosted Hawkgirl and Hawkman, became All-Star Western.
The only DC superhero comics to continue publishing through the 1950s were Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Detective Comics, Batman, Superboy, Superman, Wonder Woman and World’s Finest Comics.
In 1960, Flash Comics was revived as “The Flash”, the Flash was reintroduced, the numbering continued with #105, and thus was born the Silver Age of Comic Books.
In 1976, All-Star Comics was revived, premiering with All-Star Comics #58. This series ran for seventeen issues before it was abruptly canceled with issue #74.
After a 27-year absence, Shiera/Hawkgirl made her appearance in issue #62 of All-Star Comics (August 1976). Now she is known as Shiera Sanders Hall, wife of Carter Hall. The story goes that at some point the couple had a son named Hector Hall and that Hector became the second Dr. Fate.
The story of the Justice Society of America and its activities during WWII was revived and rebooted in 1981, with the appearance of the All-Star Squadron starting with an appearance of the JSA in Justice League of America #193 (August 1981) and then in its own title with All-Star Squadron # 1 (September 1981). This title ran for 67 issues from 1981 to 1987.
When Hawkgirl appeared on the cover of All-Star Squadron in April 1982, the cover was drawn by Joe Kubert. For some reason, they chose to use the older costume and clunky headdress, instead of the one that Kubert had designed in 1948.
In future posts, I will discuss the reappearance of the golden age Hawkgirl in the 1970s, 1980s, and 2000s.