Edit: Ahahah! I finally overcame my laziness and completed the 365 Reasons to Love Comics Archive! Now you can peruse all the posts. Let me know if you find any errors.
It’s our final day of Black History Month rejects. What awesome hero with the word “Black” in their name appears within? Probably no one you remember, but they’re worth talking about anyway.
62. The Black Hood
With a name like that, he could be a novelty prophylactic. But no, the Black Hood is a superhero-ish concept that’s spanned 67 years, a few companies, and several incarnations.
Originally, the Black Hood was one of the MLJ superheroes, along with guys like the Shield and the Fly, published by Archie Comics before it was Archie Comics. Created by Hal Shorten and Al Cany, he first appeared in Top-Notch Comics, as a policeman named Kip Burland who donned a mask in order to fight crime and clear his name. His strip lasted a while, and he received a solo title, but the superheroes were phased out in favor of the humor books. Top-Notch became Top-Notch Laugh and Black Hood became Laugh Comics, a home for Archie for decades to come.
In the years that followed, Black Hood would appear in Pep Comics and guest appearances, but wouldn’t have the spotlight again until an early 80’s revamp revival, brought to life by Alex Toth and Gray Morrow in the pages of Black Hood and Blue Ribbon Comics.
This didn’t last long, though. Fear not! The Black Hood concept would appear again in DC’s !mpact Comics line, when they licensed the Archie heroes. Me, I loved this imprint.
The Black Hood first appeared here as a Punisher type in numerous guest appearances before getting his own title– in which he was killed in the first issue! The series was about the Hood itself, not the man under it! Two more characters would don the hood in the series– a mobster and a teenager. The Hood was cursed, you see; whoever wore it was compelled to do good and given the physical enhancements to do so. It was a pretty good series, with great creators like Mark Wheatley, Rick Burchett, and Tim Sale working on it. It only lasted twelve issues; it probably should’ve stayed a lot longer.
Our own Brian Cronin wrote about the !mpact series a while back. Click here to read about the goodness that was the Black Hood.
I love the Archie superheroes, and I loved the !mpact line. The Black Hood is an overlooked but really fun part of the mythos, and I wouldn’t mind seeing another revival sometime. Maybe a few of the other heroes deserve the relaunch ahead of the Black Hood, but the concept’s got limitless potential, especially since the premise has led to so many different story directions! Talk about your character legacies… forget the Justice Society! You’ve got the MLJ guys!