Dave Cockrum: Legion of Super Heroes/Blackhawk Story


Dave sent me an interesting letter in which he describes a story proposal he made to DC that would have had Blackhawk Island appearing in the Legion of Super Heroes:

Hi, Dan--

I just thought of something you might find interesting. My very first regular strip was the Legion of Superheroes, set in the 3oth or 31st century. I was young and enthusiastic, and wanted to help turn the Legion into something more than just another superhero strip, and I was constantly suggesting plot ideas to editor Murray Boltinoff and writer Cary Bates. Most of my ideas never got used, which, unfortunately, was the case with this one too.

I proposed a story where several Legionnaires, in one of their big space cruisers, were pursuing some bad guys through Earth's atmosphere. Current extreme sunspot activity interfered with and prevented them from using their flight rings. Following the bad guys, they passed into a previously unknown time bubble and landed on an uncharted island where their quarry had already landed and gone into hiding.

Looking around the island, the Legionnaires see that it's some sort of old abandoned flying facility. There are hangars bearing a round symbol with a stylized hawk head, there's old, abandoned ground equipment, there's an air control tower and radar equipment. It all looks well used and ancient, although in fairly good condition considering its obvious age. While they're looking around they hear a loud rumbling. It gets louder and louder, and suddenly the War Wheel careens out of the hills and smashes into the Legion Cruiser, cutting it in half. The flying tank, the scorpion tank, and other vehicles from the Blackhawk museum attack too.

After fighting off the bad guys and reaching some sort of impasse, the Legion searches the area. Within the hangar they find a couple of old, partly disassembled F-90s in Blackhawk markings. There are other relics and reminders of a long ago band of adventurers. The ready room has a portrait of seven guys in blue above a fireplace. There's a broken coffee mug on the hearth that says 'Blackhawk'. There's an old wooden propeller mounted on the wall. This is all old and dusty, but basically intact.

The Legionnaires have no idea who these guys were. History records from our era are fragmented, they established that many times in the Legion strip. But they need help from some of the other Legionnaires, and the only possible way to get it is to assemble a working F-90 from the ones in the hangar and fly it out. So they do. One of them pilots the F-90 back to Legion Headquarters, gets other Legionnaires to come back and help finish off the bad guys, and the F-90 winds up in a museum with historians puzzling and marveling over it. As the Legionnaires exit the island the time bubble closes and that's the last they see of the mysterious island which, because of the symbols on the jets and hangars, and because of the broken coffee cup, they've come to call 'Blackhawk Island'.

Murray Boltinoff, the editor, was a stuffy old conservative, and he couldn't see the point in doing a story involving the Blackhawks, particularly since they weren't being published just then. Cary Bates wasn't a Blackhawk fan, so he wasn't willing to help convince Murray. Ergo, the story was never told. But boy, would I have had a good time!

Dave

This sounds like it would have been a fun story. It's too bad it didn't happen.


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