Comic Book Cats, number 112: Black Cat #8

Comic Book Cats, number 112: Black Cat #8, drawn by Lee Elias, published by Harvey Comics in October 1947.

The original Black Cat from the Golden Age of comic books was Linda Turner, a movie actress who performed her own stunts. Linda first adopted the costumed identity of the Black Cat when she suspected that the director of her latest picture was in fact a Nazi spy. Linda continued to lead a double life, changing into the Black Cat to fight an assortment of criminals. Black Cat was in certain ways ahead of her time, an intelligent and highly-competent non-powered female costumed hero who regularly held her own.

Making her debut in 1941 in Pocket Comics #1, Linda received her own series in 1946. The ongoing Black Cat comic book gave British-born artist Lee Elias the perfect venue in which to draw his two specialties: pulpy two-fisted action and glamorous women. Elias’ work on Black Cat is beautiful and dynamic, some of my favorite artwork from the Golden Age.

Elias later drew the excellent Beyond Mars newspaper strip written by science fiction novelist Jack Williamson that ran from 1952 to 1955. John Fallon has been regularly spotlighting the stunning Beyond Mars Sunday strips in the Comic Book Historians group on Facebook.

Elias subsequently worked for DC and Marvel, and towards the end of his career in comic books drew The Rook for Warren Publishing. In the 1980s he moved into commercial illustration, and he also taught at the School of Visual Arts and the Kubert School. Elias passed away in 1998 at the age of 77.

These three opening pages from the story “The Queen of Cats” spotlight Linda Turner’s own black cat, who is named Toby. At times referred to as a male, but in this story, Toby is definitely a female. Toby is described here by the uncredited writer as a Siamese cat. This is a bit odd since A) she does not look much like a Siamese and B) there really isn’t such a thing as a black Siamese cat (see the link below). I’m willing to overlook both of these points because Elias does a superb job drawing Toby.

The entire story can be read on Comic Book Plus.

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