Check Out Those Ads! – Darkhawk #1


Dawn of the Darkhawk

March is the start of spring, rebirth, new life. Thirty years ago in March 1991 Marvel brought to life a new superhero, Darkhawk. Darkhawk was an interesting comic I enjoyed reading. The first issue is the origin story of Chris Powell becoming Darkhawk.

Powell found the Darkhawk amulet in an abandoned amusement park. The amulet let Powell transfer his consciousness into an android named Darkhawk. Under Powell’s control Darkhawk battled some of the baddest supervillains around; Hobgoblin, Savage Steel and Thunderball.

Darkhawk #1 Cover

Darkhawk had a good run in the early 1990’s. Issue #1 published in March 1991, the final issue, #50 hit the stands in April 1995. After the series ended Darkhawk appeared in issues of New Warriors, Iron Man and Avengers.

There were rumors swirling around the last few years about Darkhawk appearing in one of the Marvel movies, but it never happened. Hopefully in a future movie, he make a great addition to the movies.

Darkhawk is still waiting for volume 2 of his own self-title monthly series. Until then we’ll have to live in the glory days of Volume 1.

Volume 1, Issue 1 is a typical origin story. Boy finds amulet, boy transforms into android superhero. Powell decided to us his new found powers to get an edge against crime. He recently learned his father, a career police officer was taking bribes from a local crime boss.

Powell wants to end the crime boss’ reign and free his father from corruption. Does he do it? There’s only way to find out, read the comic.

Really though, we aren’t here to analyze Darkhawk’s motivation and success rate. We want to see the ads!

This comic in near mint condition is worth almost $300! I almost feel bad ripping the ads out for this article. Almost…

Let’s get to the ads…

Buck Rogers Countdown to Doomsday

Darkhawk Buck Rogers

I’m a big fan of Buck Rogers. As a kid I watched the TV show religiously. Due to an actors strike and new producers changing the direction of the series it was canceled after 13 episodes into the second season. It’s a shame the TV series was was cut short. The first season was fantastic, the second season tried too hard to copy Start Trek and lost its way.

But this ad isn’t about the TV series, it’s about a video game for Buck Rogers! I owned this game on an Amiga 500, which had amazing graphics by 1991 standards. It’s a Role Playing Game (RPG) set in the Buck Rodgers universe utilizing the Advanced Dungeon & Dragons 2nd Edition rule set. One of the few non-D&D RPGs I played.

I played this game into the wee hours of the morning fueled by Mountain Dew and Little Debbie snack cakes. It was endless fun trying to save the New Earth Organization from the evil, genetically altered, martians. And yes I had a human character named Buck Rogers.

NBA Hoops

Darkhawk NBA Hoops

The Chicago Bulls were the team to beat during the ‘Micheal Jordan Era’ of the late 80’s and early 90’s. You either loved them because they were so good, or hated them for the same reason. My sister lived in Chicago at the time and had season tickets to the Bulls. She was (and still is) a die hard fan.

I didn’t own any of the NBA Hoops collect-a-books but they look good. A new design in the ever growing trading card market. It’s too bad they didn’t pay for the glossy ad, this ad in the middle of the book looks awful. The colors are too dark, the text is muddy and nothing stands out. Hopefully the quality of the cards was better then this ad.

Silver Surfer Nintendo Game

Darkhawk Silver Surfer Nintendo

Another video game, this one for the Nintendo featuring Silver Surfer. I didn’t read a lot of Silver Surfer comics, but the game was good, or actually it was INTENSE! Says so right in the ad. Silver Surfer was both a side scrolling and vertical scrolling game with a simple premise, fly around on your galactic surf board and shoot the bad guys.

Nothing to difficult about that…until you play the game. It is a hard game, it’s ridiculously hard! I didn’t play it very often, maybe because it was so hard. I doubt Silver Surfer could finish this game.

If you missed out on playing the game you can head over to the Old Game Shelf and play it now. Judge for yourself and see if you think it’s a difficult game.

Silver Surfer Hi-Score Contest

Darkhawk SIlver Surfer Contest

A Hi-Score contest for the aforementioned Silver Surfer video game. All you have to do is take a picture of your Hi-Score and send it in to Arcadia Systems. The grand prize was a Silver Surfer customized jet ski! What an awesome prize.

I’ve scoured the interwebz and can’t find the winner of the contest. My guess is the Hi-Score was around 10,000 points…Did I mention this game is stupid hard.

Destiny of an Emperor

Darkhawk Destiny of an Emperor

Another video game and one right up my alley. Destiny of an Emperor is a Nintendo game based in 1st Century China. I didn’t play this game until years after its release but it was an entertaining game. And held up nicely over the years.

The real problem is the ad, it’s more like a novel. I think there are more words in this ad then the entire comic book! I don’t know if they were trying to imitate an old Chinese scroll or what, but I need more pictures and less words to sell me on a video game.

If you missed this game, have no fear! You can play Destiny of an Emperor on the Old Game Shelf.

Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones

Darkhawk Double Dragon III

This issue is heavy with video game ads! Double Dragon is a excellent franchise and the games are all fun to play. Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones wasn’t a big success though. In fact it was a massive failure. I thought it was an OK game. Not as good as the original, or even the sequel but good for the third game in the series.

The ad is good though. A big, bold Double Dragon logo and lots of screen shots of the game. Something the last ad could have used.

While writing the article I got sidetracked for over an hour playing the game on the Old Game Shelf (I really need to stay off that site!). I enjoyed playing it, not sure why it was a big flop. Give it a try yourself.

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse Contest

Darkhawk Castlevania

It’s no secret I’m a big Castlevania fan. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse was a favorite game too. It’s so good it’s the basis for Season 1 and 2 of the Castlevania animated series.

This ad is great in so many ways. It shows a kid enjoying the game, while dark characters float around his head and enter his mind. It has some screen shots of the game and a nice shot of the box cover art.

But wait, there’s more! It’s a contest to win a trip to Dracula’s Castle….hell yeah! A one week, all expenses paid trip for four to Dracula’s Castle on Halloween! That’s an amazing trip, a trip of a lifetime. Just fill out the form, send it in and you are entered in the sweepstakes.

I’m officially putting ‘visiting Dracula’s Castle on Halloween’ on my bucket list.

If anyone knows the winner of the contest let me know, I want to talk to them!

It’s a toss up for me on which ad wins the best-ad-of-the-issue title. Either Buck Rogers or Castlevania, both are great, glossy ads. Castlevania may win out due to the screen shots of the game and the incredible trip giveaway. I would’ve loved to win the trip.

Until next time, keep your comics bagged and boarded…unless you want to thumb through them to check out the great ads!

Check out the previous installments of
Check Out Those Ads!

About Pitfall Gary 122 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.

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