Black Comic book characters: Blackjack

Blackjack - Blood and Honor

For those of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning, my reasons for making a post, or series of posts even, on blacks in comic books will not be hard to understand. For the rest of you, take a look here. Incidentally, there will also be similar posts concerning science fiction and I still need to address the entire ‘white male power fantasy’ issue.

The subject of today’s post is the gentleman in the picture above carrying a rather large gun, which he uses rather frequently throughout the book. He’s Aaron Day, otherwise known as Blackjack. A soldier of fortune and explorer in the same pulp vein as Indiana Jones and Alan Quartermain, except he’s also an educated, wealthy black man in the 1930’s, with all the problems that brings. I own several Blackjack comic books but today we’ll restrict ourselves to the ‘Blood and Honor’ graphic novel since, as far as I know, its the only one that’s easily available.

In this book, Blackjack and his Chinese indentured servant(yep, you read that right) head to Japan and then China to protect the life of a Japanese minister against the more militant elements of his own government. In the middle of all the predictable violence. Aaron must also come to terms with the fact that he effectively owns another human being. There are several other subtexts to the book which I can’t reveal without spoiling the book. I’ll just assure you that it is action packed, really well drawn and deals with a lot of issues you will rarely ever find in comic books. If you get a chance, pick it up. you won’t be disappointed.

Sidenote: Blackjack’s writer, Alex Simmons, was responsible for the creation of Orpheus, the first compelling take I saw of a black character in a Batman book since Steven Barnes’ ‘Underground Railroad’ story arc. Unfortunately every subsequent batman writer had no idea what to do with him so he was depowered, shuffled aside and then killed off. An action that brought to an end my support of all bat-related titles besides Gotham Central and Gail Simone’s run on Birds of Prey


12 Comments on “Black Comic book characters: Blackjack”

  1. hobbylobby says:

    Really great thoughts. I guess I hadn’t thought of the lack of black heroes in comics. I’m a big comic reader, but mostly older cartoon stuff. I can’t stand spandex hero stuff, so I try to stay clear of those comics – thus don’t generally know what characters exist in them.

    Can you put together a list of really good (non-superhero-type) books with really good stories that you’d recommend people checking out.


  2. hobbylobby says:

    Oh, just thought of something…
    Tom Strong’s wife is black. err, actually I think she’s from a south seas island. but you might want to check that out.

    Tom Strong by Alan Moore

  3. Daron lumpkins says:

    hi I’m a fan of blackjack and wonder,what happened to the movie that Michael jai white was suppose to star.if you have word please e-me.

  4. Daron lumpkins says:

    Hi Alex i was wondering if you happen to see the boondocks episode with catcher freeman? you know he looks a lot like blackjack.
    maybe you and mcgruder might thank about teaming up for a blackjack cartoon,thank about.
    keep up the good work!
    Daron Lumpkins.

  5. Jonathan Pena says:

    Hi my name is Jonathan Pena and i have 3 comics that im trying to come out with and i was wondering if you like to take a look at them if anything feel free to e-mail me
    Than you

  6. blackjack says:

    hi, nice content added you to my rss reader thanks

  7. now that’s an awesome cover

  8. @Jonathan I might also want to look at those comics of yours.

  9. blackjack says:

    The Punisher gets a second movie… What about Blackjack?

  10. Phil says:

    Hey man, nice blog!

    I just moved to Ghana two weeks ago. Do you know where I can buy comics in Accra?

  11. […] and Kids Comic Con which he created. Alex also writes for Archie comics and he has created Blackjack whom I just discovered and is now one of my favorite characters. You won’t be sorry to check […]

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