Monday, April 1, 2013

Buried Treasure: Star Hawks

On October 3, 1977, Star Hawks premiered as a new science fiction strip with a Sunday and daily format based on the adventures of Interplanetary Law Service officers Rex Jaxan and his partner Chavez as they battle interstellar criminals. Star Hawks combined the talents of renowned science fiction writer Ron Goulart and famed comic artist Gil Kane. In Gil's classic adventure strip style, he roughly based the look of Rex on a younger James Colburn and his robust friend on the bald-headed actor Victor McLaglen. The strip was also unique in introduced a two-tiered format to daily newspaper comics, effectively making each daily a mini Sunday in which Kane could experiment with lavish layouts. Unfortunately this new daily look also took more space as newspaper editors passed on the feature for other strips, until the Star Hawks dailies adopted the standard single-tier format. By the final days of the series, Archie Goodwin, Roger McKenzie, and Roger Stern, had taken turns writing the adventures, with Ernie Colon and Howard Chaykin finishing out the art chores. Running three and a half years, this fast paced feature with its monsters, robots, and space ships included some great villain cameos drawn to portray Issac Asimov, Dik Browne, and even Kane himself as the evil villain Smiler Tryce. In all there were one thousand two hundred and fifty two strips and Kane won best story strip from the National Cartoonist Society for 1977, before the saga ended on May 2, 1981.

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