Monday, January 07, 2013

Number 1294: Outfoxing the Fox

We continue with our Furry Fiends and Foes theme week at Pappy's.

Ever notice how few characters with “black” in their name are black? Like Black Owl, who appeared in Prize Comics. Not even his costume is black. I guess the name sounded good, but it doesn't describe him, or the color of his costume. Black Owl began his career in 1940 as Doug Danville, another millionaire playboy (yawnnnn!) who felt a calling to be a costumed hero. (Don't these guys have something better to do, like sail their yachts or watch their money grow in Cayman Island banks? Oh well, mine is not to question why...)

In his early days Doug wore a tuxedo and an owl mask, but later switched to the red and blue superhero costume.
In this story from Prize Comics #22 (1942), Doug goes after a villain who looks something like our villain yesterday, the Black Rat. Jack Binder is credited by the Grand Comics Database with drawing the story. (I don't know who wrote it, and based on a plot based on a series of unlikely events piling up until the denouement the author is wise not to claim it.) Binder had a comic art shop which also did work for other clients like Fawcett, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Black Owl, as well as yesterday's Bulletman entry, aren't from Binder's shop.


Brian Barnes said...

Just remember -- black isn't only for atmosphere, it also helps if you don't feel like drawing into an area!

cash_gorman said...

The Black Owl is much like Batman, Black Canary, Spider-man. Just as Superman doesn't have blue hair, their costumes were done blue-as-black. What happens over time is the shaded areas get less and less and the costumes become more "blue" and in some cases, eventually, it becomes blue in context as well. Such as Spider-man's costume or the color of the Beast's fur. With the name "black" it's safe to assume that the blue in the Black Owl's costume was originally meant to represent black.