A Tribute to the of

We havenít visited our favorite Thanagarans for a while, so how about a good olí Hawkman tale for this edition of the Silver Age Sage? The Gardner Fox scripted tale is called, ďThe Menace of the Dragonfly Raiders!Ē with art by the immortal Joe Kubert, lettering by my friend Gaspar Saladino and editing by Julius Schwartz. Itís contained in the June/July 1962 issue of The Brave and the Bold, #42, to be precise and is Hawkman and Hawkgirlís fourth appearance in the venerable title, though technically the sixth if you take into account the fact that there are two stories each in issues 35 and 36. Itís also their first appearance in 1962, after a one-year hiatus since issue #36 bears a publication date of June/July 1961.

In another first, this tale begins with our husband and wife heroic team making their way from Earth back to their home world of Thanagar after a more than six-month assignment. Itís time to report in to the chief of police, Andar Pul on their activities during their trip as they spent time not only pursuing the criminal Blyth (from B&B #34 and reviewed here in the archives [Sage #16]. Julie would be proud of me) but additionally learning Earth police methods.

As they meet up with the chief, the winged wonders recount their adventures, to include the battle with Blyth, their tangle with the Matter Master (also in the Sage archives: #s 141 and 170), an encounter with a modern day sorcerer and their successful apprehension of the Shadow Thief. Andar Pul is duly impressed with all theyíve accomplished, but when Katar Hol urges him to adopt some of the police practices theyíve learned, the chief says heíll take it under consideration once they see if itís feasible and instructs Katar and Shayera to report back next Rothan after taking a well-deserved rest. Julie Schwartz, in one of his patented editorial notes, explains that a Rothan is equivalent to a week on Earth.

So, back at their apartment, which has been kept up by robot cleaners in their absence, they ponder a meal out. Shayera, however, is fearful that the fashions have changed in their absence, so she doesnít have any suitable attire, so itís a night in, thanks to the ability to order up meals from central cooking via the pneuma-tube. Katar muses he wonders what their earth friends would think of such, while Shayera adds that it would likely be strange to them to see that they do not handle money, but pay for things like this meal with their identi-cards, which draw funds from their automatically deposited planetary bank account.

How about that, folks? Gardner Fox foresaw the debit card in 1961 and a little later, the DVR when Mr. and Mrs. Hol watch taped editions of the news during their absence on the tube. Furthermore, a prescient version of the internet as Shayera shops for new clothes on another screen.

As their R&R is winding up, the couple is a little surprised that not a single crime has been committed, even though thieves on Thanagar steal strictly for the rush. They neednít have worried, because within a couple of Dals, or Thanagar hours, they receive a police bulleting that criminals are planning a theft at the medal mint at twilight.

Upon their arrival, they come upon a fantastic scene with small, nearly doll-sized figures astride massive dragonflies. As they use their police weapons, however, nothing phases them. Hawkman decides the only thing to do is to contact Andar Pul and gain permission to use Earth methods, since Thanagar tactics have been thwarted. The police chief quickly concurs and Katar wastes no time in scooping up a rope to make a lariat, pulling the small creatures from their winged mounts while other winged police retrieve the stolen items.

Returning to police HQ triumphant, another report soon comes in that deflates things. Apparently the dragonflies themselves returned without their riders and retook the medals. Katar muses that it seems almost like a Blyth caper, using the Thanagaran scientist Krtotanís pill that allowed him to alter himself into any living thing. But Blyth has been incarcerated on Thanagar since his capture by the Holís.

The chief decides itís time to check the prison just to make certain and sure enough, despite the fact no one had ever escaped an Electro-cell, Blyth is gone. Further investigation reveals the dragonfly riders are actually miniature androids. As they puzzle over the escape, we, the readers are given a flashback to a few weeks earlier when Blyth received a visitor. Even though he was accompanied, Blyth was able to use some subtle sign language to communicate with Jarl, instructing him on the ingredients for the pill that will allow him to alter himself. Jarl takes the information and uses it to make a coating on the unsealed envelope mailed to Blyth. He simply licked the envelope and then transformed into a Vandalusian Driller Mole and tunneled his way out. Later, he and his henchmen became dragonflies and pulled their job.

Later, Hawkman and Hawkgirl end up at the Veil of Valmoora, a picturesque waterfall where they first met and were working on a case, which ultimately led to their falling in love and marrying. Shayera mentions the marriage earrings she received, which is Thanagarís answer to a wedding ring on earth. It causes an epiphany for Katar, who later shows her on the Encyclo-viewer that famed gem tree that scientists had discovered on a distant world and brought to Thanagar. It literally bears gems instead of fruit every year or so. They will use it to bait Blyth and company with artificially placed gems and a public announcement that it has ďbloomedĒ again.

So a stakeout is set up, but right before their eyes the gems disappear. Hawkman, however, uses his keen detective skills to note that shadow of the tree has moved appreciably. He offers the chief a pair of dark glasses to track where the thieves had gone, due to his and Hawgirlís efforts in coating the gems in a radioactive substance. The technology, from one used on Earth, works and they track the thieves to a cave where the police set up a radiation curtain to keep them within.

Meanwhile, Blyth and his party reveal how they pulled the heist in the first place, using a trance-gun of his own design and his changeling ability to burrow up into the tree and fire the gun at the assembly, causing them to effectively lose a few minutes while they stripped the tree.

Soon it is apparent their hide-out isnít concealing them well when the Winged Wonders fly into the cave. Each member of the gang quickly changes into a menacing creature, but Hawkgirl swiftly engages a gorilla-dog (+ original art) and uses some good old Jiu Jitsu to knock it unconscious, revealing the man behind the creature. Hawkman follows suit with a Horned Rock Clinger, knocking him cold and leaving an unconscious man where the creature was. The Carangian Tiger Cat is next and the pair join forces to toss it against the radiation curtain, once again causing an unconscious gang member. Blyth is the only one left and since Shayera has flown the other two bodies to the chief outside, itís Hawkman vs. Blyth in the form of a large Mirage Bird that has the ability to project an image of itself. If Hawkman chooses to engage the wrong one, he will be pounced upon.

As the identical figures fly toward our hero he has a split second to act and chooses correctly. A mighty blow fells the bird and Blyth is out for the count. How? Hawkman noted at the last possible second that one of the birds had a fixed stare while the other was looking toward it, revealing itself to be Blyth.

So now, incarcerated once again, extra precautions are taken, to include no outside contact and in a formal ceremony, despite Katar Holís protests, he is honored by Krandor Vat, High Mor of Thanagar with Honor Wings, newly affixed to his helmet/headpiece.

So, in a story with excitement, adventure and mystery, Hawkman officially earns his wings. I give this story an enthusiastic 10 on the rating scale. It had a little bit of everything that made the Silver Age stories great and included, as I mentioned, a few firsts. The first glimpse of Thanagar, the imaginative trappings of life there, courtesy of Gardner Fox and the first time he was embellished with the wings on the headgear. This was a great tale that youíll love if you get a chance to read it, which I certainly recommend.

If you're a fan of the talented Kubert family, be sure to check out the just-released BACK ISSUE #90 where yours truly had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Kubert about his work on Jezebel Jade, along with writer William Messner-Loebs.

Be sure to swing back by on the 1st of the month when weíll visit yet another 75 year veteran of the comics world. Until then, feel free to express yourself at my handy e-mail: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you then andÖ

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2016 by B.D.S.

This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by


The Silver Lantern Site Menu + Map & Updates

HomeThe SageSage Archives1934-19551956
1967196819691970GL Data

All characters mentioned, artwork, logos and other visual depictions displayed, unless otherwise noted, are © by DC Comics. No infringement upon those rights is intended or should be inferred. Cover, interior and other artwork scans and vid-caps are used for identification purposes only. The mission of this non-profit site is to entertain and inform. It is in no way authorized or endorsed by DC Comics and/or its parent company. The Webmaster assumes no responsibility for the content or maintenance of external links.