The Black Hood: 90s Fodder

Before Impact's Black Hood #1 came out, the character built himself up a reputation as the line's Punisher by appearing in every other title, guns blazing and in full 90s regalia. Then #1 hits the stands and the Black Hood dies in his first issue. A lot of people only remember the character for that one "joke". Let me fill in the rest here.

Background: The original 1940s Black Hood was your run-of-the-mill masked vigilante with a bright yellow costume and the usual familiarity with fist-fighting. I'm not sure if it was the 80s revival that included the idea that fighting for justice was a family tradition, or simply that the hood itself was passed on from person to person, but Impact certainly ran with it.

Revamp Method: Dead Man's Gun.

Why Keep the Impact Black Hood?
1. The Hood
Whatever the Black Hood wears under his neckline, the mask always looks great, especially when it does the googly eyes like that. The thing's seen better days and you get the feeling that one day, there's gonna be a character called the Black Handkerchief, but all the power comes from the Hood. It gives you enhanced strength, agility, fighting prowess and weapons savvy, BUT it also forces you to "do good", however you interpret that mission. So really, when the series is called The Black Hood, it's titled after the object, not the man.

2. The passing of the torch
The Hood is a perfect set-up for a Dead Man's Gun approach to storytelling. After all, anyone who wears it not only assumed the powers of the Black Hood, but his crimefighting goals as well. Over the course of the short series (Impact's best, I think), we see how different men handle it, each one with his own tactics and reactions. Now sure, similar "pass the buck" series haven't done so well commercially. The last Dial H for Hero series for example. But one thing Black Hood did well was to introduce a cast of characters in the first issue, and then passing the Hood among them. That way, you were always invested as a reader in whoever was the Hood's heir, and the mask could go back and forth between them.

3. Seaside City
Impact heroes were all based in smallish towns like Evergreen, Crowns Pointe and Elm Harbor, none of which would make worthy additions to the DC Universe. But Seaside City has that ring to it, and does DC currently have a casino town among its "character cities"? Seaside makes for an interesting Atlantic City stand-in and could be the Archies' way in, just as Dakota is Milestone's.

4. Hit Coffee
One of the Hoods was Horton "Hit" Coffee and he was a criminal. So how does the mask's curse affect someone on the wrong side of the law (indeed, the Punisher-Hood's killer)? Hit uses the Hood's powers to take over the criminal underworld in Seaside City, since setting himself up as crime boss would actually make things better for the town! And yet, the Hood won't allow him to commit murder, so he's keeping people alive in the basement. It was great fun seeing him look for loopholes, and indicative of the concept's potential.

Why NOT Keep the Impact Black Hood?
1. The 90s outfit
Please please please please please never take that thing out of the closet ever again.

And since there are other Archie heroes who didn't get their own series, I'll have to do one last feature with all of them in it. Tomorrow? The next day? Day after that? Oh don't you just hate the suspense?


rob! said...

yeah, that new outfit is a big N-O.

Jayunderscorezero said...

Garish, bright red costume aside, that hood itself does actually look pretty neat.

Bill D. said...

Oh, please tell me you're going to include Bob Phantom!

Siskoid said...


Anonymous said...

I only know about some of these characters from the PSAish guest spots in some Sonic the Hedgehog comics. The ones I remember off hand are the Web, Jaguar, I think the Shield, and a few others that haven't been here like Blackjack. Interesting to learn their history.

Stephen said...

that sounds awesome i wanna buy those comics

Siskoid said...

I bet they're real cheap.

Diabolu Frank said...

Black Hood's always been cool, from the unique 40's origin to Gray Morrow's early 80's work. Everything I ever heard about the !mpact Black Hood sounded good, except that it was so opposed to the "kid's line" intent of the intial offerings. Also, it didn't launch until after I'd given up on the line.

Siskoid said...

True, it tended toward PG instead of G. But then, I was 19-20 when it was being published.


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