Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Evolution of Chop-Chop in Pictures

Probably no character changed more and more often in the Silver Age than Chop-Chop, the humorous sidekick of the more serious Blackhawks. In the Golden Age he was a caricature of a "Chinaman" as he would have been called then (nowadays we say "Chinese") as you can see here:

By the beginning of the Silver Age, Chop-Chop had shed the queue (the ponytail) and seemed a little younger:

After DC took over, Chop-Chop began shedding pounds and became even more boyish:

In the early 1960s he began to grow a bit. Whereas earlier he was usually shown as about waist-high on the other Blackhawks, now he generally reached their middle chests, sometimes even the shoulders.

In Blackhawk #197, the crew got new uniforms, and Chop-Chop's clown costume, which he'd worn for 25 years or so, was finally retired.

In Blackhawk #203, there was a revision of the Chop-Chop origin. During this story, set back in the days of World War II, Blackhawk and the men are fighting the Japanese in China. They meet a masked fighter for the Chinese people named the White Dragon. Later they encounter Chop-Chop for the first time. He is a prince named Liu Huang who's suspected by the allies of being a traitor helping the Japanese.

It turns out he's only pretending to help the Japs while secretly working as the Silver Dragon. We also learn why the Blackhawks nicknamed him Chop-Chop:

(Of course, the reason he was named Chop-Chop in the GA was because he would use a meat cleaver whenever the Blackhawks were in a fight.)

But even that was not the end of it. In Blackhawk 228-230, the Blackhawks underwent a dramatic transformation, supposed to update them to a modern fighting group. Chop-Chop became Dr Hands, a karate expert with hands of steel:

By then, Blackhawk was nearing the end of its run; the title limped on for another 13 issues.

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