Black Hood

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The Black Hood
The Black Hood, from Top-Notch Comics #9 (October 1940). Art by Al Camy.
Publication information

MLJ Comics

DC Comics
First appearance Top-Notch Comics #9 (October 1940)
Modern Debut: The Web #5 (March 2010)
Created by Harry Shorten
In-story information
Full name Mathew Burland (Archie Comics)
Mateo Burland (DC Comics)
Team affiliations The Mighty Crusaders
Abilities (Archie/Red Circle) Great fighter and detective
(Impact) Magically increased physical abilities and awareness

The Black Hood was originally a golden age character created by MLJ Comics, later known as Archie Comics. The Black Hood first appeared in Top-Notch Comics #9, October 1940 and became one of MLJ's most popular characters. He also had his own title, Black Hood Comics, a pulp magazine, and his own radio show. In recent decades, the Black Hood (along with other Archie Comics superheroes) has been licensed and sporadically published by DC Comics.

Matthew Burland[edit]

In his first incarnation, the Black Hood was a costumed man of mystery who had been trained by a hermit to battle evil. The comic book was at first intentionally vague as to whether he possessed superpowers, or simply had the unusual strength, agility, and healing abilities that costumed crime fighters seem to possess.

His real name was Matthew Kipling "Kip" Burland, an ex-cop who had been framed for grand larceny and left for dead by a villain known as The Skull.[1] Burland eventually cleared his name, but continued to wear the costume. Matthew Burland's love interest was newspaper reporter named Barbara Sutton. The Kip Burland Black Hood was unmasked in court by a character named "Needlenoodle". Thereafter, Burland became a private detective.[2]

The Black Hood is not the only man of mystery whose secret identity is a police officer. Other superheroes who were also cops included Charlton's Blue Beetle and DC's Guardian.

The Black Hood enjoyed popularity for a while until he dropped from the covers and was gradually replaced by funny animal characters, as the popularity of the superhero genre faded in the late 1940s. His last few stories were as a private detective without wearing a costume.

Mighty Comics[edit]

During the 1960s the Black Hood returned in two issues of Adventures of The Fly (#7, July 1960 and #11, March, 1961). He was also seen teaching Karate in issues of Adventures of the Jaguar and Adventures of The Fly. After returning as a founding member of The Mighty Crusaders in Fly-Man #31-33, he appeared regularly as part of the team in Mighty Crusaders #1-6 (November 1965-August 1966) during the period of Archie Comics' Mighty Comics period. He also appeared through 1967 in solo stories in Fly-Man #34 & 35 and Mighty Comics #41-44, 46, 47 & 50.[3][4] This version of The Black Hood rides initially on a robot horse called Nightmare (destroyed in Mighty Crusaders #1) before switching to a motorcycle.[3]

Red Circle[edit]

The Black Hood was revived by artist Gray Morrow during his time as an editor at Archie's Red Circle Comics line in the early 1970s, and was first published years later in Archie's Super Hero Comic Digest Magazine #2 (1979).[3] In these stories, The Black Hood's second incarnation, Thomas "Kip" Burland, was given the secret identity by his uncle, the "first" Black Hood, who revealed that the family had in fact used the pseudonym throughout history. This version is less flamboyantly costumed, preferring to wear the mask with regular biker leathers, rides a high performance motorcycle and is typically armed with a custom designed Pepper-box pistol with multiple functions.[5] This Black Hood appeared in three issues of his own title (June–October 1983) and the thirteen issues of The Mighty Crusaders (March 1983-September 1985), as well as two issues of Blue Ribbon (a new story in #11 [August 1984] and a reprint of the Super Hero Comic Digest material in #8 [May 1984]). In the final issues of Mighty Crusaders, the younger Black Hood reverts to the yellow and black/blue costume worn by the prior incarnation of the character.

Impact Revival[edit]

In 1991, DC Comics revived the character briefly in its Impact Comics imprint. The Black Hood ran for a total of 12 issues, including one annual.

During the Impact Comics series, there were three major Black Hoods featured: a bitter vigilante who was featured in the other Impact Comics titles and killed in the first issue of The Black Hood; a high school student who reluctantly took the hood and later abandoned it; and a former mobster, the same mobster who killed the first Black Hood. Numerous other Black Hoods from various time periods were featured in stories from the comics annuals, such as a female Black Hood who lived in medieval France patterned after Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) and a western Hood whose adventures served as an inspiration for the fictional adventures of the Lone Ranger.

The Black Hood focused on the adventures of a series of vigilante characters with the same name throughout history. Each Black Hood character would somehow come in possession of a black hood and when the character wore the hood, he or she was given heightened awareness, and increased strength, speed, and agility. The hood caused each of its wearers to become a vigilante and fight injustice. An interesting feature of the hood was what appeared to be a curse. After a certain period of time, each wearer of the black hood would die. After the death of the Black Hood, the hood would find its way into the hands of another individual with the potential to become the next Black Hood.

The titular black hood was originally an executioner's mask. As a witch was being executed for the crime of witchcraft, she cursed not the executioner, but his hood. From that point on, whoever wore the hood would be compelled to "do only good".

Mateo Burland[edit]

DC Comics licensed the Archie Comics superheroes and began integrating them into the DC Universe in 2009. The DC Universe version of the Black Hood made his debut in January 2010s issue of The Web. He is Mateo Burland, a young Detroit criminal whose sister is murdered by the same criminals Mateo worked with, when Mateo himself tries to escape their influence. After using weapons and equipment found in the defunct headquarters of the Justice League Detroit, Mateo confronts the drug dealer responsible for his sister's death and takes his black bandana. It is unclear whether or not he kills the drug dealer when he says he has meted out justice. It remains to be seen how much of a hero Mateo will become as he adopts the persona of the Black Hood.[6]

Burland was recently shown to be a member of the "second team" of the Mighty Crusaders known as the Shadow Crusaders, helping to rescue Director (former General) Latham.[7]

Greg Hettinger[edit]

In early 2015, The Black Hood was released under Dark Circle Comics and tells the story of "Greg Hettinger, a cop who's shot in the line of duty while investigating an incident involving rival drug gangs. He ends up gunning down the masked vigilante known as Black Hood before passing out and ends up a hero in the process."[8] This version of the storyline will have a modern, violent spin as it examines cops and criminals in Philadelphia as well as Hettinger's addiction to Percocet.

Other Countries[edit]

In Brazil the original Black Hood is known as Titan O Homem Mistério (Titan The Mystery Man).


  1. ^ Top Notch Comics #9, October 1940, MLJ Comics
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Mougin, Lou (April 1982). "The Back-Seat Super Heroes, Pt. IV: The Mighty Heroes, or Send Your Super-Hero to Camp!". The Comic Reader (200): 32–49. 
  4. ^ "Mighty Crusaders". Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  5. ^ Mighty "Black Hood III (II)". Retrieved July 1, 2008.
  6. ^ The Web #5, March 2010
  7. ^ The Mighty Crusaders #4, October 2010
  8. ^

External links[edit]