Monday, January 12, 2009

From the Dust Bin: The (Original) Black Cat

Harvey Comics is perhaps most famous for some of the best kiddie comics to ever see print. Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, Wendy the Good Little Witch, Hot Stuff, Baby Huey, etc. are all classic stars of the all-ages genre (in fact, just try to pick up a few of these gems on eBay, and you will quickly see just how high the regard for these old books really is), but starting back during the golden age, Harvey Comics also published several of their own superhero-types, including the Black Cat, or since Marvel Comics has now swiped her name, the [original] Black Cat.

Linda Turner was the daughter of silent film, western actor Tim Turner and an unnamed Hollywood stunt woman, and she followed in their footsteps. Linda had successfully made the transition from stunt woman to lead actress when during the filming of a picture, she began to suspect the film's director of being a Nazi spy. To gain corroborating evidence, she disguised herself in a backless blue blouse, red shorts, blue flared gloves, red buccaneer boots and a blue opera mask and called herself The Black Cat.

As the Black Cat, Linda met Los Angeles Globe reporter Rick Horne, who was also investigating rumors of a Nazi spy ring in LA. Initially disdainful of one another, the pair were forced to work together and they discovered that the director was planting secret information within his motion pictures. Her knowledge of the studio, allowed the Black Cat to sneak into the editing room and alter the picture to render the information useless. Unfortunately Rick and Linda were physically overpowered by the gang and the director escaped. Linda Turner decided to retain her Black Cat identity to keep watch over his activities.

Life on her father's ranch outside of LA, allowed Linda to develop the physical skills necessary to perform her work as The Black Cat. She is adept at riding horses and motorcycles, as well as performing various stunts while riding either of them. She is also proficient with a lasso and possesses a black belt in judo. Her stunt training allows her to make impressive leaps from buildings or moving vehicles safely.

During the course of her two decades in comics, The Black Cat's title changed occasionally to reflect industry trends. The series was also known as Black Cat Western, Black Cat Mystery and Black Cat Mystic. The last three issues were released between October 1962 (#63; shown) and April 1963 (#65). As you can see, despite having her heroic name ultimately stolen by Marvel, Linda Turner was still kicking around even as the House of Ideas started making their own mark on the four-color world.

1 comment:

Wayne Skiver said...

Great Stuff and a great Golden Age character! Many people don't realize the rich history of Harvey Comics. It wasn't always Richie Rich. Speed Comics, Black Cat, Champion Comics and some good War and Horror stuff too.