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
Group membership: Penance Corps
Affiliations: The people of Murkatesh;
El Aguila, Crime-Buster, "Joseph Duffy" (assumed identity of Gerry Kammill), Professor Gamble, Iron Fist (Daniel Rand), Power Man (Luke Cage/Carl Lucas), Thunderbolt (William Carver)
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 emigrants, 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'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.
(Power Man & Iron Fist II#2 (fb) - BTS) - Black Tiger,
along with el Aguila, Black Tiger, Crime-Buster, Professor Alphonse Gamble and
Thunderbolt, was approached by Penance Corp founder Muhammed Zebari.
Hoping to have some costumed heroes on the board of directors of his
new private prison company, Zebari offered them all positions.
Thunderbolt and the others accepted.
(Power Man & Iron Fist II#1 - BTS) - Black Tiger posed for a picture with el Aguila, Crime-Buster, and Professor Alphonse Gamble while touring one of the facilities run by Penance Corp.
(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.
Having Thunderbolt and Crime-Buster as fellow board
members of the Penance Corp in 2011's Power
Man & Iron Fist limited series poses a bit of a continuity
conundrum. Carver died in Power Man
& Iron Fist I#62, while Crime-Buster didn't make his first
appearance until 1984's Power Man
& Iron Fist I#105. In fact, the man who would eventually
become Crime-Buster was still serving a 30 year prison sentence in
Louisiana when the Thunderbolt was active. It might have been the second
Thunderbolt who served with Crime-Buster and the other vigilantes,
even though he wasn't created until 1991.
Add to that writer Fred van Lente pointing out that all the vigilantes he had working for the Penance Corp were in fact established Power Man & Iron Fist characters.
Is it not just possible that Crime-Buster was active more early than when he first appeared? He escaped from prison, and I don't see why that has to be later than Thunderbolt's death.--Snood
I got the distinct impression that their involvement working for Penance Corp was intended by Fred van Lente to have taken place AFTER their appearances in the original PM&IF series. Obviously that's problematic for the deceased Thunderbolt, but if it wasn't for that concern I don't think anyone would hesitate to have placed the various heroes' involvement later in their careers.
I can see a few options to make it all fit:
The Penance Corp membership took place early, as stated in Thunderbolt's entry. After his demise, the others left PC for a while, so they were all freelance (as depicted in their original appearances - CB is definitely not a board member with PC in his first appearance) when Luke and Danny met them, and then went back to work for PC later. Workable, but messy.
The tour of the facilities and group photo took place earlier, but there was a sizeable gap before anyone took up the offer of employment. Thunderbolt never actually joined, despite any misphrasings by the others that might have suggested he did. Again, viable but messy, as the whole reason why PC said they were willing to take on someone like Crime-Buster was because they were a start-up when they asked him and couldn't afford to be choosy - if there'd been a gap between the offer and the acceptance long enough to fit in 80+ issues of PM(&IF), by the time he decided to take up the offer they'd have no longer been so desperate.
It was after PM & IF's series ended. The Thunderbolt present was (a) the second one; (b) the original somehow resurrected (hardly unusual these days); (c) the original out of his proper place in time (plausible given Prof. Gamble's presence).
I personally think 3 is the best bet, with (b) being a personal preference (I liked the original Thunderbolt), but with (a) probably being the more feasible, least convoluted option.
Interesting theories, I especially like the Professor Gamble time travel idea. Still, it made me think of a fourth:
4. It was established that Justin Hammer used his business connections to acquire the Thunderbolt costume after Carver's death. It's not been revealed who he bought it from, but... If we agree that the Penance Corp started after the PM&IF series ended, it might be possible its founder Zebari got his hands on the costume and simply hired someone to wear it for publicity.
After all, the Thunderbolt was a remarkably popular and beloved vigilante (in the inner cities, at least) whose death was never made public. That'd make him an ideal token/spokesperson/source of credibility.
With his business up and running and with sufficient real vigilantes on board, Zebari could have decided to "retire" the Thunderbolt, selling the outfit to Hammer.
As pointed out by Hans
Holm, several of the Black Tiger's
foes appear 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
Power Man & Iron Fist II#1 (April, 2011) - Fred van Lente (writer), Wellinton Alves (pencils), Nelson Pereira (inks), Tom Brennan (editor)
Last updated: 01/11/15
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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