Previously in Part 1, I wrote about the eighties comic Night Streets, which ended at issue #5, promising a storyline conclusion in issue #6, which never appeared.
The unresolved cliffhanger is a special kind of torture. If you’ve ever gotten emotionally invested in a story—whether a movie, TV, comic, or novel—the idea that there will never be a resolution can drive you bonkers. Examples include Melanie Rawn’s Exiles trilogy, Carnivale, and the original Twin Peaks. I’ve even got one of my own: my Memphis Vampires novels (Blood Groove and The Girls with Games of Blood) were supposed to be a trilogy, but sales didn’t merit the third one (which would have been called Blood Will Rise Again).
But I’ve discovered a new form of cliffhanging torture: the one where there was a long-ago finale, but I didn’t know about it.
In my last post, I wrote about the comic Night Streets, a black-and-white series that ran for five issues in the late 80s. Issue #5 promised a conclusion to the first storyline in the next issue, but it never appeared, and the company went out of business. So for thirty years—thirty years—I thought of this as an unresolved, eternally unfinished story.
And then, last month, I discovered that there was, in fact, a conclusion. The prior issues, and the material intended for issues #6 and 7, were included in two graphic novel compilations released in 1990.
To say I was gobsmacked is a grand understatement. As I mentioned in the previous post, over the years I’d poked around online to see what articles and reviews might be out there, and had found very little; certainly I’d never run across a single mention of these collections. I immediately went to eBay and found them.
Not only was it a return to a story I’d never expected to revisit, since it was created at the same time as the prior issues (as opposed to being newly created), it was a return to the feel, and a vivid reminder of why I loved it so much. Reading the truly final pages of Night Streets after all this time really took me back, and conjured an emotion I’d never experienced before: a very specific mix of excitement, anticipation, nostalgia, and a sense of completion.
And then I learned there was still more.
There was a two-part Night Streets story done for the Arrow Anthology comic. Written a decade after the series’ abortive run, it was set in the year 2024 and concerned vigilante Black Dahlia’s daughter, Blossom, telling her own granddaughter about events that happened in the 90s.
I quickly tracked down those issues. The story, “Crimson and Clover,” functions as a marvelous coda. In the bracketing sections, we learn that at some point Blossom has written a book called My Mother Was the Black Dahlia, which means Shantel’s secret identity is now public knowledge. Prompted by her granddaughter’s upcoming return to school, Blossom relates the main story, which began at the end of her (Blossom’s) senior year.
There are so many great things about this little tale. Chief among them is seeing that the Black Dahlia still works as a vigilante in the 90s; the list of middle-aged female superheroes is pretty damn short. She has a partner, Blonde Venus, and the case is one that strikes close to home. And it involves no supervillain, or even Felonious Katt; it’s a gritty little noir story about bad choices.
So now it seemed there was only one more thing I needed to complete this little quest: a conversation with Night Streets’ creator, writer, and artist, Mark Bloodworth himself.
Which is coming soon.
End of Part 2.
Read Part 1 here.
Read Part 3 here.
If you remember Night Streets, let me know in the comments.