The Black Marvel's debut
Cover art by Alex Schomburg
|First appearance||Mystic Comics #5 (March 1941)|
|Alter ego||Dan Lyons|
|Abilities||Excellent hand to hand combatant
Peak physical condition
The Black Marvel (Daniel Lyons) is a fictional superhero in 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
He was chosen by a "Black Feet" (sic) native American chief (not specifically tied to the real-life Blackfoot tribe) to be a champion of justice, after besting 100 challengers by outrunning a deer, outswimming a salmon upstream, hitting the bullseye while blindfolded and then catching arrows that were fired at him, and then wrestling a bear, finally winning by breaking its neck with his bare hands. He was given a long bow into which he carved a notch whenever he performed a good deed. When he had attained 100 notches he would be judged worthy of having taken the mantle of the Black Marvel.
In later years, 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 to use them to launch the superhero team 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, and 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."
- Slingers # 0-12 (Nov. 1998 - Nov. 1999)
- "'Spider-Man: The Animated Series". Marvel Toonzone.