Today we take a look at how long it took to learn that Black Bolt’s first name was the extremely “on point” Blackagar Boltagon.
This is “Provide Answers”, which is a feature where long unresolved plot points are eventually resolved.
You could say it’s not really an “unsolved” plot, but rather something that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee just never thought to address and so went unanswered for ages. decades until a certain writer happened to care a lot about little details like this. As we all know NOW, Black Bolt’s real name is Blackagar Boltagon, which is a very “on point” first name, on par with stuff like Rainbow Raider’s real name being Roy G. Bivolo or the real name of the Riddler being Edward Nigma or Fancy Dan’s real name being Daniel Brito (okay, that last one probably doesn’t count). So when did the name debut?
The question was tweeted to me recently…
And yes, no spoiler reasons here. No, just a general Black Bolt question that could be asked at any time.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT BLACK BOLT EARLY
The Inhuman known as Black Bolt is one of the most powerful beings on Earth, but much of his power comes from the hypersonic qualities of his voice. Therefore, since even a whisper from Black Bolt could be deadly, he almost always remains silent. Because of this silence, it’s hard for people to understand, but even beyond his reluctance to speak, Black Bolt was one of the most compelling and inscrutable comic book characters Jack Kirby and Stan Lee ever had. created.
When we first met Black Bolt in The Fantastic Four #45 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott), all we knew was that he was very powerful…
We soon learned that he was the fallen ruler of the mysterious race of super beings known as the Inhumans. Black Bolt’s exile did not last long, as The Fantastic Four #47, he had already regained control of his people, rocking one of those incredible crowns that only Jack Kirby could imagine.
During Jack Kirby/Stan Lee’s heyday of the Marvel Universe, there were five prominent monarchs in the Marvel Universe: Odin, Namor, Doctor Doom, Black Bolt, and Black Panther. A recurring theme between these five was the notion that being in charge of a group of people sometimes causes you to do things that you wouldn’t otherwise be proud of, but feel you have to protect your people. This was clear in the very first Inhumans feature in the pages of Amazing Adventures (where Jack Kirby got the chance to script and draw a comic himself for Marvel), where Black Bolt’s mysterious ways sparked questions from his royal cousins, who took issue with the way Black Bolt made decisions without consulting anyone.
Although Black Bolt is clearly a good man, this way of ruling has always been the way he has handled things. He’s always been an “it’s my way or the high way” type of leader, which is especially interesting when you realize what an empathetic person he is at heart. However, he has a very specific view of how a leader should handle things and over the years this has caused a lot of stress due to how disconnected he can be from his people (even his strongest allies). relatives).
This disconnect probably also explains why it took us so long to learn what his “real” name was.
WHEN DID WE LEARN BLACK BOLT’S REAL NAME?
I have a whole column called “Book of Knowledge”, which deals with character revelations that weren’t made in the pages of a comic book, but rather an outside media source, like, say, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Mark Gruenwald was famous for his fascination with the continuity of the Marvel Universe. So, in the pages of this guide, he sometimes revealed new facts about the characters. It totally sounds like something he would have revealed in the manual, right?
And yet, in Black Bolt’s OHotMU entry (with art by Mike Zeck), his name is obviously not revealed…
So you’re thinking, “Oh well, I guess Mark Gruenwald didn’t get this one”, but just wait a minute!
A fascinating aspect of Medusa and Black Bolt’s relationship is the fact that they didn’t get married before. 1984! They basically acted like they’d been married for years and most comics treated them like they were actually married, but they actually didn’t get married before Fantastic Four Annual #18 (by John Byrne, Mark Gruenwald, MD Bright, and Mike Gustovich), shortly after Attilan moved to the moon.
Wait, is that Mark Gruenwald’s name? Why yes, it is! He scripted the number in question and wouldn’t you know, on the actual pre-wedding page, Gruenwald reveals to us not only Black Bolt’s real name, Blackagar Boltagon, but Medusa’s real name, Medusalith Amaquelin. .
There’s something so soothing about seeing Mark Gruenwald doing Mark Gruenwald things. He was truly one of a kind (in a good way). My buddy Steve Horton noted that Gruenwald originally opted for “Blackantor” in that first issue, so the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe actually plays a role, since Gruenwald then went to “Blackagar” in the deluxe edition of the Manual the next year…
And it is the variation of the name that has remained! Thanks for the catch, though, Steve!
Thanks for the request, Schaefges! If anyone has a suggestion for a comic book plot that’s been resolved after a few years (I tend to use two years as the minimum, otherwise you’re probably right in the middle of the initial story reveal, you know? But I will allow exceptions when a new writer takes over a storyline and needs to resolve unresolved storylines from the previous writer), message me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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