Blackmark is a paperback book (Bantam S5871) published by the American company Bantam Books in January 1971. It is one of the first American graphic novels, predating works such as Richard Corben's Bloodstar (1976), Jim Steranko's Chandler: Red Tide (1976), Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy's Sabre (Sept. 1978), and Will Eisner's A Contract with God (Oct. 1978). It was conceived and drawn by comic book artist Gil Kane, and scripted by Archie Goodwin from an outline by Kane.

The term "graphic novel", while seen in print as early as 1964 in an obscure fan publication, was not in mainstream use in 1971 when Blackmark, a science fiction/sword-and-sorcery adventure, was first published; the back-cover blurb of the February 2002 30th-anniversary edition calls the book, retroactively, "the very first American graphic novel." A 119-page story of comic-book art, with captions and word balloons, published in a traditional book format, Blackmark is the first graphic novel with an original heroic-adventure character conceived expressly for this form. It originally sold for 75 cents, comparable to other paperbacks at the time.

Blackmark paperback
The original 1971 Bantam paperback Blackmark. Cover art by Gil Kane.
DateJanuary 1971
Main charactersBlackmark
Page count128 pages
PublisherBantam Books
Creative team
WritersArchie Goodwin
ArtistsGil Kane
CreatorsGil Kane

Publication history

Detail from Blackmark (1971) by scripter Archie Goodwin and artist-plotter Gil Kane

Gil Kane — an established comics artist who helped usher in the Silver Age of comic books with his part in revamping the DC Comics characters Green Lantern and the Atom, and who drew The Amazing Spider-Man during a historically notable 1970s run — had experimented with the graphic novel form with his 1968 black-and-white comics magazine His Name is... Savage, a 40-page espionage thriller scripted by Archie Goodwin from an outline by Kane.

According to Kane in a 1996 interview, Bantam Books CEO Oscar Dystel had personally taken Kane's pitch after Kane's attorney had secured him an appointment through a mutual friend of the attorney's and Dystel's. Kane went on to say Bantam contracted for four books, and increased the order to eight after Dystel saw and liked the completed pages of the first. Kane said Bantam paid him $3,500 for 120 pages (including the cover) all written, drawn and lettered in "camera-ready" form, i.e., in completed form suitable to go immediately to the printing press. Kane recalled having to draw "30 pages in one week. Then I'd have to knock off for a week or two to make some additional money" drawing comic-book stories and, mainly, covers.[1]

Goodwin recalled that he came in at "the 11th hour":

...Gil and I would talk about working together. ... And then Gil would get into a situation where he was ready to begin a project. I would find myself in other situations so I couldn't work on the project. He would begin getting other people to do stuff. It wouldn't work out totally to his satisfaction. He would ask me, "Gee, can you come in on this thing?" And on both [His Name is...]Savage and Blackmark, I came in on them after they were started. [After the synopsis was written], Gil and I would get involved in the breaking-down and the layout-out of the stuff and reshaping it. But we would always be reshaping it as we would go along, because by then the deadline was on us.[2]

The 2002 reissue, in its afterword, credits cartoonist and Mad magazine founder Harvey Kurtzman as laying out a small number of pages, and another major comics artist, Neal Adams, as inking some of Kane's pencil work, both doing so as a favor to help Kane meet his deadlines. Adams' own website, however, states that Adams did not ink but rather "penciled pages 80/81/82/92/98-107 / (total of 14pgs.)"[3] and "Neal penciled 14 pages with Gil Kane inks (pages 80,81,82,92,98-107)".[4]

Though Bantam had envisioned a series of eight books, the publisher halted plans after the first sold less well than expected. Kane maintained that,

...they didn't do what they said they would do, which was originally to put two or three of them out at once so that they could be noticed on that stand.[1]... I finished the second one, and I was almost finished with the pencils on the third one, when the whole thing ran out of steam because the first one came out and the original plan was to turn out two of them at one time, and a third one the following month, so that they would have a place on the rack. But when they turned out one by itself, nobody knew where to put it, whether it was science fiction, cartoons.... So Dystel[5] said [after the first book's sales figured had come in], 'OK, we'll do it your way. We'll turn out the books in a sequence.'[6]

Kane also partly blamed Tarzan comic strip writer-artist Burne Hogarth, an influential figure in the field, for the series' demise:

Then Burne came up and started to say that the pages were too small. So I get a call from Dystel who says, 'You've got to make fewer pictures on a page so that they're not so small.' ... And they didn't have a trade book size in those days. ... But once the criticism started to come from Burne and everybody else, despite the fact that Oscar Dystel was crazy about it, the fact was that about 60 days later I couldn't get him on the phone and then beyond that it was all a dead issue. And the contract didn't stand because I never could get the books in on time since I was underpaid [for] them anyhow.[1]

MarvelPreview17 Blackmark
The planned sequel eventually premiered in Marvel Preview #17. Cover art by Romas Kukalis.

By this time Kane had already completed The Mind Demons, which eventually premiered — with its contents intact but its panel-layout reconfigured — as the 62-page Marvel Comics magazine Marvel Preview #17 (Winter 1979). In an early use of the term, it was called a graphic novel on the cover.

The first Blackmark book had already been reprinted by then — similarly with its contents intact but its panel-layout reconfigured — in Marvel's black-and-white comics-magazine omnibus The Savage Sword of Conan #1-4 (Aug. 1974 - Feb. 1975), as the 15-page "Blackmark" and the 14-page "Blackmark (Chapter 2)", "The Testing Of Blackmark", and "Blackmark Triumphant!" The 2002 reissue did not include the original's one-paragraph biography of Kane.

The 30th-anniversary edition (ISBN 1-56097-456-7) includes both the original book and the 117-page sequel The Mind Demons; an eight-page historical afterword; and the original paperback's double-page frontispiece. It does not include the original final page: a full-body shot of Blackmark with sword, and a Kane floating-head self-portrait and one-paragraph biography / afterword.

Blackmark is unrelated to the music company Black Mark at, or to the fictional insurgent group Blackmark in the TV series Babylon 5.


Old Earth is dead, devastated by the nuclear holocausts. New Earth lives on as a shadow world, inhabited by the vestiges of humanity, divided into tyrannical petty kingdoms, wracked by fear, superstitions, and barbaric poverty. Strange, fearsome mutated beast roam the blasted lands and waters, while on the cold northern frontiers, a race of malformed men with strange mental powers plot the eventual conquest of the planet from the fortress of Psi-Keep.

Zeph the Tinker travels with his young wife Marnie from Country Clayro through Country McCall and the Demon Waste. While Zeph is hunting game, Marnie is startled by two riders fleeing pursuers. The riders — the dying wizard-king Amarix and his companion Balzamo — make the barren woman a deal to not only transfer the post-holocaust knowledge in his head to Marnie, but to make it possible for that information to be passed onto her unborn child

That child, Blackmark, eventually becomes a gladiator slave.


The book won its creator, Gil Kane, a Shazam Award for Special Recognition in 1973 "for Blackmark, his paperback comics novel."

Critical assessments

Associate Professor Matt Thorn of the School of Cartoon & Comic Art, Kyoto Seika University, in Japan, said of the 1971 paperback: "[I]t's a great read, beautifully illustrated. ... I found the separation of text and images to be no obstacle, and was soon absorbed in the story and art. And speaking of art, this is truly Kane at his finest. Here I think he approaches his own ideal of portraying 'life in motion'. Melodramatic? Cheesy? Maybe. Blackmark is pulp entertainment at its best".[7]

Critic Randy Lander, in a review of the reissue, said Blackmark "started to push the boundaries of what comics could do. The book does not look particularly revolutionary in 2002, but when you consider that it was created over 30 years ago, this illustrated novel that is a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy genres and is unquestionably aimed at an adult audience, starts to look a lot more impressive. ...Goodwin and Kane take a fairly predictable plot and stock characters and make it a fascinating and twisted ride. ... The material sometimes features cheesy dialogue or veers into melodrama, but mostly it holds up remarkably well. It's hard to argue against the merits of Blackmark. It's a piece of comic-book history, a solidly produced book and an example of work from two of the finest creators to grace the medium".[8]

Comics historian R. C. Harvey notes that "several sequences ... gain enormous power from the juxtaposition of pictures and prose."[9] Breaking down a four-page scene in which the mother of a six-year-old Blackmark is raped as the child is forced to look on, Harvey observes that,

Upon first examination, it would appear that the pictures add nothing to the story that is not present in the words. In fact, in some instances, the pictures repeat information given us in the text. That sort of verbal-visual double exposure normally signals inept use of the medium. But a careful reading ... suggests that Kane's visual treatment has contributed a dimension of horror to the incident that is but hinted at in the accompanying words. ... As scripted by Archie Goodwin, the prose is spare, almost flat: It narrates the action in nearly emotionless, descriptive language.... Kane handles the accompanying visuals with similar restraint. [All but one panel] on the first two pages are closeups ... where the emotional consequences of the action are registered. [The mother's] staring but unseeing eyes and her silent scream convey in an instant all the horror, revulsion, and sense of violation that the otherwise restrained sequence only suggests ... [and] derives a good deal of its power from its contrast to the emotionless context in which it appears."[10]


  1. ^ a b c "Interview with Gil Kane, Part 1". The Comics Journal (186): 88. April 1996.
  2. ^ Afterword, Blackmark 30th Anniversary Edition, p. 238 (Fantagraphics Books, 2002) ISBN 1-56097-456-7
  3. ^ "Book Covers and Illustration", WebCitation archive.
  4. ^ "Magazines and Fanzines", WebCitation archive.
  5. ^ The original source misspelled the name as "Distel". It is Oscar Dystel per sources including Finn, David (2006). "Oscar Dystel". Ruder-Finn Move!. 10. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
  6. ^ Comics Journal, p. 89
  7. ^ Thorn, Matt (n.d.). "Matt Thorn's Reviews of Non-Japanese Comics". Comicology. Archived from the original on September 11, 2004. Retrieved November 7, 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Additional .
  8. ^ Lander, Randy (June 17, 2002). "Blackmark GN". (Review) "Snap Judgments" (column), Archived from the original on June 28, 2002.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Additional .
  9. ^ Harvey, R.C. (1996). The Art of the Comic Book. University Press of Mississippi. p. 114. ISBN 978-0878057580.
  10. ^ Harvey, pp. 114-115

External links

1971 in comics

This is a list of comics-related events in 1971.

Academy of Comic Book Arts

The Academy of Comic Book Arts (ACBA) was an American professional organization of the 1970s that was designed to be the comic book industry analog of such groups as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Composed of comic-book professionals and initially formed as an honorary society focused on discussing the comic-book craft and hosting an annual awards banquet, the ACBA evolved into an advocacy organization focused on creators' rights.

The ACBA award, the Shazam, was a statuette in the shape of a lightning bolt. In addition to the creative awards, the ACBA also established the Academy of Comic Book Arts Hall of Fame award, inducting Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster as its initial honorees.

Bantam Books

Bantam Books is an American publishing house owned entirely by parent company Random House, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House; it is an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group. It was formed in 1945 by Walter B. Pitkin, Jr., Sidney B. Kramer, and Ian and Betty Ballantine, with funding from Grosset & Dunlap and Curtis Publishing Company. It has since been purchased several times by companies including National General, Carl Lindner's American Financial and, most recently, Bertelsmann; it became part of Random House in 1998, when Bertelsmann purchased it to form Bantam Doubleday Dell. It began as a mass market publisher, mostly of reprints of hardcover books, with some original paperbacks as well. It expanded into both trade paperback and hardcover books, including original works, often reprinted in house as mass-market editions.

Black Mark Production

Black Mark Production (founded 1991) is an independent record label originally based in Berlin, later on with offices in Stockholm, Toronto and New York City etc. Black Mark Productions today is a worldwide operating business placed in Villa Hammerheart, Bruzaholm, Sweden, that specializes in extreme metal releases, perhaps best known for its close connection to Quorthon, leader of the defining black metal band Bathory until his death in 2004. As Quorthon himself has stated several times, it was often speculated that he had something to do with the business and operation of Black Mark Productions, except for the concept and name of the label, which would be referenced in the title of the 1987 release Under the Sign of the Black Mark. Quorthon received permission from the Tyfon Grammofon label - which was owned by Börje "Boss" Forsberg and featured Bathory - to use his own proxy-label on all Bathory albums, along with a unique 666-X serial number, starting with the self-titled debut album from 1984, but the label wasn't founded as a separate entity before 1991. Who did found it remains disputed, but many point to Boss Forsberg.

Black Spot

Black Spot or black spot may refer to:

Black Spot (disease), a plant disease caused by a fungus

Black spot disease (fish), a fish disease also known as diplopstomiasis

Black Spot (Treasure Island), a literary device in Treasure Island, a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson

A section of roadway that has been designated as being particularly accident-prone, as in the Black Spot Program from the Australian government

An experimental shoe company from Adbusters

A short Israeli film in the pastiche Yellow Asphalt

Black Spot (aircraft), a series of attack aircraft tested by the US Air Force in the Vietnam War

A black spot with which children in South Asia are marked to protect them from the evil eye

Black Spot (TV series), a French-Belgian television series

Black mark

Black mark or blackmark may refer to:

Blackmark, 1971 Gil Kane graphic novel

Black Mark Production, Swedish record production company

Comic book

A comic book or comicbook, also called comic magazine or simply comic, is a publication that consists of comic art in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represent individual scenes. Panels are often accompanied by brief descriptive prose and written narrative, usually, dialog contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form. Although comics has some origins in 18th century Japan, comic books were first popularized in the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1930s. The first modern comic book, Famous Funnies, was released in the U.S. in 1933 and was a reprinting of earlier newspaper humor comic strips, which had established many of the story-telling devices used in comics. The term comic book derives from American comic books once being a compilation of comic strips of a humorous tone; however, this practice was replaced by featuring stories of all genres, usually not humorous in tone.

The largest comic book market is Japan. By 1995, the manga market in Japan was valued at ¥586.4 billion ($6–7 billion), with annual sales of 1.9 billion manga books/magazines in Japan (equivalent to 15 issues per person). The comic book market in the United States and Canada was valued at $1.09 billion in 2016. As of 2017, the largest comic book publisher in the United States is manga distributor Viz Media, followed by DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Another major comic book market is France, where Franco-Belgian comics and Japanese manga each represent 40% of the market, followed by American comics at 10% market share.

Gil Kane

Gil Kane (; born Eli Katz ; April 6, 1926 – January 31, 2000) was a Latvian-born American comics artist whose career spanned the 1940s to the 1990s and virtually every major comics company and character.

Kane co-created the modern-day versions of the superheroes Green Lantern and the Atom for DC Comics, and co-created Iron Fist with Roy Thomas for Marvel Comics. He was involved in such major storylines as that of The Amazing Spider-Man #96–98, which, at the behest of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, bucked the then-prevalent Comics Code Authority to depict drug abuse, and ultimately spurred an update of the Code. Kane additionally pioneered an early graphic novel prototype, His Name is ... Savage, in 1968, and a seminal graphic novel, Blackmark, in 1971.

In 1997, he was inducted into both the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Harvey Award Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.

Graphic novel

A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word "novel" normally refers to long fictional works, the term "graphic novel" is applied broadly and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term "comic book", which is generally used for comics periodicals.

Fan historian Richard Kyle coined the term "graphic novel" in an essay in the November 1964 issue of the comics fanzine Capa-Alpha. The term gained popularity in the comics community after the publication of Will Eisner's A Contract with God (1978) and the start of Marvel's Graphic Novel line (1982) and became familiar to the public in the late 1980s after the commercial successes of the first volume of Art Spiegelman's Maus in 1986 and the collected editions of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns in 1986 and Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen in 1987. The Book Industry Study Group began using "graphic novel" as a category in book stores in 2001.

His Name Is... Savage

His Name Is... Savage is a 40-page, magazine-format comics novel released in 1968 as a precursor to the modern graphic novel. Created by the veteran American comic book artist Gil Kane, who conceived, plotted and illustrated the project, and writer Archie Goodwin, who scripted under the pseudonym Robert Franklin, the black-and-white magazine was published by Kane's Adventure House Press, and distributed to newsstands.

Howard Chaykin

Howard Victor Chaykin (; born October 7, 1950) is an American comic book artist and writer. Chaykin’s influences include his one-time employer and mentor, Gil Kane and the mid-20th century illustrators Robert Fawcett and Al Parker.

Kasthooriman (TV series)

Kasthooriman [കസ്തൂരിമാൻ - Musk Deer] is an Indian Malayalam television series directed by Sachin k Ibaque. The show premieres on Asianet channel since December 11, 2017. It stars Sreeram Ramachandran & Rebecca Santhosh in the lead roles. It airs every Monday to Saturday at 8:30 PM (IST) on Asianet and anytime on Hotstar.Kasthooriman is the First sensational Hit serial in Malayalam Television.One of the top rated serial in Malayalam television .

Natural performances of the Artists and own Bgm makes this serial unique from other serials. The leading pair is well known as 'Jeevya ' in Social media .It is a sensational Hit in Malayalam .According to BARC india, it is the No:4 serial in Malayalam television. The show is based on English novel Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and Hindi version of the Novel Aired as Kumkum Bhagya on Zee TV. Kasthooriman officially remaked in to telugu as Siri Siri Muvvalu (Star Maa)

List of Fiji national rugby union players

List of Fiji national rugby union players is a list of people who have played for the Fiji national rugby union team. The list only includes players who have played in a test match.

Note that the "position" column lists the position at which the player made his Test debut, not necessarily the position for which he is best known. A position in parentheses indicates that the player debuted as a substitute.

List of years in comics

This page indexes the individual year in comics pages. Each year is annotated with significant events as reference points.

2010s - 2000s - 1990s - 1980s - 1970s - 1960s - 1950s - 1940s - 1930s -


Marvel Preview

Marvel Preview is a black-and-white comics magazine published by Magazine Management for 14 issues and the affiliated Marvel Comics Group for 10 issues. The final issue additionally carried the imprint Marvel Magazines Group.

Savage Sword of Conan

The Savage Sword of Conan was a black-and-white magazine-format comic book series published beginning in 1974 by Curtis Magazines, an imprint of American company Marvel Comics, and then later by Marvel itself. Savage Sword of Conan starred Robert E. Howard's most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian, and has the distinction of being the longest-surviving title of the short-lived Curtis imprint.

As a "magazine", Savage Sword of Conan did not have to conform to the Comics Code Authority, making it a publication of choice for many illustrators. It soon became one of the most popular comic series of the 1970s and is now considered a cult classic. Roy Thomas was the editor and primary writer for the series' first few years (until issue 60), which featured art by illustrators such as Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Pablo Marcos, and Walter Simonson. Painted covers were provided by such artists as Earl Norem, Bob Larkin, and Joe Jusko.

Savage Sword of Conan was published under the Curtis imprint until issue 60, when it became part of the Marvel Magazine Group. Stories from the comic were reprinted in the Marvel UK title of the same name. The original run of Savage Sword of Conan ran until issue #235 (July 1995).

Marvel Comics reacquired the publishing rights in 2018, and started a new run of Savage Sword of Conan beginning in February 2019.

St. John Publications

St. John Publications was an American publisher of magazines and comic books. During its short existence (1947–58), St. John's comic books established several industry firsts. Founded by Archer St. John, the firm was located in Manhattan at 545 Fifth Avenue. After the St. John comic books came to an end in 1958, the company continued to publish its magazine line into the next decade. Flying Eagle Publications was a magazine affiliate of St. John Publications. Comic book imprints included Approved Comics, Blue Ribbon, and Jubilee Publications.


TOFOP (an acronym of Thirty Odd Foot Of Podcast) is a weekly Australian comedy podcast created and hosted by Wil Anderson and Charlie Clausen, and launched in July 2010. Episodes are roughly an hour in length, and primarily consists of casual conversations between Anderson and Clausen on a variety of recurring themes, including; film, popular culture, and sport. Common features are humorous personal anecdotes, and detailed discussions on bizarre hypothetical situations. Significant media coverage in June 2012 helped TOFOP rise to become the most popular comedy podcast in Australia.The podcast has over 50,000 followers in 70 countries mostly in Australia and the USA. Anderson and Clausen have made occasional appearances on episodes of TOFOP's "sister podcast," American comedy podcast Walking the Room. This relationship contributed greatly to the podcast's American popularity.

During Episode 83 of TOFOP, released on 9 September 2012, the projected long-term hiatus of the podcast was announced. Clausen and Anderson were deliberately vague in detailing the reasons for TOFOP's hiatus, other than the fact that a particular company employing Clausen had objected to the content of the podcast. In January 2013 the hiatus was revealed to have been requested by the Seven Network after Clausen had received a starring role as Zac MacGuire in popular Australian soap opera Home and Away. The show returned in February 2013 under the name FOFOP, a reference to a previous episode and the television show Fringe. However, due to contractual obligations the show returned without Clausen, and instead with Anderson and one or more guests, nicknamed "guest-Charlies".

On 1 June 2014 Clausen returned to TOFOP in Episode 84, after almost 2 years. Each episode of the podcast averages 20,000 downloads.In 2017, TOFOP joined the podcasting network, Planet Broadcasting.

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