Monday, February 11, 2008

More on Chop-Chop

I'm kind of surprised that my recent post on Chop-Chop got so much attention, having been linked by both Mike Sterling and Journalista!. Traffic to this blog has septupled because of their interest, so thanks to both for the links.

I basically threw up the post as a way to work through some writer's block on the research I was doing, and it seemed to work, as I completed a full draft of the paper last night.

Sterling mentioned that the "metatextual" moment where Weng "Chop-Chop" Chen responds to his comic book likeness was one of his favorite metatextual gags, so to show what really happened, here's the moment, from Blackhawk 1 (1989), by Marty Pasko and Rich Burchett.

In the world of this series, the Blackhawk comic is actually written by Lady Blackhawk, who in this series is not the Zinda Blake of current continuity, but Natalie Reed, an eye-patch-wearing American Communist created by Chaykin for his miniseries. Here are the specific panels to which Weng is responding:

If you compare these panels to those in my earlier post, you'll see that this isn't really a parody of the original, but a pretty accurate recreation.

As Olaf's comment in the top panel addresses, the original Blackhawk series was not a font of cultural sensitivity--every character in the series conformed to some ethnic or nationalist stereotype.

And, as Rob Rogers points out in the comments for the earlier post, Weng Chen's story continued into the contemporary era. At the same time as the Pasko/Burchett series, it was established in the modern DC universe that Weng was the CEO of Blackhawk Express, a Fed Ex-style delivery service. The first Blackhawk annual for that series had a backup story featuring the new Blackhawk Express, which includes Weng's children, and the "Who's Who" style entry in the back of the issue indicates that other surviving Blackhawks may be serving as a mysterious board of directors for the company (though I don't think anything was done with this). In 1992, DC published a Blackhawk Special featuring Blackhawk Express, though I don't have that comic. I think it makes for an interesting kind of irony that the most problematic character in the team's history becomes revamped as the one who survives the longest and has the most success.


Chris Sims said...

The Blackhawks as freelance air-pirates in the modern DCU is very, very high on the list of comic books I want to write.

Rob Rogers said...

A Blackhawk series in the modern DCU. Written by Chris Sims? Where the hell do I sign up?

Martin Wisse said...

That 1992 special was great fun, showing the Blackhawks involved in the Kennedy assasination and all that good stuff.

Written by John Ostrander, IIRC.