The Original Black Cat

This time out, for no spe­cial rea­son, here is the orig­i­nal Black Cat. I’ve kind of had a soft spot for Har­vey Comics’ ver­sion of the Black Cat from the gold­en age for a while now.

If you’re not famil­iar with the char­ac­ter, behind the Black Cat’s mask in the comics was actress Lin­da Turn­er. She’d start­ed out her career orig­i­nal­ly as a stunt­woman, but had suc­cess­ful­ly tran­si­tioned into becom­ing a lead actress. The var­i­ous skills she’d picked up dur­ing her stunt­woman career enabled her to fight crimes and solve mys­ter­ies incog­ni­to as the Black Cat. The ’40s Hol­ly­wood milieu gave her sto­ries a lit­tle dif­fer­ent feel from oth­er, more typ­i­cal­ly NYC-fla­vored super­hero comics.

Sev­er­al artists drew her sto­ries, but the artist most asso­ci­at­ed with the char­ac­ter would have to be Lee Elias. Elias was clear­ly a Can­iff dis­ci­ple, and he did that style very well. He gave his hero­ine (and the strip in gen­er­al) a real charm and appeal.

Obvi­ous­ly I did­n’t both­er try­ing to mim­ic Elias’ work here. For some rea­son, I envi­sioned this from the begin­ning as using a vec­tor-based Adobe Illus­tra­tor approach. Yet anoth­er exper­i­ment. The beau­ty of this being my site, I can exper­i­ment with all kinds of approaches.

If you’re curi­ous to see some Black Cat comics for your­self, I’m not sure where you could buy them now (with­out pay­ing the usu­al prices for gold­en age comics). I picked up a set of reprints some years back now via Bud Plant (and thanks once again to my bud­dy Eric Wight for alert­ing me to those back then!). Unfor­tu­nate­ly though, I don’t think those are in stock any­more. But, the good news is, you can view just about every issue of Black Cat online, cour­tesy of The Dig­i­tal Com­ic Muse­um (What a great resource!).

And that’s a wrap for this one!

6 thoughts on “The Original Black Cat

  1. John G. Pierce

    I’ve been a fan of this char­ac­ter ever since Har­vey issued a reprint book back in the ear­ly 60s. Of course, the read­er has to over­look such mat­ters as the fact that a movie star, hav­ing a very rec­og­niz­able face, could not pos­si­bly dis­guise her­self con­vinc­ing­ly, or even that the gru­el­ing sched­ules of movie-mak­ing would hard­ly leave any­one with either time or sta­mi­na for crime-fight­ing. Ignore all the prob­lems — not real­ly that hard to do — and she is one great character!

    1. Mark Post author

      I knew this post would appeal to you, John. 🙂
      I think the Black Cat’s a lot of fun, and would love to see some­one do some­thing with her again, maybe as a ’40s Hol­ly­wood peri­od piece. My inner fan­boy sort of imag­ines what you might get if the right indi­vid­ual (say Dar­wyn Cooke, for exam­ple) took a shot at it. I think it would be a blast!

    1. Mark Post author

      Thanks, Will! Glad you like it. You’re anoth­er artist who’d be a nat­ur­al to draw new Black Cat comics.

  2. David Marshall

    A bunch of these Lee Elias clas­sics are avail­able on the Dig­i­tal Com­ic Muse­um ( Reg­is­tra­tion and CRB/CBZ/PDF for­mat comics are free. I’ve been read­ing them on the old iPad.

    Lee port­ed Mil­ton Can­if­f’s mod­el of adven­ture and whim­sy. In real­i­ty, a half-naked petite could­n’t phys­i­cal­ly defeat a bunch of goons twice her size. That was­n’t the point. As pure fic­tion in a “Before Before Watch­men” world where our real­i­ty is only a ref­er­ence point, the sto­ries are enter­tain­ing and fun.

    1. Mark Post author

      I view these things as sort of con­ven­tions of the genre. Like the fact that nobody rec­og­nizes Clark Kent behind his glass­es as Super­man just because they don’t. In the con­text of the sto­ries, it does­n’t both­er you. You go along with these things because the sto­ries are enter­tain­ing and fun, as you point out.


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