Okay, here’s where things get complicated.
I don’t know when this issue was published, although the copyright says 1992. In back of the front cover there is an editorial by Alonzo Washington, in which he announces that he has severed ties with the other indie Black publishers who made up the ANIA collective, as well as with Tony Jappa. This happened for reasons which boils down to him being “too Pro-Black” for the rest of them. He specifically accuses Tony Jappa of trying to negotiate a separate deal for trading cards of Original Man without Alonzo’s involvement. “I was completely blown away by this, because if it were not for me, no on would ever know he was alive.”
Nevertheless, Alonza said he forgives Jappa, and will be carrying on, taking Omega 7 Comics forward. And this is the first new issue which, interestingly enough is basically a reprint issue, taking several different pages from previously published issues, re-arranging them into a “new”story.
So we open with the TV news story of Original Man, referencing his battles with the Aryan Avenger and The Enslaver, and describing his powers. Then cutting to the reports of the Rodney King riots in L.A. We see Original Man save the Black woman from two White rapists, he lifts the oil tanker out of the way, while noting that his powers seem to be getting weaker. Then Dark Force appears and starts killing cops, and Original Man arrives to confront him and it the story ends with the two “heroes” facing each other.
That’s 16 pages, which eliminates all the various subplots which had developed over the previous issues, and doesn’t really tell you much. Worst of all the coloring in this issue is atrocious. As one other review said, it looks like it’s colored with crayons and markers or something.
This issue is a “flip-book”, meaning that when you turn it around and it becomes Dark Force #0.
This is a 4-page story, writing by Alonzo Washington and drawn by Palmer Talley (whom I can’t find any information on). The story has bad art with the same bad coloring, so it’s not much to see. Basically, Dark Force was a peaceful non-violent Black civil rights activist, who was killed the C.I.A. and now he’s back, somehow, with fancy armor, and a vendetta against cops, whom he doesn’t hesitate to kill. So I gather he’s supposed to be an anti-hero, like the Punisher, but with a racial bent. I’ve seen that at least 2 issues of a Dark Force series were published by Omega 7 Comics, but I have no urge to get them.
As for Original Man, I guess due to rights issues, this would be the last issue of that character that Alonzo Washington would publish. He would go on to create a new superhero, who basically took Original Man’s place but whom he owned completely, called Omega Man.
He went on to publish several comics featuring this character, they were available via mail order. I bought some of them back in the day, but I don’t still have them or remember much them. Just that each issue was self-contained. I remember one issue had evil aliens trying to kidnap Michael Jackson, another one had Bill Clinton it. Washington even managed to get some Omega Man toys made, some of which can be found on Ebay.
Although that’s clearly Original Man on the packaging.
Washington still owned Original Woman, and published at least one comic starring her, in a re-designed costume, which became a subject of local controversy in Kansas back in 2015, when a teacher brought the issue to her school.
He also published an issue of a character called Original Boy, which I also vaguely recall owning, where some came back in time to stop aliens from assassinating Louis Farrakhan during the original Million Man March.
And in a really heartwarming story, his two pre-teen (at the time) sons collaborated on a comic featuring “Omega Boy” to raise awareness about childhood diabetes.
Alonzo Washington doesn’t appear to be actively publishing comics at the moment.
So that’s it for this walk down memory lane about Original Man. Tracking each issue down was not issue. This issue here is actually the easiest one to find. You can get it on MyComicShop.com for a very low price, Original Man #0, Original Man #2, and Original Man #3 are on backorder and the first Original Man #1 isn’t even listed. I got mine through Ebay.
I think this character had a lot of potential, as did the Ania Publishing collective in general. It’s a shame history didn’t work out better.
Categories: INDIE BLACK COMIC-BOOKS