Midnight (DC Comics)
|Publisher||Quality Comics/DC Comics|
|First appearance||Smash Comics #18
|Created by||Jack Cole|
|Alter ego||Dave Clark|
|Team affiliations||UXAM (Radio Station)
DC version only
|Notable aliases||The Man at Midnight, The Man Called Midnight|
Midnight (real name: Dave Clark) is a fictional character owned by DC Comics. A masked detective, he was created by writer-artist Jack Cole for Quality Comics during the 1930s to 1940s period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books.
With writer-artist Will Eisner retaining rights to the masked-detective character the Spirit, Quality Comics publisher "Busy" Arnold, who published the comic-book version of this newspaper character, desired a hedge in case Eisner were killed or incapacitated during World War II. Arnold directed Jack Cole to create a similar character, which became Midnight. Midnight debut in Smash Comics #18 (cover-dated Jan. 1941). The character became popular enough to become the cover feature with Smash Comics #28 (Nov. 1941), a position he would hold for nearly eight years until the title's cancellation with issue #85 (Oct. 1949).
Fictional character biography
Dave Clark is a radio announcer in Big City. He is an actor in a show named "The Man Called Midnight", about a masked crime fighter. After witnessing the collapse of a twelve-story building, he finds out that it had collapsed as a result of deliberate criminal negligence on the part of its builder, Morris Carleton. Clark decides to fight Carleton and force him to admit responsibility. To do this, he puts on a domino mask and assumes the identity of Midnight himself. After succeeding, he chooses to continue to fight crime as "Midnight, the eerie friend of the needy." 
In Smash Comics #21, Midnight encounters the intelligent talking monkey Gabby. By the end of the story, the death of the scientist responsible leaves Gabby in Midnight's care. In Smash Comics #23, Midnight and Gabby face off against mad scientist Doc Wackey who, once captured, is talked into reforming and joins forces with Midnight. Doc Wackey and Gabby would continue to serve as Midnight's sidekicks (and often comic relief) for the remainder of Midnight's run on the title. He was killed in Smash Comics #36, where he went to Hell at his own request so that he could attempt to fight the Devil himself. Midnight was resurrected at the end of the chapter thanks to a mad scientist. Eventually two more colorful characters joined the gang, inept private detective Sniffer Snoop and his pet Hotfoot, a baby polar bear.
Like the other Quality characters, Midnight was bought by DC Comics after Quality Comics folded in 1956, but has not been extensively used. Like most other Golden Age heroes, he made an appearance in Roy Thomas' All-Star Squadron, which Thomas used to feature every Golden Age character owned by DC. He also worked with the Freedom Fighters for some time.
In his sole post-Crisis appearance, a revised version of Midnight's origin written by Thomas and drawn by Gil Kane was published in Secret Origins #28. His base of operations was retconned into New York City. Midnight has not appeared since, and nothing is known of his fate after the 1940s.
A new Midnight was introduced in the 1990s in Ms. Tree Quarterly, but whether this Midnight has any connection to the original is unknown.
- In the Elseworlds miniseries JLA: Destiny, by John Arcudi and Tom Mandrake, a version of Midnight exists in a world where Superman and Batman do not exist. This version of Midnight, named William Cole, is a former detective with the Gotham City Police Department and a senior member of Thomas Wayne's Justice League of America, formerly the Justice League of Gotham, as Midnight.
- Midnight by Jack Cole from Smash Comics #32 Originally Copyrighted 1942 E.M. Arnold
- Internationalhero page