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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Number 2375: The Black Condor...he’s so Fine!

Don Markstein’s Toonopedia says of the character, Black Condor: “The Condor's origin story wasn't too implausible, at least by superhero standards.” I guess if you consider being raised by condors, and learning to fly by watching other condors not too implausible, then yes, Black Condor fared well by the standard of superhero origins. If that is not enough, the Black Condor’s secret identity was him taking the place of a deceased United States Senator, Tom Wright. There are so many things illegal about impersonating a senator, alive or even dead, that I cannot imagine it happening except in a comic book.

What truly redeems Black Condor as a feature of early comic books is the artwork of Lou Fine, born Louis Kenneth Fine in 1914. He was one of the (excuse me) finest artists of the Golden Age, whose work was not only influential to other artists, but jumped off the newsstands at comic book readers. The Black Condor was done and gone in Quality’s Crack Comics after issue 31. Fine, who had been helping to ghost the Spirit while Will Eisner was doing military service, left comic books in 1944 and went into advertising. Later in his career he drew some newspaper comic strips. Fine died of a heart attack in 1971 at the young age of 56.

From Crack Comics #15 (1941):










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