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THE BLACK CROW

battle_picture_weekly_19761023 valiant_annual_1978 battle_picture_weekly_19761112 Valiant_19760925 battle_picture_weekly_19761204 battle_picture_weekly_19770101
 
Full Name: Unknown
Series Name: The Black Crow
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Gerry Finley-Day
Time Span: 1976 - 1977

ABOUT THE SERIES

     The Black Crow is an agent of British Intelligence.
     We follow him through a handful of adventures which all take place during the Second World War as he literally leaps into the mouth of danger by parachuting in German-held lands to provide assistance to those fighting the invaders.
     We learn very little about the Black Crow. We never even learn his real name as he is only referred to by that codename. We can tell from his depiction that he is a very good looking man in excellent physical condition, likely in his late 30s or early 40s. His grasp of foreign languages must be exceptional for he is able to converse with the resistance forces with no trouble and his skill at impersonating a German soldier clearly shows his knowledge of that language to be very good.
     While it is unlikely that the Black Crow went about the business of making himself the nemesis of a Nazi officer by the name of Major Klaus von Steutsel, he most definitely did so. Of the Black Crow, von Steutsel is quoted in the first adventure, "That accursed Englander twists my very soul and haunts my every dream". He has good reason for his feelings. We are told that nine months before that initial tale, the Black Crow first made himself known when he landed in German-occupied territory and formed a resistance group. Numerous raids were made by this new squad and after each attack, the Black Crow left behind a calling card with the emblem of the Nazi Swastika on which is standing a black crow. He also left a long, very nasty looking jagged scar on von Steutsel's left side of his face.
     We do not have that many adventures of the Black Crow. It is unknown if he met his doom sometime after our last recorded mission or if his continued actions were simply not as well known.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:6
First Appearance:1976
Last Appearance:1977

       The series known as The Black Crow was a Valiant Special that started in the last issues of Valiant and Vulcan, then moved to Valiant before appearing in Battle Picture Weekly & Valiant, which is all very confusing today but must have been really confusing to readers at the time.
       Valiant had been one of the stars in the pantheon of titles the publisher put out in the 60s and 70s. In the latter part of the 70s, though, some titles were starting to waver and so the company began to merge them, bringing the better serial storylines from the defunct mags to the nearly combined one. Valiant remained the headliner for the longest time with companion mags such as Smash, TV21, and Lion merging in at one time or another. The last of the magazines to join Valiant was Vulcan, lasting 26 issues. After a couple of issues back with its solo name of Valiant, it too be melded away.
       The Battle Picture Weekly - Valiant merger would last 50 issues with the Black Crow series featured in 14 issues. The Black Crow was discontinued because it was finally decided to bring back the series of Mike Nelson (The Eagle), another British operative behind enemy lines.

1 Hunt For The Black Crow Hunt For The Black Crow
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Eric Bradbury (artist)
Copyright: 1976

Published in Valiant & Vulcan, Sep 25-Oct 2 and then Valiant, Oct 9-Oct 16 , 4 issues with 3 pages each for 12 black & white pages.
The Black Crow parachutes into France to organize and lead resistance groups and is pursued by a German Gestapo officer, someone he had already become the nemesis of nearly a year before.
Click here to read the story.

2 Brother To The Black Crow Brother To The Black Crow
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Eric Bradbury (artist)
Copyright: 1976

Published in issued #86-#88 of Battle Picture Weekly & Valiant with 8.5 black & white pages.
Roget is the radio operator for a resistance group in France and the brother of The Black Crow. Yet he has gone mad and must be dealt with.
Click here to read the story.

3 Attack A U-Boat Base Attack A U-Boat Base
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer)
Copyright: 1976

Published in issued #89-#91 of Battle Picture Weekly & Valiant with 9 black & white pages.
The Black Crow has orders to take out a German submarine installation with the help of the resistance.
Click here to read the story.

4 The Traitor Of The Black Crow The Traitor Of The Black Crow
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Eric Bradbury (artist)
Copyright: 1976

Published in issues #92-#95 of Battle Picture Weekly & Valiant with 12 black & white pages.
The Black Crow has a planned arms drop that the Germans get to first. This means there is a traitor in the resistance group and whoever it is must die.
Click here to read the story.

5 A Hard Well-Trained Unit A Hard Well-Trained Unit
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Eric Bradbury (artist)
Copyright: 1977

Published in issues #96-#99 of Battle Picture Weekly & Valiant with 12 black & white pages.
The Pontville Resistance Group led by The Black Crow have orders to stop reinforcements westwards of the German Panzer tanks. Will it help the Allies advance at Normandy and what else will they have to do for success?
Click here to read the story.

6 Return of the Black Crow Return of the Black Crow
Published by IPC Magazines
Contributors: Gerry Finley-Day (writer), Eric Bradbury (artist)
Copyright: 1977

Published in Valiant Annual 1978 with 8 duotone color pages.
The Black Crow and his resistance unit destroy an ammo dump and the mad Gestapo major tries hunting them down.
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

       The black & white artwork really fit well the storylines of the Black Crow adventures. I mentioned above that we never really learn much about the character; this is understandable considering the few pages that are devoted to the character each issue were filled with action and excitement.
       I enjoyed the stories but there was nothing that exceptional about the character. He had exciting missions with lots of things blowing up and his archenemy, von Steutsel, going all insane on a regular basis, but when he leaves the pages of the magazines, I was okay with it.

GRADE

My Grade: B-

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