Real Name:  Damon Hooks

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Former guard at a toxic waste dump, subsequently held various other jobs which were not described

Group Membership: None known

Affiliations: None known, although he once confided in Peter Parker about his career; also, see Comments

Enemies: Various unnamed gang members, muggers, and other criminals

Known Relatives: Connie (ex-wife), second ex-wife (name unrevealed), third ex-wife (name unrevealed)

Aliases: None known

Base of Operations: New York City; formerly Atlantic City, New Jersey

First Appearance: Spider-Man#54 ("Suits," prose story, January 1995)

Powers/Abilities: The Black Bee was able to discharge long bee-like stingers from the backs of his hands; he had additional superhuman powers which were not described but which, based upon the customary effects of radioactive animal bites, might have included superhuman strength and the power of flight.  His powers vanished after two years of non-use but at least partially resurfaced some sixteen years later.

History:   (SM#54 (fb) ) - Around thirty years prior to the beginning of the modern era (or between forty and forty-five years ago as of now), Damon Hooks, while married to a woman named Connie, began working as a security guard at a toxic waste dump.

(SM#54 (fb)) - After almost ten years on the job, Hooks was stung by a large bee which had presumably been mutated by radioactive material stored at the toxic waste dump where he worked.  Hooks developed superhuman powers shortly thereafter and, designing a black caped costume, began a career as a crimefighter called the Black Bee, active "all over New Jersey."

(SM#54 (fb)) - After about two years of activity, the Black Bee was severely beaten by six Atlantic City gang members, sustaining broken bones, internal injuries, and a possible concussion.  After being hospitalized for over a month, he decided to abandon his crimefighting activities and turned to alcohol in an effort to forget "all the pain and problems" that he was no longer facing as the Black Bee.

(SM#54 (fb)) - A year after Hooks retired from crimefighting, his wife Connie, unwilling to continue dealing with his alcoholism and self-loathing, divorced him.  Over the next several years Hooks continued his misuse of alcohol, remarried and divorced twice, and went through several jobs, unable to hold any of them for more than a few months.  At some point he relocated to New York City, and by the beginning of the modern era he was living at the Calimax Hotel.

(SM#54 (fb)) - A year after Connie's departure, Hooks attempted to return to his career as the Black Bee, but he found that his powers had vanished from lack of use, and his life continued its downward trend.

(SM#54) - Some sixteen years later, while vacationing in Atlantic City, Hooks happened to encounter Peter Parker (Spider-Man), who was also vacationing with his aunt, May Parker.  Somehow recognizing that Peter, at this time only a few months into his Spider-Man career, was a super-hero (or "suit") as he himself once was, Hooks drew him into conversation and shared the details and regrets of his past career.  Back in New York City some days later, Spider-Man, having been given new resolve by Hooks's story, sought Hooks out at his hotel and happened to see the older man set upon by two muggers.  Spider-Man swung down to intervene but slipped on a patch of ice; however, Hooks's stinger power resurfaced, enabling him to incapacitate his assailants.  Spider-Man identified himself as the youth Hooks had met in Atlantic City and offered him some words of encouragement, noting that "we suits have got to stick together."  Following the encounter, Hooks took his Black Bee costume out of storage, then thought better of it and returned it to its box.

Comments:   Created by Tom De Haven and Dean Wesley Smith.

"Suits" also appeared in the anthology "The Ultimate Spider-Man," edited by Stan Lee; the story occurs concurrently with the events of Amazing Spider-Man I#7.

Hooks told Peter that he could always recognize "an off-duty suit," implying that he had encountered other super-heroes either during his Black Bee career or afterwards.  At this writing, the Black Bee's career would have occurred circa the early 1970s, making him a contemporary of the later members of the first incarnation of the First Line (founded in 1958 and active until the early 1970s), although that could eventually change as time progresses and the First Line's activities remain fixed to specific dates, while the Black Bee's origin may or may not be forever "twenty years" prior to the beginning of the modern era.

Black Bee was obviously meant to be a take-off of both the Green Hornet and (perhaps) the pulp-fiction hero called the Spider. But, did you know that Golden Age publisher Ace Periodicals already had a composite-character based on them? Ralph Nelson: Assistant DA, by day. And, crime-busting vigilante, the Black Spider, by night! Check out the International Superheroes Catalogue if you want to see a photo-excerpt.

 Profile by Ronald Byrd

CLARIFICATIONS:   The Black Bee should not be confused with

  • any other insect-motif character or with any other character with the word "Black" in his/her/its name.

Last updated: 03/02/04

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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