I thought I was the only geek who even knew who Drake “John Black” Hogestyn was. In case you don’t know, Drake is a true superstar in the world of daytime dramas. A former baseball player, he’s been acting on NBC’s Days of Our Lives for over twenty years and is the male half of the “supercouple” John/Marlena (the other half is played by Deirdre Hall of ElectroWoman and DynaGirl fame).
Hogestyn is the William Shatner of soap operas. The undisputed master of the cocked eyebrow and the “I smell a fart” school of acting, there is no scene on Days that cannot be improved with the inclusion of Drake Hogestyn. Even the little character moments are painted in such broad strokes by Hogestyn that you cannot help but watching. He is truly mesmerizing.
Drake's character, John Black, has a more convoluted back story than Wolverine, and is every bit as bad ass. John Black has been possessed, hunted a serial rapist, escaped from dungeons, been presumed dead multiple times, and has kicked more ass than any soap opera character this side of General Hospital’s Robert Scorpio. And just like Wolverine, John Black has a poet’s soul and hides his pain behind a macho façade. We know you're hurting, John. We know.
Sure, he’s on a soap opera, but this cat could easily make the jump to the four color world. I would pay money to see a John Black: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. mini-series. I would PAY to write that. And why not? Recently The Guiding Light had a Marvel comics "crossover" where one of the actresses becomes a superhero - why not the other way around? A comic book about the World's #1 Bad Ass Soap Opera Star?
It would go something like this:
John Black (into phone): “MODOK, you scumbag. You better pray Marlena isn’t hurt or no force on Earth will save you from me. You read me, freak?”
MODOK: “Brave words, Agent John Black, but soon the city of Salem will belong to MODOK! If only Marlena had loved me when I was human, when I was a fragile psychiatric patient with no memory. Now it is too late for you both. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
John Black (trembling with rage): “MO-DAAAWK!”
John puts phone down, stares off at some point in middle background, frowning as if he's trying to remember where he parked his Jeep.
John Black (quiet): “I’m coming for you Marlene, and that’s a fact. Just hang on for me… Hang on…”
God, yes. Why can't this be real?
Every month or so the writers of Days of Our Lives gives John Black somebody to beat up in an awkward, live-televison way. For example, here's how Marlena and John Black meet, back in The Day:
Is that Doogie Howser, M.D. robbing that restaurant? Whoever the unnamed headbanded bandit is, he looks like a rough customer. Maybe he was on his way to a gig as a background dancer in a Michael Jackson video and decided to stop in for a quick robbery.
Not only is Drake Hogestyn a macho hombre on the small screen, but he cracks skulls in real life, too. Recently a deranged male fan got into Drake's Malibu mansion hoping to exorcise The Devil out of the actor. Crazy stalker pushed Drake's wife down... and it was ON.
Drake went into full Kill/Destroy mode and subdued the attacker. In the police report, Drake writes that he "grabbed [crazy man] by the hair, spun him around, delivered a right cross to the chin that sent him down the stairs." That's doin' it John Black style. Then Drake and his son duct-taped the guy's hands and feet together and waited for the cops to arrive.
THAT is what you get for fucking with Drake Hogestyn, the Toughest Sumbitch in Soap Operas. Join us, Drake. Join us in our comic book dreamworld and become the pulp culture superstar you were destined to be.