The Black Marvel's debut
Cover art by Alex Schomburg
|First appearance||Mystic Comics #5 (March 1941)|
|Created by||Al Gabriele (artist)|
|Alter ego||Dan Lyons|
|Abilities||Excellent hand to hand combatant
Peak physical condition
The Black Marvel (Daniel Lyons) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by artist Al Gabriele with an unknown writer, he first appeared in Mystic Comics #5 (March 1941), published by Marvel's 1940s forerunner Timely Comics during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books.
The character also starred in a story in All Winners Comics #1 (Summer 1941), which was written by Lee and reprinted in The Golden Age of Marvel Comics, Vol. 2. The cover was also reprinted in Giant-Size Invaders vol. 2, #2 (Dec. 2005).
Fictional character biography
Man-to, the last chief of a tribe of Blackfeet was dying and sought a worthy successor. His medicine man, Running Elk, arranged a series of tests for potential candidates, but over a hundred prospective braves tried and failed to reach the standard required. Dan Lyons was the last contestant, the son of a white man whose life Man-to had saved many years before. Wishing to repay this debt, he braved the tests. He outran a deer, swam upstream faster than the salmon and proved himself an incredible marksman on the archery range, getting four consecutive bullseyes while blindfolded. When other arrows were fired at him, he caught them in the air. He then wrestled a bear and snapped its neck, slaying it. Satisfied, Man-to gave Dan the sacred costume of the Black Marvel, along with the responsibility to right wrongs and destroy those who would prey on the helpless. He also gave him a long bow, telling him to notch it every time he performed a good deed. Only when he had one hundred notches would he be truly worthy of calling himself "The Black Marvel."
His first public adventure saw him stopping a raid on the city armory, carried out under cover of darkness after the crooks created a black-out by attacking the electrical plant. In his next adventure, the Black Marvel stops Nazi agents from killing a refuge who has escaped the regime in Germany.
Later, the Black Marvel would relocate to California where he would take down the Order of the Hood, who were attempting to extort the United States into giving them massive amounts of money through acts of murder and robbery. Later, the Black Marvel would fail to prevent the murder of German-American scientist Dr. Eisenberg from Nazi's operating out of a German Bund. Despite this failure, the Black Marvel managed to track down his killers and bring them to justice. The Black Marvel then clashed with a new criminal known as the Grinner. Upon killing the crook, he learned that the Grinner was Dr. Weem, whose only mistake was testing out a cure for pneumonia that transformed him into a ruthless killer. He then traveled to South America to investigate a supposedly haunted mine with a massive diamond that killed with a touch. He helped expose that it was all a hoax created by a con-man named Ridley and his accomplice Baku, the local witch doctor who posed as the natives' god Vool-Kah. In his last recorded solo adventure, the Black Marvel protected reformed criminal Jerry Madden from the vengeful Longnails Legarya.
In 1943, the Black Marvel was among a number of heroes who were slain by the Cosmic Cube wielding Red Skull and impaled on a massive wall. However, the Cube was recovered by Private Paul Anslen who resurrected all the slain heroes who aided the combined efforts of the Invaders and the time displaced New Avengers and Mighty Avengers. When the Skull was defeated, the heroes used the Cube to wipe out the Black Marvel's memories of the event to preserve history.
In 1945, the Black Marvel went to Europe to assist the United States military in the war fighting the Nazis. On April 25, 1945 he participated in a massive super-hero invasion of Berlin. The Black Marvel's final mission saw him fail to save a hotel full of burning people, causing him to retire in shame.
As an old man, the Black Marvel attended a reunion party of golden age heroes of which Captain America was the guest of honor. The party was actually a trap set by the hero killer Zeitgeist who died in battle with Captain America.
Later, Lyons made a Faustian bargain with the demonic being Mephisto that allowed Lyons to obtain four superpowered costumes abandoned by the superhero Spider-Man, and use them to launch the superhero team known as the Slingers. The heroes eventually helped release Lyons from his demonic contract, allowing him to die in peace.
Powers and abilities
Black Marvel had no superpowers but he was an excellent hand-to-hand combatant at the peak of his physical condition.
In other media
- The Black Marvel appeared on Spider-Man: The Animated Series in the five-part episode Six Forgotten Warriors voiced by Paul Winfield. Here, the Black Marvel is Omar Mosely, a friend and former teacher of Daily Bugle editor Joseph "Robbie" Robertson. The Black Marvel and four other superheroes (the Whizzer, Miss America, the Thunderer, and the Destroyer) gained their powers as the result of an attempt during World War II to recreate the experimental process that empowered Captain America. His employer and friend Dan Lyons had intended to participate until Lyons' father forbade Lyons. Mosely took his place, gaining superhuman strength and wearing a face-covering black hood so that no one would know Mosely was African American during those racially divisive times. Lyons allowed others to believe that he was the hero and Mosely his sidekick in order to protect Omar's secret identity. After Captain America "sacrificed" his life to stop the Red Skull from activating the doomsday device, Black Marvel and the other heroes claimed the keys and retired while Black Marvel held on to Captain America's shield. The truth on the real identity of Black Marvel was eventually revealed to Spider-Man and the rest of the heroes that helped Captain America when Kingpin's Insidious Six were targeting them for the keys. Once Captain America was also returned moments after Red Skull's return, Black Marvel gave Captain America his shield back.
- In The Super Hero Squad Show, the Mayor of Superhero City (voiced by Stan Lee) wears a costume based on Black Marvel.
- Not Stan Lee as reported by some sources such as at "Stan Lee" at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. See Mystic Comics #5 at the Grand Comics Database: "Note that some sources claim that Stan Lee co-created the Black Marvel, but Lee's first writing credit, for a text filler, has been established as being in Captain America Comics #3, with his first comic scripting credit a few issues after that."
- Mystic Comics #5
- All Winners #1
- Mystic Comics #6
- Mystic Comics #7
- Mystic Comics #9
- Marvels #1
- Avengers/Invaders #10
- Avengers/Invaders #12
- Twelve: Spearhead #1
- Twelve #1
- Slingers #1
- Slingers #0-12 (Nov. 1998 - Nov. 1999)
- "'Spider-Man: The Animated Series". Marvel Toonzone.