Thursday, February 23, 2017

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE #49 (Ebon)


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 My fellow Questers!!

    What's the haps, chaps? I hope all is grits and gravy, baby! Everything is fine as can be in my neck of the woods - I'm looking slick, feeling oh, so good!

    So, what brings me to the keyboard on this fine February day? I have another Black History Month standout just a comin' your way. So, without further ado, I'm gonna skin this here smoke-wagon just for you:


It's my copy of "Ebon" #1, published by San Francisco Comic Book Company in January 1970 (although some accounts claim it was published one month earlier in December of 1969)! This book features the first and final appearance of the black superhero, Ebon!! Ebon is a little-known treasure in comics history, even though it is a very important historical FIRST. 

    "Ebon" #1 tells the story of Valentine Jones, a black man living hard times in the ghetto of an unnamed inner city in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Although poverty, hopelessness, crime and violence are, sadly, every-day occurrences there, this day is particularly horrible for Valentine. Today, he is attending the funeral of his beloved murdered mother, gone forever, just another statistic, another of the countless victims lost to inner city crime. Valentine is angry, raging, fed up. He is angry for and hurt about the loss of his mother. He is angry for the perceived impotence and indifference of the police. He is about to explode when...From the stars comes an advanced alien life-form...A black man, like Valentine. His name is Oju, and he is the imperial messenger of an advanced and godlike race of humanoids. Oju kidnaps Valentine by force, only to tell him the story of Jom, the greatest explorer of his civilization. Near the beginning of man's history, Jom visited Earth, found men in Africa, and taught them advanced ways and science. He married a woman and lived among them, caring for them, until his death. It was then that mankind went awry and learned war, murder and all vile manner of evil. But Jom's descendants still remained, unaware of their heritage and duty. But Oju has found Jom's last descendant, Valentine Jones, and he imbues him with powers far beyond his wildest dreams. The title of the story in "Ebon" #1 says it best: "A Hero Is Born."

   Comics creator, Larry Fuller created, scripted, penciled and inked "Ebon" #1. Fuller is a black Air Force vet who had always had a love for costumed heroes, even though not many looked like him at all. When he left the Air Force at the end of the 1960s, he moved to San Franciso and took classes  with the assistance of the G.I. Bill. It was there in S.F.  that Fuller published his very first work, "Ebon" #1 through the San Francisco Comic Book Company (under what I believe to be Fuller's own Spearhead Comics imprint), a comic books store that was then the main concentration of the underground comix scene. "Ebon" #1 didn't sell well, but Fuller went on to have a lucrative career in adults-only underground comix. And that's all we'll say about that. ON TO THE FUN FACTS!

FUN FACT 1: EBON IS THE FIRST BLACK SUPERHERO TO HEADLINE HIS OWN TITLE!! "Ebon" #1 predates "Luke Cage, Hero For Hire" #1 (the first mainstream black superhero to have his own title) by one year and five (or six) months!

FUN FACT 2: No one knows how many of these comics exist. What is known is that not many were printed, and they are EXTREMELY SCARCE - nearly impossible to find. 

FUN FACT 3: Although this book has never been reprinted, two versions of the first printings exist: one traditionally folded, trimmed and stapled, and one left version left untrimmed with a white edge peeking out past the black ink border. It is unknown which is rarer - collectors usually scramble to have any copy that they can get their hands on.

FUN FACT 4: It is thought that Fuller modeled his artwork on panels done by some of his favorite artists (Like Gil Kane and John Buscema). In comics jargon, it called swiping.

FUN FACT 5: You may not be able to find this comic to own it, but thanks to modern technology, you can read it HERE.

   I am proud to say that I own a copy of this comic. I will be glad to see it take its rightful place in comics history some day.

   Thanks for reading! Happy Trails!


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2 comments:

  1. Dude you have the most awesome crazy books.
    Love it, Keep them coming Sir Tex!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gil!
      I love exploring comics history and showing off my collection.

      Delete