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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It's a legacy thing.

I always thought it was unnecessary and irritating.

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.

I loved him in the Champions issues he appeared in, by then he was much better treated and in a much better costume.

If that series could have hung on in there I think he'd have stayed around on the team and would have 'grown' on the readers.

I took litterally decades to collect a full set of the 'Black Goliath' series.......no...not at all worth it.

But you get a sense of accomplishment!

That is true.

Sad, but true.

Captain Comics said:

But you get a sense of accomplishment!

Wasn't he calling himself Giant Man for awhile?

From Marvel Two-In-One 55 in 1979 until Avengers 368 in 1993.  But he only made a handful of appearances before being killed off in Civil War.  He was a recurring character in MTIO from 1979-1982 until he lost his powers in MTIO 85.  He was in limbo for 6 years until he reappeared in West Coast Avengers Annual 3 in 1988, where he had regained his powers.  He disappeared again until he had a 6 part storyline in Marvel Comics Presents 113-118 in 1992, and gave up the Giant-Man identity the following year in Avengers 368 (Hank Pym had resumed being Giant-Man), and later lost his powers again in Avengers 379-382, in 1994.  In limbo until 2006, except for a one-off appearance in Black Panther 17 in 2000, where he had his powers back, was calling himself Black Goliath, and was in an unnamed team with Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Brother Voodoo and the Falcon - none of which was explained in any detail.  He renamed himself Goliath in The Thing #1 in 2006, several months before he was killed off in Civil War.

He renamed himself Goliath in The Thing #1 in 2006, several months before he was killed off in Civil War.

Maybe he should have picked a more propitious name ....

Hmmm, good point. When I become a superhero, I'm going to be Captain Methuselah or Major Lazarus. Only because Immortal man is already taken.

Figserello said:

He renamed himself Goliath in The Thing #1 in 2006, several months before he was killed off in Civil War.

Maybe he should have picked a more propitious name ....

MTIO 55 was the first issue of that book I bought off the spinner rack.  I was collecting West Coast Avengers when he re-debuted in that title; Steve Englehart left the book shortly after but I think it's possible he was going to add Foster to the WCA if he had stuck around - why re-introduce a character in a major crossover storyline unless you have some plans?  I started collecting Black Panther about a year after his one-off appearance there and I did track that issue down.  I also have the entire 8 issue Thing series from 2006, and picked up Civil War when it came out.  That's a good chunk of his appearances after the cancellation of his 70s book.

I think his handful of appearances may be due to Marvel being embarrassed that some jackass came up with a nasty rhyming racist nickname for the character.  John Byrne claimed it was how the character was commonly referred to in the Marvel offices in the 1970s, and sadly, I suspect there may be truth to that.

Did the Black Goliath series have Kirby covers, or just pseudo-Kirby covers?

Why did Roy Thomas re-introduce the Vision, the Angel, the Fin, and the Blazing Skull into the Kree-Skrull War then not use them again, not even in guest spots in the Invaders? Even the Patriot, which he did reuse, only made a few later appearances.
 
John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

MTIO 55 was the first issue of that book I bought off the spinner rack.  I was collecting West Coast Avengers when he re-debuted in that title; Steve Englehart left the book shortly after but I think it's possible he was going to add Foster to the WCA if he had stuck around - why re-introduce a character in a major crossover storyline unless you have some plans?  

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