Owl (Dell Comics)
|First appearance||Crackajack Funnies #25 (July 1940)|
|Created by||Frank Thomas|
|Alter ego||Nick Terry|
|Abilities||Flight; ability to project a field of "black light"; excellent fighter; armed with various gimmicks and devices.|
Police detective Nick Terry became The Owl so that he could more freely protect his home city of Yorktown from criminals. Not having superpowers, he instead relied on his fighting skills and a number of gimmicks, such as his flying “Owlmobile,” a cape that functions as a hang glider, and a hand-held “black light” that casts a beam of darkness. His girlfriend, newspaper reporter Belle Wayne, found out his secret and became his sidekick, Owl Girl.
At some point after World War II, The Owl (along with dozens of other heroes) was trapped in the Urn of Pandora by the misguided Fighting Yank. Decades later, the Urn was shattered and the heroes freed, many of whom were transformed by the experience; The Owl now had the power of flight and the power to emanate a field of black light from his body. He returned to Yorktown and found that it was now being watched over by a ruthless new Owl Girl who was the granddaughter of the original.
One of the few original characters to be published by Dell, The Owl first appeared in Crackajack Funnies (sic) #25 (July 1940); Owl Girl debuted in issue #32 (February 1941). After Crackajack ended, the duo appeared in Dell’s Popular Comics, from issue #72 (February 1942) to #85 (March 1943).
In the 1960s, Gold Key Comics revived The Owl and Owl Girl, inspired by the success of the Batman TV series. The two issues of Gold Key’s The Owl — in which the duo was shown in campy, self-parodying stories — came out in April 1967 and April 1968. The Owl Girl in the revival was a different one from the 1940s version, and in the partnership she handled most of the physical combat. In the 1970s, The Owl (without either Owl Girl) appeared in issue #22 of Gold Key’s The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. In a text article in that issue, Doctor Spektor speculates that the Owl may have been privy to some kind of secret of prolonged youth, a secret that for some reason could not be shared with Owl Girl.
In 1999, The Owl appeared in issue #17 of the AC Comics title Men of Mystery Comics. Most recently, The Owl is one of many public domain characters to appear in Dynamite Entertainment’s 2008 miniseries Project Superpowers. In 2013 Dynamite Entertainment published a 4-issue mini-series starring The Owl and The Owl Girl (this version being the granddaughter of the original) as main characters.