I don't know if the readers demanded it but they got it anyway. In the 1970s, Marvel and DC put out a lot of titles, trying to see what would sell. Many weren't around for long like Man-Bat (two issues) and a few lasted out of the decade like The Warlord, The Defenders and Star Wars. One such attempt was BLACK GOLIATH, who already had a history attached to him. William (Bill) Foster first appeared in The Avengers #32 as a biochemist sent by Tony Stark to assist Henry Pym, the first Goliath when he was trapped at ten feet tall. He was one of Marvel's first African-American supporting cast though he wasn't around for long.

He returned years later in Power Man #24-25 (Ap-Ju'75), contacting his ex-wife, Claire Temple, telling her that while experimenting with Pym's growth serum, he was trapped at fifteen-feet high. He was "hiding" at a travelling circus when Claire arrived with her new boy-friend Luke Cage! Sweet Christmas! The two battled as Marvel heroes are wont to do until they joined forces because the circus was really the Circus of Crime (because every Marvel hero HAS to fight the Circus of Crime at least once in their careers)! Afterwards, Black Goliath has a confession to make: he's NOT trapped at giant-size! It was a ploy to get Claire back and leaves abashed.

Despite the less-than-ideal motivation, the next year saw Black Goliath #1 (F'76) on the stands, a feat Henry Pym never did in any of his identities. Written by Tony Isabella and drawn by George Tuska and Vince Coletta, it opens with Foster walking around Los Angeles, his hometown, where his reminiscences are interrupted by three street thugs who get a BIG surprise! Later he receives an encouraging phone call from Henry and Jan Pym (sadly their only appearance in the series) which causes him to relive his origin and rethink his future.

The next day, he arrives at the LA branch of Stark Industries which he runs and supervises the "Whiz Kids": the overweight Herbert Bell, the acerbic Dale West and the sultry Talia Kruma who are working on a force field vest with mixed results. The also have to worry about a string of lab robberies with radium as the loot.

That night, a gang of criminals break into Stark LA's warehouse led by ATOM-SMASHER who possesses incredible energy powers. They are confronted by Black Goliath who makes short work of the gang but is immobilized by Atom-Smasher's blasts, about to be vaporized!

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  • I know that many have criticized Vince Colletta's inking but he works well with George Tuska.
  • A nice touch is having Bill Foster think through the process of should he become a super-hero but he already has the costume, the name, the origin and the book!
  • It was different to base him in Los Angeles but it kept him away from the mainstream Marvel Universe, especially the Avengers.
  • Apparently he improved Pym's serum as he gave him greater strength as a giant!
  • As for Stark LA, would any of us work at a place where the mandatory dress code is skin-tight outfits?!?
  • And Dale West is a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen!
  • Their personal force field idea was revisited in Squadron Supreme. (Somewhere Brainiac is laughing!)
  • One thing that did bother me was the coloring. The lines for Black Goliath's sleeves were visible but colored as his skin in several places.
  • The "Bigger-Target" complaint was addressed by stating that the sight of a giant was so unnerving that crooks can't shoot straight!
  • Unfortunately they never did a Yellowjacket/Wasp/Ant-Man II/Black Goliath story!

Black Goliath had an unnecessary name and an impractical costume (bare stomach? super high collar?) but he was a great combination of brains and brawn who could have been a major character in the Marvel Universe. He had the connections and an unique position as a new hero with gravitas. For all his height, he lacked longevity.

Any of you remember Black Goliath fondly?

NEXT: It's Just a Flesh Wound or Hero Hook-Up!

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I remember being irritated at the time that he had the adjective "Black" in his name. We could see his skin color if that was something we needed to know, and they never called Pym "White Goliath." It just struck me wrong, somehow, even in an era of blaxploitation. Maybe I was just getting tired of it.

Was Isabella also responsible for Black Lightning?

I remember Black Goliath from, I think, the Two-in-One comics around the time of Project Pegasus, which I enjoyed as a kid.

Would people have been confused if he was called "Blue Goliath"?

Still he one-upped Hank Pym by having his own title which Pym never had as Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath or Yellowjacket? He headlined Tales To Astonish and Marvel Feature and was replaced both times!

He "conceived the concept" of Black Goliath but created Black Lightning.

Project Pegasus was Bill Foster's career highlight creatively.
 
Figserello said:

Was Isabella also responsible for Black Lightning?

I remember Black Goliath from, I think, the Two-in-One comics around the time of Project Pegasus, which I enjoyed as a kid.

As I recall it was Ben Grimm who suggested that he drop the "Black" part of the name when they teamed up in Marvel Two in One. I think, I can't remember exactly.



Captain Comics said:

I remember being irritated at the time that he had the adjective "Black" in his name. We could see his skin color if that was something we needed to know, and they never called Pym "White Goliath." It just struck me wrong, somehow, even in an era of blaxploitation. Maybe I was just getting tired of it.

He showed up in the Champions for a few issues and I think that he was saved by Spider-Woman's blood.

I remember him as sort of a character actor, he seemed to just pop up every now and then.

(Can't edit my post again, it's Safari, I've got the older version and can't update with my system)

I've read that they're bringing Stature back, so I guess now Bill will have "Dead Goliath" all to his lonesome, too.

Looks like he took Hawkeye's Goliath II outfit, dyed it, made a few alterations (like the Elvis collar) and hoped nobody would notice it was a hand me down. If you're going to rip off another characters costume, do not pick Hawkeye! We're still trying to lose his light blue outfit in another thread!

I think the young return to life in comics faster than the old do. Co-incidentally this is both their first death.



Captain Comics said:

I've read that they're bringing Stature back, so I guess now Bill will have "Dead Goliath" all to his lonesome, too.

By he time of Civil War, Bill Foster had returned recently in the pages of the short-lived, though highly enjoyable The Thing where he was calling himself simply Goliath. But then he was Goliath IV, so while his death had resonance throughout the Marvel Universe, the concept was replaceable. Indeed his nephew Tom soon became Goliath V.

With all the other powersets in the mu is simply growing large and being strong that effective anymore?

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