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Airboy

Published by Eclipse Comics, 1986

Charles Dixon, writer; Timothy Truman, penciler; Tom Yeates, inker; Tim Harking, letterer; Ron Courtney, colorist; Cat Yronwode, editor

Airboy made his first appearance in Airfighters magazine, published by Hillman Comics, in 1942. The creation of Charles Biro and Fred Kida, Airboy became an instant success and salvaged Airfighters, whose first issue had bombed. It is easy to see why Airboy appealed to the mostly under-12 audience that read comics in those days. Airboy was a kid, just like them, but he got to have wildly exciting adventures, flying his amazing aircraft, Birdie. Birdie was a big part of Airboy's appeal. A unique airplane that flapped its wings and could out fly any other aircraft in the sky. Birdie seemed to have an intelligence of its own and could perform incredible feats without a pilot in the cockpit. Birdie quickly became a character in the stories just like Airboy. Unlike the mostly realistic comics such as Blackhawk, Airboy often ventured into the realm of the supernatural and just plain weird. His most frequent, and strangest, foe was Misery, an ethereal creature who inhabited the Airtomb, a giant airplane that imprisoned the souls of dead aviators. Airboy also fought legions of intelligent rats and other strange creatures. But many of his adventures involved more ordinary opponents, highly exaggerated Nazi and Japanese villains. Airboy got his own title and Airboy comics continued to be published well into the 1950s. Eclipse reprinted six of the earliest Airboy stories in Airfighter Classics.

Eclipse acquired the rights to the Hillman properties in the mid '80s and launched a new Airboy series. Although set in contemporary time, it used all the major charactes from the Airfighters and did them proudly. Dixon and Truman created new stories that hewed to the spirit of the original series but were told with modern sophistication and complexity. The new Airboy series was successful and ran for 50 issues.

I found Eclipse's Airboy nearly a decade after it had ceased publication, but it was easy enough to collect the entire series, and it was well worth the effort. I enjoyed the stories and the art. It is different in many ways from Blackhawk, but somehow has the feel of the original Blackhawk stories.



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All characters, pictures, and related indicia on these pages are the property of DC Comics. All text is 1998-2001 Dan Thompson, except where otherwise noted. This homepage is not intended to infringe on the copyright of DC Comics to its characters, but was created out of gratitude to all the wonderful writers, artists, and editors who created the Blackhawks.