Black Rider (comics)
|The Black Rider|
|First appearance||All-Western Winners #2 (Winter 1948)|
|Created by||Syd Shores (art)|
|Alter ego||Matthew "Doc" Masters|
|Notable aliases||The Cactus Kid, Black Mask|
|Abilities||Skilled horseman and marksman|
|The Black Rider|
|Series publication information|
|Publication date||Mar. 1950 – Mar. 1955
(Western Tales of the Black Rider)
May – Nov. 1955
|Number of issues||24|
|Main character(s)||The Black Rider|
The Black Rider is a fictional Western character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in All-Western Winners #2 (Winter 1948), from the company's 1940s forerunner, Timely Comics.
After appearing in subsequent issues of the All-Western Winners omnibus, by issue #8 the book changed its title to Black Rider, with the character becoming the lead feature. Other company characters, like Kid Colt and Arrowhead also made appearances. After slightly changing its name again, to Western Tales of Black Rider, by issue #32 the book reverted to an anthology format and was renamed Gunsmoke Western (which took over the numbering of the Black Rider title) through the 1950s.
Fictional character biography
As a young man, Matthew Masters was known as the Cactus Kid, an outlaw. His criminal career ended one day at the Last Chance Saloon in Jefferson County, Texas, when he faced a gang of killers who had taken the town hostage. When the dust cleared, the killers were dead, and the Cactus Kid was arrested for murder. The governor of Texas, convinced that the Kid had learned his lesson, pardoned the young outlaw after he promised to go to medical school and become a doctor.[volume & issue needed]
Years later, "Doc" Masters became the new physician for the small town of Leadville, Texas. Masters' new peaceful lifestyle left him unwilling to use violence when a hired killer came to town, and he was branded a coward by the townspeople. Masters decided to disguise himself as the Black Rider, so that he could fight criminals without revealing his criminal past to the town.[volume & issue needed]
Sometimes later, the Black Rider investigates a crime in Texas that leads him to New York City's Chinatown. There he receives help from a mysterious Chinese man, who is eventually revealed to be a younger version of the Ancient One, future mentor of the occult superhero Doctor Strange.[volume & issue needed]
A modern-day version of the character stars in the five-issue ensemble miniseries Six Guns (#1-4 cover-dated Jan.-March 2012), by writer Andy Diggle and artist Davide Gianfelice, and also starring the extant female mercenary Tarantula and new contemporary versions of the Marvel Old West heroes Tex Dawson a.k.a. the Western Kid; Matt Slade; and the Two-Gun Kid.
- Beard, Jim (October 6, 2011). "Six Guns: Trigger Happy". Comic News (column), Marvel.com. Archived from the original on November 20, 2011.
- Beard, Jim (June 23, 2011). "Six Guns: Locked and Loaded". Comic News (column), Marvel.com. Archived from the original on November 20, 2011.
- "Six Guns (2012)" at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators. Archived from the original (required scrolldown) November 20, 2011