Black Jack Spade

From Plastic Tub

Black Jack Spade is a fictional character who first appeared in the Auto-Colonial Bee on May 1, 1967, in an issue dedicated to the subject of black chefs in Vietnam. In a full-page full-color cartoon, we first see Spade as a mild-mannered waiter; this quickly becomes obvious as merely a disguise: Spade is actually investigating traitorous officers who discuss their plans as though Spade were too dumb too understand them. Patronising and racist, the officers meet their come-uppance when Spade does what he does best, i.e., let loose generous cans of whoop-ass. The strip is noteworthy in that it is the first comic to depict someone using a crouton as a weapon, which has since found a noble lineage, most notably in the work of Frank Miller.

Associational Strips and Related Sequentialism

After this one-off appearance, the character appeared in many other AA-related comic strips. He helped Choco defeat counterfeiters trying to pass off shoddy Taiwanese chocolate bars as pieces of Choco himself. He once had a rivalry with Balloonjaw, before the two paired up to dismantle a mafia selling dog meat to beleaguered school districts needing to reduce the cost of their meatloaf. As the Lil' Nigga, he made a few visits to the gang in the Lil' AA. Perhaps the height of his popularity was reached in 1995 upon the release of the film The Beef, which featured legendary jazzman Toots Sweet as Spade's estranged uncle. In the film, Spade takes on unscrupulous British businessmen selling mad-cow-ridden cattle to Third World Countries. In one scene, he is about to kill a man by drowning him in a bowl of gumbo, thinks better of it and merely snaps his opponent's neck, thus leaving himself time for a quick snack before pursuing his enemies.

In early appearances, Spade was a badass commando and short-order cook working directly underneath President Johnson, the latter usually depicted as a man obsessed with perfecting his BBQ abilities or straining with digestive troubles stemming from a Tex-Mex addiction to rival the habits of Rabelais' Pantagruel. As time went on he became a freelance operator, a Vietnam vet, haunted by the loss of his platoon to poisoned k-rations. His shaved head, dark sunglasses, black muscle shirt and cammo pants marked him as a dude not to be fucked with. No one knows who created him, but many authors and artists have added to his adventures.