CHAMPIONS #11 (1977)

I wish they didn’t insist on calling Bill Foster’s character Black Goliath. 

Anyway, I’m pretty sure this was John Byrne’s first work with Marvel. At least, he’s billed in the credits as “introducing the pulse-pounding pencils of…”

champions #11 crash

This issue starts with a female driver joke.

Then, an interlude in the West where Ghost Rider, who is not with the team anymore, meets Hawkeye, who is still road-tripping with the time-displaced Two-Gun Kid.

Ghost Rider fights a stampede.

champions john byrne first marvel work

Then the team fights space invaders and blows them up.

It ends by showing us that next issue, we’ll see Stilt Man.  I like him.

5 thoughts on “CHAMPIONS #11 (1977)”

  1. The best thing about this otherwise pedestrian ‘Champions’ adventure is the artwork. People grill me all the time about why I don’t spend more time reading “real” adventure fiction by guys like Robert Ludlum, Brad Thor, Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, etc., well, I DO read those guy’s stuff, from time to time, but, largely, their work doesn’t feature the magnificent artwork of guys like George Perez, Neal Adams, John Buscema, and the one-and-only John Byrne! ‘The Champions’ was Byrne’s very first professional assignment for Marvel, having knocked poor old Bob Brown out of the job! ( Brown learned the HARD WAY he had been replaced on the assignment, reminding the world one more time that the comic-book industry can be as ruthless as any other ) I enjoyed the “Two-Gun Kid” sub-plot for the simple reason that I have always wondered what I would make of the world of a hundred years from now. Not long following this issue, in the pages of ‘The Avengers’, Matt Hawkes, the Two-Gun Kid, would have to face the hard reality that he is truly out of his depth against the monsters, supervillains, and alien invaders of the Twentieth Century, and returns to his own time, and the gunfighters,bank robbers, cattle rustlers, owlhoots, and rowdy Indians of his proper time. I would like to prefer to believe that I could assimilate into the world of the 22nd Century, if necessary, ( ala Buck Rogers ) but, who knows??? I figure by the next century, Humanity will either have mastered the world- crime, disease, war, pestilence, famine, etc.- or there will be no world at ALL. Hmmm- maybe, like the Two-Gun Kid in the Nineteenth Century, I’m better off here. I have spoken with several black comics fans who have conveyed their ire at the Big Two’s insistence at naming all their black superheroes with “Black” in the front of their sobriquets, ( ‘Black Panther’, ‘Black Goliath’, ‘Black Lightning’, ‘Black Vulcan’, ‘Black Racer’, etc. ) and, yes, it ticks them off! They want to know why all the white superjocks aren’t known as ‘The Amazing White Spider-Man’, the ‘Incredible Green Hulk’, the ‘Ever-Lovin’ Orange Thing’, the ‘Yellow Master of Kung Fu’, the ‘Indigo-blue Nightcrawler’, the ‘Savage Green She-Hulk’ and so on! I have tried to explain to these kind souls that this is mainly because comic-books are written by middle-aged white guys who are historically insensitive to the needs and feelings of their ethnic readership, but it just doesn’t cut a lot of ice with them! There is a point-of-view on the Internet that the superhero genre is primarily a “white-boy” thing, which would seem to be supported by the Big Two’s relentless efforts across the past half-century to create and market black superheroes to “inner-city”/”urban” audiences, with, unfortunately, only very limited success. Black kids know what they like, and white kids read funnybooks! It’s a basic cultural difference, although I applaud the efforts of black creators to create characters who reflect their culture and their needs. Marvel has a title called “The Crew” which features an all-black line-up of the House of Ideas’ highest-profile black characters: Storm, Power Man, the Falcon, the Black Panther, War Machine, Misty Knight, and a few others like that, all improbably banded together in a common cause against evil and racial injustice, etc., written by, of course, a black writer! I don’t know if “The Crew” is still in publication, or if this title is even necessary, given it’s racially-exclusionary/divisive nature. ( “Sorry, Spidey! Sorry, Daredevil! Can’t TAKE you at this time! You are the WRONG COLOR for our organization!!” ) Suppose the Avengers, or the X-Men, or the Justice League, or whoever, were to adopt a similar “whites-only” recruitment policy!!! Yeah!!! It would be “Iron Man and Professor X and the JLA versus Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP!!!” Come to think of it- I’d read that!! Nuff’Said!!

    • I can’t argue with you about Champions….But I have a fondness for it. I liked it as a kid. The Crew is great–and it made sense. The characters specifically bonded over their race and their experience as minorities. I don’t see why that’s a bad thing.

  2. A further thought about black superjocks and “The Crew”, in particular: Marvel greenlit two iterations of this series, the first during the Aughts, and the second during the Teens, just several years ago, and neither version lasted beyond half a dozen issues, which supports my assertion that trying to tailor comics to “urban” audiences is futile. If a series featuring Power Man, the Falcon, War Machine, Misty Knight, and, especially, Storm and the Black Panther can’t garner an audience, then it’s hopeless. If Marvel wants to give “The Crew” a third try, my advice would be to depoliticize it to the Max, don’t use it as a platform or soapbox for hot-topic issues pertaining to race, just tell good stories about good people who just happen to be black battling bad people and natural disasters, etc. Try to make it a contemporized version of “The Champions”, with that distinct Seventies flavor, and give it a TOP-FLIGHT artist- a fan-favorite with a proven track-record of selling comics, and all this might- just might- make “The Crew” a sellable series! Word!


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