Black Rider (comics)

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The Black Rider
Publication information
Publisher Timely Comics
First appearance All-Western Winners #2 (Winter 1948)
Created by Syd Shores (art)
In-story information
Alter ego Matthew "Doc" Masters
Notable aliases The Cactus Kid, Black Mask
Abilities Skilled horseman and marksman
The Black Rider
Series publication information
Publisher Timely Comics
Schedule Bimonthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Western
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
Creative team
Artist(s) Syd Shores

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.

Publication history[edit]

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.

Most of the Black Rider's adventures were drawn by Syd Shores. When the character's adventures were reprinted in the 1970s in Western Gunfighters, the character was renamed the Black Mask.

A one-shot revival, Strange Westerns Starring the Black Rider appeared in 2006, with a story by Steve Englehart and art by Marshall Rogers.

Fictional character biography[edit]

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]

Other versions[edit]

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.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ Beard, Jim (October 6, 2011). "Six Guns: Trigger Happy". Comic News (column), Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ Beard, Jim (June 23, 2011). "Six Guns: Locked and Loaded". Comic News (column), Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Six Guns (2012)" at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators. Archived from the original (required scrolldown) November 20, 2011

External links[edit]