Blackhawk - The Red Kamikaze Terror
Comics Favorites, October 1956, No. 105, 36 pages
Communist Chinese use kamikaze tactics against the American fleet off Formosa
in this seven-page story entitled "The Red Kamikaze Terror." The
Blackhawks, an independent paramilitary squadron of six pilots of diverse
nationalities, use their fists and advanced fighters to stop a plot by the
Communists to use Formosan Nationalist planes to dive into American warships.
The comic Blackhawk, named for the squadron leader, dates back to 1941.
During the 1940s, the Blackhawks fought the Axis powers, but the Reds
(Communists) became their foes in the 1950s. "The Red Kamikaze Terror"
depicts typical Allied and Japanese wartime attitudes toward kamikaze attacks,
but the Chinese Communists instead of the Japanese are the ones advocating the
use of kamikaze tactics in this 1956 story.
The story opens in the middle of a dogfight in which the Blackhawks stop Red
dive bombers from an attack on American ships of the Seventh Fleet off Formosa.
The Formosan Intelligence Chief, really a Communist secret agent, lures the
Blackhawks to an airfield where the Reds have taken Nationalist pilots
hostage. They detain the Blackhawks when they land, and the Red pilots take off
in stolen Formosan jets to make suicide attacks on the American fleet. The
mastermind of this plot thinks that the Americans will believe that the pilots
made these suicide attacks as an act of contempt and defection against
Nationalist China since the Communist pilots in the Formosan Air Force planes will be
blown up as part of the attack. The Blackhawks fight with their fists, not guns,
to escape their captors and go after the Red pilots. Although outnumbered three
to one, the Blackhawk pilots destroy the Reds even though some try suicidal
ramming attacks on the Blackhawk planes. The comic book's front cover shows a Red plane hitting
an American ship, but this never happens in the story.
The Communist secret agent describes the Red kamikaze pilots as
"noble," "courageous," and "true heroes." Japanese
propaganda used similar descriptions for kamikaze pilots who made suicide
attacks near the end of World War II. Blackhawk expresses a contrary belief, "But unlike your Red kamikazes
who can only die for their cause, we'll live for ours." He describes their
actions as being "like the Jap suicide dives during World War II," but
he makes clear his opinion when he refers to the pilots as "kamikaze
nitwits." Although he uses this phrase, the real villains in this story, as
many other Blackhawk stories published in the 1950s, are the "power-crazed Commies."