BLACK TIGER

Real Name: varies. Abraham Brown and Brillalae have assumed the role

Identity/Class: Conceptual hero assumed by a series of people

Occupation: Religious Leader of the Muslim people of Murkatesh

Affiliations: The people of Murkatesh;
    Iron Fist and Power Man (Luke Cage/Carl Lucas)--associates only;
    Lethal Legion

Enemies: The people of Halwan;
The
Brow, Mole (Adam Pocock), Scratch, Tabletop, and Wrinkles (sought the costume to sell it)

Known Relatives: Inapplicable

Aliases: The Holy One, The Sacred One, The Blessed One

Base of Operations: Murkatesh, in "the African Desert"

First Appearance: (BTS) Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu#20/5 (January, 1976), (seen) Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#29/3 (October, 1976)

Powers: None. The Black Tiger is typically skilled at horsemanship and unarmed combat, as well as with guns and bladed weapons. "He" serves as a focus to rally the armies of Murkatesh. The role has been deliberately sought by some, and it has some financial value as well, since some would pay millions for costume, for the power it represents.

Abe Brown once caught a bullet fired from approximately 20 feet away in his bare hand while caught up in the role. Or maybe that was just "ancient kung fu secret" (not unlike Calgon).

History: Little has been revealed about the Black Tiger, other than the fact that it is not a single person. The Black Tiger is a legendary hero of the Muslim people of Murkatesh, a Middle Eastern country in the deserts of Africa. This role has existed for decades, if not centuries or even millennia. How successive representatives are chosen is unclear. the Black Tiger has been described as a symbol, which transcends individuals.

([DHoKF#20/5, 21/5, 22/5, 23/3, 24/4, 26], 29/3, 30, 32/3) -When first seen, the role of the Black Tiger was thrust upon Abraham Brown, who had just quit the Sons of the Tiger. Brown was at the airport, preparing to board a flight to Casablanca for a vacation. A mysterious woman known as Brillalae "accidentally" bumped into him and switched suitcases with him. Brown was actually aware of the switch (or discovered it soon after), but was intrigued with the exotic woman and allowed things to play out. Once aboard the plane, a group of terrorists who had been following Brillalae, hijacked the plane in order to obtain the suitcase. Brown fought and overpowered the five armed men, but they had killed both pilots during the struggle. Brown attempted to land the plane, but succeeded only in minimizing the crash. Almost everyone on the flight was killed when the plane crashed in the African desert. One of the men who had sought the Suitcase, claimed it and left. Brown followed the Mole, who turned around and shot him in the arm. The two were then taken captive by a group of the desert people of Murkatesh.

Brown was nursed back to health and then sent into a trial by combat against the Mole, who still had his gun. The Mole fired his bullet at Brown, who spun and somehow caught the bullet in his hand. The Mole was so surprised that he mis-stepped and fell into the pit of vipers dividing the two and was killed. Brown's miraculous feat earned him the right to the title of the Black Tiger. He assumed the role and quickly became caught up in the religious furor of the Muslim army he now led. He led raids on ammo dumps, supply lines, oil fields, and isolated troops movements, evening going so far as blow-up a tourist train carrying emmigrants, because some of them could become a future enemy.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#81(fb), 82(fb)) - However, after a period of time, probably several weeks or months, he took a glancing blow to the head from a bullet. He woke up in Halwan, the neighboring enemy of Murkatesh, suffering from heatstroke and amnesia. Brown returned to the USA, but Halwan sought to have him extradited to punish him for his crimes as the Black Tiger.

(Power Man and Iron Fist#82) - Brown hired Heroes for Hire, and their lawyer, Jeryn Hogarth, to defend him, due to their past experiences with Halwan. The Heroes traveled to Halwan, but Brown was duped into following them by a native of Halwan who had sent for them under Power Man II's name, and was captured. Brillalae led her army of zealots to attack the Royal Palace of Halwan, just before Hogarth negotiated for peace between the nations of Halwan and Murkatesh. She was wounded and subsequently unmasked by Brown, at which point she explained a little of the nature of the Black Tiger to him. She was carried back to Murkatesh by her army.

(Marvel Age Annual#1) - Someone wearing the Black Tiger costume was among the members of a short-lived Lethal Legion that attacked the Marvel Bullpen and fought a number of heroes.

Comments: Created by Bill Mantlo, Joe Staton, and Sonny Trinidad.

see Abraham Brown entry under the Sons of the Tiger in the OHotMU Deluxe edition for further info on him.

There is no evidence to prove that this the Black Tiger anything but a role assumed by a person possessing the qualities sought by the people of Murkatesh. It is conceivable that their religious furor actually creates a force which guides and drives the Black Tiger (similar to the Marauder of Team America and the Thunderiders). Whether Browns' memory loss was caused by the head trauma, or by the presence of another spirit within him, which then left him. Perhaps this spirit is what caused Brown to allow his self to be pulled into the role (by not reacting to the suitcase switch).

John Byrne has shown interest in the country of Halwan. Perhaps if he ever comes back to Marvel he can write a little clarification in the role of the Black Tiger during part of his Lost Generation series.

And yes, the story was in black and white. Brillalae as the Black Tiger was seen in color in PM/IF, but the better pictures come from the DHoKF stories.

As pointed out by Hans Holm, several of the Black Tiger's foes apperar to draw from Dick Tracy characters.
As discussed by Per Degaton: With the book Dick Tracy and American Culture by Garyn. G. Roberts in front of me, I can tell you this vis a vis these characters:
Table-Top recalls Flat Top. Flat Top, named after the aircraft carriers of the period, was modeled on Pretty Boy Floyd. From the Cookson Hills in Oklahoma, Flat Top debuted on December 25, 1943. He died in 1944.
   His brother Blowtop debuted on March 29, 1950. Flattop, Jr., his son, appeared in 1956. In 1977, Max Allan Collins created Angeltop, Flattop's daugther, in collaboration with strip creator Chester Gould.Also, in 1985, Max Allan Collins wrote a flashback story with Flattop, also involving Mr. and Mrs. Pruneface. This storyline has since been collected by Ken Pierce Books as Tracy's Wartime Memories.  
http://www.kenpiercebooks.com/tracy1.htm
Wrinkles recalls Pruneface from 1942-1943. His proper name was Boche, and he served the Third Reich. He died in February 1943 when Tracy and his helpers trapped Boche in an old house with no heat-the thermostat was broken-while Boche was clad only in a pair of flimsy pajamas. Boche fell prey to hypothermia as it was four degrees out. Boche had used lethal gas pellets in his arsenal.
   Boche's wife, Mrs. Pruneface, came to avenge her husband's death in 1943. She chained the policeman to the floor with the aid of her lackey Emil, and placed two melting blocks of ice on each side of the policeman, all the while a hot oven runs nearby accelerating the melting of the ice. On top of the ice they put place a board with a spike in it, with the spike positioned directly over Tracy's heart. There is also a refrigerator on top of the board with the spike in it. Tracy managed to save himself by bouncing on the floor enough so that the ice got jarred a few inches, placing the spike away from his heart, though he still had his skin and shirt ripped by it.
    Pruneface himself returned to life in 1985, when Max Allan Collins revealed that a scientist sympathetic to the Third Reich had acquired his frozen body and placed it in proper cryogenic preservation. Besides that, the flashback story previously noted revealed further information on Pruneface.
   Incidentally, in the Infinity Gauntlet, Nova actually calls Thanos Pruneface! How is that for a clarification!
The
Brow from the Dick Tracy comic strip appeared circa May 1944. He was an agent of the Third Reich assigned to keep a watch on shipyards. He is most notable for coercing two girls called the Summer Sisters into doing his dirty work for him with a special machine with a seat. This machine had a slow-moving spike that was set to penetrate a person's leg sideways if the machine was not turned off within a certain amount of time, such as sixteen minutes. The Brow used this machine by placing one of the sisters in the seat as a hostage, while the other got sent out to do errands. If the sister sent out to do errands tried to escape or go to the police or took too much time in her errands, the other sister's leg would get penetrated at the end of the sixteen minutes. The Brow died at the end of this story when he fell on a flagpole and hit it in such a way that he knocked off the cap on it and got impaled on its point. 
The
Mole appeared in the Dick Tracy strip in 1941. He had been apparently killed by his own gang in 1926 and dumped in the bay, but had actually survived. Unlike most Dick Tracy villains, he did not die at the end of his battle with the policeman. He lived underground, enjoyed tunneling and digging, and had a prominent nose.
Scatch recalls
Itchy Oliver from 1945, some of whose family members appeared in a 1983 storyline that artist Rick Fletcher died while

working on.
Incidentally, one other reference to Dick Tracy occurs at Marvel; in Master of Kung Fu#99, Rufus Carter defeats an enemy who has a two-way wrist radio and says, "What the -- ?! An honest to Dick Tracy wrist radio --!"
Tracy acquired his famous wrist radio circa 1945-1946.  

Another favorite Tracy memory; in the video to their song Rock The Casbah, one of the members of the Clash can be seen reading an oversized collection of Dick Tracy stories DC put out in the 1970's.
(Note that Tracy has otherwise never appeared in a DC comic, or ever appeared in a Marvel comic.)

And the tangents continue:
My favorite memory of Dick Tracy involves the Simpson...of course!
In a flashback, Flanders was a hyper-active, bad seed child. He's seenrunning around the room, smacking people, saying:
"I'm Dick Tracy. Take that, Pruneface!"
"Now I'm Pruneface. Take that, Dick Tracy!"
"Now I'm Prune Tracy. Take that..."

At which point the scene abruptly changes.
Now that's comedy!--Snood.

Mole's real name was revealed in the Sons of the Tiger profile in OHotMU A-Z HC#10.

Clarifications:
The Black Tiger has no real connection to the White Tiger, Hector Ayayla, who appeared simultaneously in the DHoKF series. You could do the Kevin Bacon thing and connect them, since Abe Brown was once a Black Tiger, Brown used to wear one of the Amulets of the Tiger, and the Amulets were later worn by the White Tiger.
    He also has no known connection to:

Mole has no connection with:

Scratch has no connection with:


Brillalae, which means "She Who Glistens," is a native of Murkatesh. She brought the costume of the Black Tiger to America, and chose Abe Brown as a potential candidate. She swapped suitcases with Brown, leaving him with the costume. She returned to Murkatesh and awaited his arrival, which apparently was fated. It was she who nursed Brown back to health after the plane crash and his gunshot wound. Following his defeat of the Mole, she appealed to the leaders of the army of zealots to accept him as the new Black Tiger. She explained the role and guided him in to it. Following his memory loss, Brillalae took over the role of the Black Tiger. She led her army to invade Halwan while Heroes for Hire and Brown were there, but Hogarth the lawyer for the Heroes, negotiated for peace between the two nations. Brillalae was shot in the shoulder during the battle in Halwan's Royal Palace. She dismissed the injury and derided Brown for failing her people before being carried off by her army.

--Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu#20/5 (24/4, 26, 29/3, 30, 32/3, [PM/IF#82(fb)], 81, 82

 

 

 







The Brow, Mole (Adam Pocock), Scratch, Table-Top, and Wrinkles were a group of criminals who sought to obtain the costume of the Black Tiger. They planned to either ransom it back to the people of Murkatesh or sell it to the highest bidder. It is not known if they were in the employ of any "larger" criminal. They had been following Brillalae, but learned of the switch of the suitcase to Abe Brown. They boarded the plane and staged a hijacking, at which point Tabletop tried to strangle Brown with a garrote and steal the suitcase. Brown made short work out of the group, although the Mole did give him somewhat of a struggle. However, in the process of fighting, both pilots were killed by Scratch. Brown stopped the plane from taking a nosedive, but it still crashed in the African desert, in Murkatesh. The Brow and Wrinkles were apparently killed in the crash. The Mole, thinking everyone had been killed made off with the suitcase. He shot Brown in the arm when he tried to follow, but the two were then captured by the religious army of Murkatesh. The two were forced to fight it out by the army for the rights to the costume. The Mole still had his gun, and the two were separated by a pit of vipers. The Mole shot at Brown who managed to spin and catch the bullet. The Mole was so surprised that he stepped forward and fell it into the pit, where the vipers killed him.





Scratch and Table-Top revived as well, and followed a distance behind the army. They figured the Mole had betrayed them, and planned to take the costume from either Brown or the Mole, whoever won the contest, after they had worn each other out. Their fate was unrevealed, but they probably either abandoned the idea rather than face the army, or were discovered and killed by them. I go for option #2.

All of the criminals were trained at armed and unarmed combat. The Mole was the largest and strongest, but also the most dim-witted of the group.

Appearances:
Brow--Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#21/5 (22/5, [23/4]);
Mole--Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#21/5 ([22/5], 23/4, 24/4, 26);
Scratch--Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#21/5 ([22/5], 23/4, 24/4);
Table-Top--Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#21/5 ([22/5], 23/4, 24/4);
Wrinkles--Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#21/5 ([22/5, 23/4]);
I don' think either of the guys in #20/5 were any of these five. The bald guy didn't have the brow to be the Brow, and the other guy had a scar.

 

 

 

 

 


Appearances:
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#20-21 (January-February, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), George Perez (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#22 (March, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Keith Giffen (pencils), Rico Rival (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#23 (April, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Rico Rival (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#24 (May, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Keith Giffen (pencils), The Tribe (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#26 (July, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Jim Sherman (pencils), The Tribe (inks), John Warner (editor)
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#29 (October, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sonny Trinidad & Ron Wilson (pencils), Sonny Trinidad, Rudy Mesina & Pete Lijauco (inks), John Warner (editor)
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#30 (November, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), George Perez (pencils), Sonny Trinidad (inks), John Warner (editor)
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu#32 (January, 1977) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Joe Staton (pencils), Sonny Trinidad & Michele Brand (inks), John Warner (editor)
Power Man and Iron Fist#81 (May, 1982) - Mary Jo Duffy (writer), Denys Cowan (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Power Man and Iron Fist#82 (June, 1982) - Mary Jo Duffy (writer), Denys Cowan (pencils), Carl Potts (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Marvel Age Annual I#1 (1985) - Jim Shooter (concept), Kurt Busiek (writer), James Fry (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Jim Salicrup (editor)


Last updated: 09/04/11

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