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Black Cat / Harvey Spotlight - September 2022

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Yoc: banner74-Black Cat-animated.gifThe Black Cat star of golden-age Harvey Comics.  To learn about what sources were used to create this banner  Click Here.
Hi Gang!
For the month of September we will be running a Harvey/Black Cat Spotlight.  Every Thursday new scans will go live on DCM covering various eras in Harvey's golden-age period.

Black Cat superfan Gregg Whitmore along with long-time scanner and friend to DCM SRCA1941 have worked with us to create several new Harvey scans to debut during our spotlight.  Rangerhouse and Tilliban also have scans to include.  Our thanks to all of them for helping make this spotlight possible!

DCM has been a long time fan of the underrated Lee Elias and his work for DC and in Harvey Comics.  He is best known as THE Black Cat artist and for his wonderful horror and war covers for Harvey Comics. (His cover for Chamber of Chills Magazine #19 is an absolute classic!)  He worked as an assistant to Milt Caniff and used a similar clean style for his Black Cat work. 1

Elias was Harvey's go to man for all their books, it didn't matter what the subject matter was Lee could do it.  He especially shone in the Black Cat books.  You will see the multi-talented Elias had an influence on modern artists right through to today.  The funny thing is Elias doesn't draw BC for the first five years of her history.  He had started at Fiction House in 1943 and would work at several GA publishers during his career. 2

NOTE - Most of the following books are found in the Harvey Comics section HERE.

Black Cat (actress Linda Turner) got a very early start in the golden-age, predating almost all other heroines including the more famous Wonder Woman by four months.  Initially drawn by Al Gabriele in Pocket Comics, she was taken over by Arturo Cazeneuve and would later be graced with art by legends such as Bob Powell (Speed Comics #27+28) and a long run by a young Joe Kubert (Speed Comics #31,33-38,44 -there is some question about him on some of them). 

Cover artist legend Alex Schomburg would draw Black Cat in his Speed Comics covers.

Black Cat was given her own title in 1946.  Inside #1 is Powell and Kubert art.  Lee Elias starts working in BC#2 with two stories.


Pocket Comics #1* (1941.08) (Joe Simon cover) The first Harvey comic and the debut appearance of Black Cat - Reprinted/redrawn in Speed Comics #17 here -
DCM only has a fiche scan of Pocket Comics #1, if anyone out there owns the book PLEASE consider preserving it for posterity!

*Pocket Comics was made in a failed experimental format.  100 digest sized pages (5.25" x 7.25") for 10 cents.  When it ended after four issues Black Cat shifted to Speed Comics in the standard sized issue #17 (Speed was pocket sized as well for issues #14-16) where her origin from Pocket #1 was reprint/redrawn.  It is the same origin story but several panels have been slightly redrawn to fit into eight pages, with most of the new pages being drawn in a 9-panel grid. (The original story typically had 6 panels per page.) 

Al Gabriele likely did all the Black Cat art in Pocket Comics #1-4. These Pocket stories are reused in her first four appearances in Speed Comics.

Black Cat made her first text feature appearance in Pocket #2.  The first of MANY!  107 text stories!  So many they've been collected into a single file by Gregg Whitmore.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE COLLECTION.

Lee Elias would start on her book in issue #2 and soon make her all his own.  Her stories were of a non-super powered hero with advanced hand combat skills.  Elias would start drawing her Judo Lessons in BC #7.  All 19 lessons have also been collected into a single file by Gregg Whitmore and will debut as part of our Black Cat spotlight.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE COLLECTION.

Our hero BC would appear in 95 total stories before she was phased out.

Harvey's 'Black Cat' book would change titles and genres several times over the decades as they tried to keep the book current any way they could.  BC herself made a final, very brief appearance in #30 and didn't return except in reprints four years later.  The Black Cat title finally stops with issue #65 in 1963.  The final three issues reprinting Black Cat adventures.

Speed Comics #23 (1942.10) (Joe Simon cover) A rare golden-age crossover among the Speed Comics featured characters in the Black Cat story.   Arturo Cazeneuve BC art. Link -
Speed Comics #27 (1943.08) (Arturo Cazeneuve cover) Bob Powell does BC story; Sam Glanzman; Ed Wheelan (Padlock Homes) and Jill Elgin (Girl Commandos) inside most Speed issues as well.  Link -
Speed Comics #28 (inc) (1943.09) (Al Avison cover) Bob Powell BC art; sadly incomplete Ed Wheelan story.  Link -
Speed Comics #31, 33-37(1944-45) (Alex Schomburg covers) Joe Kubert does the Black Cat art. 
Speed Comics #38 (1945.07) (Powell cover?) Joe Kubert BC art; Bob Fuji, Powell art as well.  Link -
Speed Comics #44 (1947.01-02) (Al Avison cover?) Joe Kubert BC art; Powell art as well.  Link -


Black Cat #1 (1946.06-07) (Simon cover?) Kubert and Powell art.  Link -
Black Cat #2 (1946.08-09) (Simon cover?) Lee Elias starts working on BC stories. Andriola, Cazeneuve, Helfant and Roussos art started appearing in many issues as well.  Link -
Black Cat #8 (1947.10-11) Alfred Andriola's 'Kerry Drake' strip moves from ME to Harvey and starts appearing as a feature in BC issues.

Black Cat #5-8, Stuntman #2 (, Boy Explorers Comics #1 (sadly non-PD and not on DCM) all contain Joe Simon's 'Duke of Broadway' or 'Vagabond Prince' features.  Unique ideas that deserve a look.  Bob Powell's 'Scarlet Arrow' has his only two appearances in #5+6.
Black Cat #11 (1948.05)  The 'A Day with Linda Turner' feature starts highlighting BC's real life persona.  Link -
Black Cat #13 (1948.09) Lee Elias artist bio appears.  Link -
A transcript of this is found in Gregg's compilation of Black Cat's Complete Judo Lessons.
Black Cat #15 (1949.01) Russell Stamm's 'Invisible Scarlet O'Neil' strip leaves Eastern and becomes a back-up feature in Black Cat.  Western themed stories start.  Link -
Black Cat Western #16 (1949.03) Title changes as costume heroes lose their popularity.  Link -
Black Cat #20 (1949.11) The title returns to 'Black Cat Comics'.  Link -
Black Cat #21 (1950.02) The 'New' Black Cat is announced on the cover.  A 'Hollywood' theme starts in the books.  A letter page debuts along with Hollywood star profiles and a gossip text feature.  A readers survey is printed trying to figure out what their audience wanted.   Link -
Black Cat #28 (1951.04) The first appearance of BC's kid sidekick 'Kitten'.  Link -
Black Cat Mystery #29 (1951.06) The cover title changes again.  A supernatural / horror theme starts.  Link -
Black Cat Mystery #30 (1951.06) Black Cat, the character, makes her last appearance on the cover and in just one  panel inside.  Horror genre stories start to appear.  Today these issues are very popular among precode horror fans.

Artists that would contribute horror stories include Rudy Palais, Howard Nostrand, Bob Powell,  Joe Certa, Warren Kremer, Manny Stallman, Jack Sparling, Vic Donahue, Abe Simon, Marcus & Mastroserio  Link -
Black Cat #44 (1953.06) The title returns to just 'Black Cat' but continues the horror theme content.  Link -
Black Cat Western #54 - 56 (1955.02-10)  Lee Elias BC story reprints start as Harvey dumps their horror line.  The Comics Code stamps start on #55.  Harvey quickly changes genres again in...
Black Cat Mystery #57 then Black Cat Mystic #58 to #62 (1956-1958.03) Joe Simon is hired to revamp things editing Harvey's 'Thrilling Adventure' line.  Black Cat returns to a supernatural theme.  The title was cancelled after #62 in 1958.  Four years would pass...
Black Cat #63 (1962.10) Harvey revives the Black Cat title.  The book contains reprinted Black Cat stories by Elias.
It only lasts three issues ending with #65 (1963.04).

Our hero Black Cat would pop up in various titles over the following years.  (None of those are in the public domain so we can't share them here.)  To learn more about those appearances be sure to read Gregg Whitmore's Black Cat index found in the Collected Judo Lessons introduction.  Link to come.

1. To learn more about Lee Elias use this Jerry Bail's Who's Who link - bio -

2 You can find a nice selection of Elias original art on James Halperin's original art site here.

Gregg tells us the totals.  Here's a list of Black Cat comic stories (non text) per title and issue when they varied. 
It does not include reprints.

First up is Golden-Age and Silver-Age Appearances...

Total Black Cat Stories per title/issue:
Pocket Comics 1-44Speed Comics 17-37, 44      22All New 6, 9, 15*, 16**4Black Cat 012Black Cat 022Black Cat 031Black Cat 041Black Cat 051Black Cat 061Black Cat 071Black Cat 082Black Cat 091Black Cat 103Black Cat 113Black Cat 122Black Cat 132Black Cat 143Black Cat 152Black Cat 162Black Cat 172Black Cat 183Black Cat 192Black Cat 202Black Cat 212Black Cat 223Black Cat 233Black Cat 243Black Cat 253Black Cat 264Black Cat 273Black Cat 283Black Cat 293Total95

*All New 15 was sent out to subscribers only.
** All New 16 had artwork created but never printed.

Hi guys,
The first batch of books to debut the Harvey Spotlight are...

Gregg W's first collection of text stories in our Archives section.
Black Cat (Harvey) Collected Text Stories only -gbwhitmore.cbz

Long time member and scanner freddyfly has a Harvey book that fills a hole in the collection,
Joe Palooka Comics #96 [Harvey 1956] -freddyfly.cbz

And I take a crack at a new edit of Black Cat's second ever appearance from a Rangerhouse scan,
Pocket Comics #02 [1945.03][re-edit]-c2c  -rangerhouse+Yoc.cbz

Thanks to all for their help on this event,

Here's a new, surprise Harvey from a new scanner...

True_Brides_Experiences_16 [Harvey_1956]_Arten.cbz

More to come on Thursday.


More scans for the spotlight...

Black Cat (Harvey) Collected Judo Lessons only -gbwhitmore.cbz
Little Max Comics 015 [Harvey1952] -Jetstone+Titansfan fill.cbz
Speed Comics 022 [Harvey1942.09][re-edit]-c2c  -rangerhouse+yoc.cbz
Dotty Dripple 18 (Harvey)(1951-06)(titansfan).cbz



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