A History Lesson

Dagar the Desert Hawk was a golden-age character from the 1940’s which has entered the public domain. Dagar was a desert adventurer in the vein of Tarzan. He usually appeared wearing a traditional Bedouin robe much like Lawrence of Arabia, and might have even served as a contributing inspiration for Indiana Jones.

In our 're-imagined' version, which is still set in 1946 (around the same time the original Dagar was published), Dagar is a member of a task force known as the Desert Hawks, when becoming disillusioned with war in general, embraces Islam and takes up a new life as a nomadic desert warrior, dealing with threats ranging from those that are completely grounded (i.e. gangsters, corrupt policemen and Nazis) to those that are supernatural in nature.

Owing to the fact that the original character was written by non-Muslims who were unfamiliar with middle-eastern culture, the original Dagar adventures can be somewhat humorous as they depict an Arabia where people still use horses, women remain unveiled and men wear and amalgamation of western and middle-eastern clothing.

Sadly, we could go even further than this and add that the original comics, by today’s standards, were even racist and sexist; covers of the original comics regularly featured Ayesha (who in our version wears a niqab) and other scantily dressed Arabian women, telling stories of brutish one-dimensional Arabs.

 

As well as aiming to establish characters that are multi-layered, one of the things our concept of the character aims to do is embrace historical accuracy. In our story, Dagar, being a convert to Islam, takes his faith seriously by not only wearing nomadic garbs that were common at the time (indicating that he eschews the colonialism of the era) but by also being guided by the morality of his new-found religion.

The Original Comics
Dagar (1948) #14
Art by Edmond Good and others. Cover by Edmond Good. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a white man who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. The Lawrence of Arabesque hero first appeared in All Great Comics. Numbering continues from All Great Comics (1947 Fox Features) #13 (despite the existence of All Great Comics #14). Dagar and friends stumble upon the Lost City of the Lizard People, where they are enslaved to keep the city's location secret. Also featuring the jungle adventures of
Dagar (1948) #15
Art by Edmond Good and Jack Kamen. Cover by Edmond Good. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a Lawrence of Arabesque hero who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. In a scenario reminiscent of the 1932 movie The Mummy, a native chieftain impersonates an ancient pharaoh and hypnotizes Ayesha into believing that she is his queen; Dagar investigates after a mysterious vortex forces a plane to land in the desert; Jungle warrior Tangi encounters The Giants from the Inner Earth.
Dagar (1948) #16
Art by Edmond Good and Jack Kamen. Cover by Edmond Good. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a Lawrence of Arabesque hero who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. A villain with a shrinking serum kidnaps women to create a miniature slave army; An escaped convict masquerades as a monkey god in order to steal sacred jewels from a native village; An educational page on traditional Arab clothing. Also featuring a text story with the puzzling title Sarong of Death. The Wretched Antmen!; The
Dagar (1948) #19
Art by Edmond Good and Jack Kamen. Cover by Edmond Good. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a Lawrence of Arabesque hero who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. Dagar encounters tomb robbers; An educational comic about the roles of women in cultures around the world; A murderous escaped convict targets a trade caravan, and jungle warrior Tangi is alerted by the hanging bodies of his victims.
Dagar (1948) #20
Art by Edmond Good and others. Cover by Jack Kamen. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a Lawrence of Arabesque hero who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. A greedy wildcatter wants to drill for oil in a mysterious lost valley beyond the big dunes, but somehow doesn't foresee the presence of cave men and dinosaurs; The Nomad Queen targets a village under Safari Cary's protection; A corrupt chieftain poisons a watering hole and tries to blame jungle warrior Tangi.
Dagar (1948) #21
Art by Edmond Good and Eleanor Claire. Cover by Jack Kamen. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a Lawrence of Arabesque hero who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. Tobacco farmers in Africa accidentally flood the jungle while trying to claim water for their plantation; A frustrated hunter uses trained lions to hunt big game, and Tangi's not having it. A panel from Flood of Death was reproduced in Seduction of the Innocent.
Dagar (1948) #22
Art by Edmond Good and A. C. Hollingsworth. Cover by Edmond Good. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a Lawrence of Arabesque hero who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. Educational comics focus on exotic animals including gorillas, giraffes, kangaroos, ostriches, camels, cobras, lions, crocodiles, leopards, and elephants; A government agent seeks Safari Cary's help to stop a diamond smuggling ring; Jungle warrior Tangi offers inspiration to a blocked writer.
Dagar (1948) #23
Art by Edmond Good and others. Cover by Edmond Good. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a Lawrence of Arabesque hero who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. The Dagar series concludes with a typically lurid, action-packed cover that includes elements of bondage and suggestions of torture, presaging the Comics Code battles a few years later.
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© 2018 by Furqan Jabbar

For more info on this project   |   mfjabbar@gmail.com

Dagar (1948) #16

Art by Edmond Good and Jack Kamen. Cover by Edmond Good. Dagar the Desert Hawk, aka Bart Benson, is a Lawrence of Arabesque hero who lives and fights in the Arabian desert. A villain with a shrinking serum kidnaps women to create a miniature slave army; An escaped convict masquerades as a monkey god in order to steal sacred jewels from a native village; An educational page on traditional Arab clothing. Also featuring a text story with the puzzling title Sarong of Death. The Wretched Antmen!; The