Real Name: Robert William "Bob" Paine
Identity/Class: Human, citizen of the USA (World War II era, late 1940's-1950s, pre-modern era)
Occupation: College professor (law), adventurer;
former espionage agent, soldier, and (possibly) lawyer
Group Membership: First Line (confirmed teammates Blackjack, Effigy, Eternal Brain/William Carmody, Firefall, Flatiron/Russell, Frank (see comments), Katyusha/Anya, Liberty Girl/Beverly, Major Mercury/Makkari, Mister Justice/Tim Carney, Nightingale, Oxbow, Pixie, Positron/Veronica, Rebound, Reflex, Templar, Vulcan, Yankee Clipper/Pat Carney; (see comments regarding other teammates/allies), US Army (retired)
Affiliations: Mary Carmody, Agent Colby, Dr. Stephen Strange, Jim Fitzpatrick, Gadfly (T. Ruth MacRae), Agent Groza, the Hipster/Captain Hip (Fred MacRae), Captain Edvard Hugo, Princess Khadijah, Cassandra Locke, Mako, Miriam (girlfriend), Monster Hunters (Ulysses Bloodstone, Dr. Druid/Anthony Ludgate, Namora/Aquaria Nautica Neptunia, Zawadi), Morph, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Riot-Act, Squire, Sunshine (Autumn MacRae), Thor Odinson, Venus (Aphrodite; see comments), Walkabout
(Luke Garrow), Jameel,
Kang the Conqueror (Nathaniel Richards), Nazi
party and the other Axis forces, President Richard Milhous Nixon,
Red Front, Rumor,
Skrull invasion forces, Yellow
Claw (Plan Chu), Fritz von Voltzmann (Karl von Horstbaden), Yeti
(see comments), Princess
formerly Blackjack, Positron, Dr. Schreiber, Venus (while she was mind-controlled by Rumor);
Captain Hip REALLY did not like him
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "R.W. Paine of Canadian Grains Ltd."
(covert identity used in Petralova), various unrevealed aliases during
his espionage days;
"B.F." (nickname given by Major Mercury), "Bobby" (nickname given by Pixie), "Fox" (abbreviation used by several people)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly "The Foxhole," beneath Foxwood Farms, outside Woodstock, Illinois;
formerly Northwestern University, Illinois;
formerly Carmody Institute, New England;
formerly First Line Headquarters, Colorado Rockies
Education: Jurisdoctor in law
First Appearance: Marvel: The Lost Generation I#12 (March 2000)
Powers/Abilities: The Black Fox possessed no known superhuman abilities. A superb athlete and hand-to-hand combatant, he was trained in several unrevealed forms of martial arts. Thanks to his spy training, he was an expert at infiltrating high security areas, such as the White House.
Initially starting out as a debonair adventurer, the loss of his intended wife-to-be Miriam turned the Black Fox into a hardened vigilante who waged a war on crime for decades. After Miriam's death, the Fox redesigned his costume to become more imposing, often relying on fear and intimidation rather than brute force, to get his way. His costume was outfitted with a rope line, allowing him to effortlessly swing from rooftops. He also carried canisters of sleeping gas to subdue his opponents along with other, unspecified equipment. He integrated brass knuckles into his gauntlets, considerably increasing the amount of pain and damage his punches inflicted.
In his later years, he retained much of his physical skills, in spite of being semi-retired for quite some time. The Black Fox was licensed to fly airplanes, specifically the Flying Fox, a custom made multipurpose stealth aircraft equipped with all-band communication, and other accessories. He carried a law degree, was a capable teacher, and spoke several languages, including Arabic. He apparently possessed reasonable mastery of an unspecified Far Eastern healing technique (though the Yankee Clipper dismissed this as "mumbo-jumbo"). The Black Fox was a confirmed smoker until at least 1969, though this was not seen to hamper his endurance.
Weight: 231 lbs.
Hair: Black, later gray and then white
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (fb)) - Born around 1920, Robert Paine joined the army during World War II as an intelligence operative, specializing in espionage. He went on numerous undercover missions deep behind enemy lines. During one of these operations, he located Rumor, one of Hitler's special elite operatives. Posing as a German soldier, Paine managed to infiltrate the castle Rumor was using as a base. Dropping in on the vocally-persuasive Nazi, Paine pulled his gun on him, ready to either kill or capture him. However, the quick-thinking Rumor managed to prevent getting either captured or shot by distracting Paine and jumping out a window and into the castle's moat.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#2 - BTS) - Following the war, the carefree, thrill-seeking Paine developed a costumed identity for himself and started fighting crime as the Black Fox. While mostly active around the Chicago area, where he resided at Foxwood Farms in his civilian identity, his exploits became known across the entire country. The Fox honed both his mind and his fighting skills by taking several trips to places and people he might learn from--for instance, he traveled to the Far East, where he mastered a healing technique unknown to Western medicine (see comments).
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#2 (fb) - BTS) - At an
unrevealed point during the 1950s, Robert Paine met a woman named
Miriam. The two fell in love, and Paine eventually trusted her with his
secret identity. By 1958, their relationship had developed to the point
Paine was ready to retire as the Black Fox--by then, at the age of 38,
he figured the time had come to start a family, and he bought a ring,
planning to propose.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#2 - BTS) - Before he could pop the question, the Fox was contacted by special agent Scott of the National Security Agency (NSA). Scott (secretly the Skrull Velmax) wanted the Fox to join him, Liberty Girl and the Yankee Clipper in an investigation of an unusual security breach at a Long Island research facility. The Fox agreed and traveled to Long Island, where he met Scott and the others. Together, they went on a stakeout of the building.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#2) - That night, the Monster Hunters arrived at the facility to investigate Dr. Druid's psychic emanations that hinted at a monster possibly being present. Mistaking them for enemies, the Black Fox cheerfully managed to get the drop on the athletic Wakandan warrior Zawadi, only to have her snatched from his arms moments later by NSA agent Mac Curry (secretly the Eternal Makkari). After a brief altercation, the two teams explained why they were there, after which a giant, monstrous creature burst out of the facility. Dodging the creature to avoid its claws, the Fox noticed that it began to glow after a while. He warned his teammate Liberty Girl to stay clear, figuring it might be radioactive; however, the creature reverted to human form as Dr. Schreiber. The Fox then joined the others inside the building, where they encountered a flying saucer (Velmax's crashed Skrull vessel) guarded by the mercenaries Blackjack and the Scythe. Annoyed at Blackjack for using a name so closely resembling his own, the Fox tackled the villain. Meanwhile, inside the Skrull saucer, Scott was hit with a bio-moleculizer, courtesy of his former commander Zuhn (also in human guise). The moleculizer's energies destabilized Velmax's form, briefly revealing his Skrullian traits before he lapsed into a coma. After the Scythe and Blackjack had been dealt with, Fox and the other heroes rushed Scott to Suffolk County General Hospital for treatment. When Scott's condition defied medical analysis, Fox offered to use a healing technique he'd learned in the Far East, only for the Yankee Clipper to overrule him and bring in a healer he'd recently met in the Caribbean.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#2 - BTS) - While the heroes waited around for the arrival of the Clipper's healer, the Black Fox received a call from his girlfriend Miriam in Chicago. She told him a costumed nut calling himself "Nocturne" was stirring up trouble. The Black Fox promised her he'd take care of the situation as soon as the current crisis was resolved.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#2) - When the healer arrived, Liberty Girl was more than a little curious about the origins of this "Florence Nightingale" (thereby indirectly coining her codename). The Fox noticed that the woman's voice sounded like several people speaking in unison; he then gently pushed the doctor out of the room, assuring him they'd take full responsibility for whatever was about to happen. With that, Nightingale went to work--she sensed an unnatural symmetry and great pain within Scott and proceeded to take it away, inadvertently causing Velmax to lose control over his shapeshifting again. After Nightingale had restored him, Velmax acted as if the blast from the moleculizer had given him shapeshifting abilities, thereby covering his Skrullian origin. Inspired by the encounter, Velmax took on the name Effigy (also coined by Liberty Girl) and joined her and the other heroes into forming the First Line. Only the Black Fox declined the invitation, telling the Clipper of his plans to retire and marry Miriam. Showing the ring he'd bought her, Fox revealed he was going to propose as soon as he'd stopped Nocturne. As he said good-bye to the Clipper and swung away on his rope line, Paine claimed he was planning to live happily ever after.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8 (fb)) - Arriving in Chicago to face Nocturne, the Black Fox severely underestimated his opponent's abilities. Nocturne toyed with the Fox for a while, eventually taking Miriam hostage. When the Fox tried to save his lover, Nocturne used his vampiric might to break both the Fox's legs. Still refusing to quit, the Fox crawled towards Nocturne, begging the villain to leave Miriam out of it and kill him instead. The sadistic foe refused the offer, preferring to have the Fox watch as he fed on Miriam--she did not survive.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#3 - BTS) - After Miriam's death, the Black Fox completely rededicated himself to his role as a crime-fighter. After his legs had healed, he redesigned his costume, adopting a far darker, grim visage that also matched his new outlook on life. By 1961, he had joined the First Line, but frequently operated on his own as well. During one of these solo missions, he traveled to San Francisco on the trail of the Yellow Claw and his associate Fritz von Voltzmann. There, he quickly located the Claw's hidden base in the Garment District.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#3) - After spotting the beatnik superhero Hipster and the Eternal Pixie fighting the Yellow Claw's men, the Black Fox grew annoyed at so many loose cannons running around and decided to call in the First Line for backup. Once the team arrived, he led them to the Claw's base. He told them to wait five minutes before following him in, which they did without question.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#3 - BTS) - While Black Fox went to find the Yellow Claw, the First Line, joined by the newly arrived Hipster, engaged the Claw's armored forces. Nightingale unwittingly treated the amnesiac Namor the Sub-Mariner, whom the Claw had pressed into his service, undoing the Claw's conditioning. Enraged at being used, Namor went to confront the Claw by himself.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#3) - Aware his forces were failing, the Claw threatened to detonate a pocket bomb powerful enough to kill everyone inside the base. The Black Fox swooped in and knocked the Yellow Claw away from the bomb; however, this set off a "dead man's switch" that caused the device to explode automatically. Black Fox quickly shot a rope line up to the rafters, grabbing von Voltzmann on the way, and rode the blast up and out of the building. More than a little tattered but alive, the Fox was pleased to learn the First Line and Hipster had survived as well, thanks to a surprise force field emanating from the Yankee Clipper's power belt (inadvertently activated by the time-traveling historian Cassandra Locke, who was present during the events and severely injured by the explosion as she continued to jump further into the past). In the aftermath, Black Fox told the Yankee Clipper he had caught a glimpse of someone who looked a lot like the Sub-Mariner. This greatly startled the Clipper, though he would not tell the Fox why (Namor's presence confirmed to the Clipper that this was the explosion that lethally wounded Locke back when he had met her in 1955).
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#4 - BTS) - By 1963, the Black Fox and the other First Liners had allowed Kid Justice (Tim Carney) to become a full fledged member of the First Line. Thinking himself particularly invulnerable during this period, the young hero was almost defeated by the mercenary Blackjack. This did little to reign in his ego however, which led the Black Fox to believe young Carney would probably be the team's first fatality.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#4) - On the morning of November 21st, 1963, the Black Fox was overseeing the overconfident Kid Justice during a training session inside the First Line's gym. Determined to teach the cocky teen a lesson, Fox adjusted the skill level of the team's training robot until it easily slapped Justice around. Planning to get back at the cowled vigilante, Justice figured he could sneak up behind him, only to get effortlessly struck down by his far more experienced teammate. His ego bruised, Justice ran out of the gym, passing Liberty Girl and Nightingale, who had come to discuss the empathic Nightingale's disturbing premonition of imminent danger and great loss. Gathering the team in the conference room, Nightingale revealed she felt something terrible was going to happen in the next 24 hours in Dallas, Texas. Considering the fact President John F. Kennedy was scheduled to speak there the next day, the First Line was on high alert.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#4 - BTS) - When wanted supercriminal Howler (Luke Garrow) accepted an offer from Texas industrialist Winget (secretly the Skrull Zuhn, who also posed as the polymorphic Chimera) to come to Dallas for a mission, he was spotted by the FBI, who immediately alerted the First Line. The team correctly figured Winget and Howler might target the local Stark Industries facility that held a new type of guidance system, so they planned an ambush there.(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#4) - Howler fell for the ambush at the Stark Industries plant and was attacked by Liberty Girl, who managed to escape evisceration thanks to the Black Fox swinging by and carrying her out of harm's way. After the Yankee Clipper managed to knock Howler out, Zuhn showed himself in his Chimera form. Shapeshifting to avoid the heroes, he found his path blocked by Liberty Girl, who somewhat over-confidently figured she could handle him; Chimera brutally lashed out with a swipe of his giant claw, wounding her beyond Nightingale's healing abilities. Moments after Liberty Girl was officially declared deceased, the arrival of the time-traveling Cassandra Locke caused the Yankee Clipper's power belt to flare out of control, sending him decades into his own future. Nightingale found herself standing between Locke and the Yankee Clipper when their identical time belts inadvertently interacted with one another and created a temporal feedback loop that sent both Locke and the Clipper bouncing through time. Nightingale, caught in the brunt of the temporal collision, was left a frantic, rambling mess, claiming she'd gained all the knowledge and secrets, but at a terrible price. Black Fox tended to the inconsolable empath, who continued on to say a living circuit had been made, rippling through all their lives, positively identifying the event as the source of her premonition. Even as Nightingale carried on about seeing so much unavoidable death with no turning back, lest more lives be lost, the Fox comforted the remaining members of the First Line until Effigy returned to inform them Chimera had dissolved away.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (fb) - BTS) - During the "Summer of Love" (1967), acting on a tip from Captain Hip and his partner Sunshine, Black Fox and the other members of the First Line decided to investigate a music festival hosted by Venus. Suspecting there might be mind-control at work, Pixie and Effigy joined Hip and Sunshine on a fact finding mission to the event; there, Sunshine fell prey to the mental persuasion of both Venus and Rumor, who was secretly adding his power to hers. While Hip went off to rescue his wife, only to be mind-controlled by Venus as well, Pixie learned of Rumor's involvement moments before running into the Asgardian thunder god Thor (who had been ordered to Earth by Odin to deal with the situation, as a lesson in humility).
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5) - Impatient and annoyed at being forced to wait around until Pixie and the others reported in, Black Fox lamented the fact Effigy had talked him into working with "those blasted hippies." Revealing he suspected his old enemy, the Nazi Rumor, might be involved, the Fox was interrupted by a gigantic mind-controlled mob running through the streets, led by Sunshine and Hip. Confused at what to do, the First Line's childlike powerhouse Frank was calmed by Mr. Justice, who in turn was surprised to see the Black Fox had disappeared to parts unknown. Taking charge, Justice led the First Line outside to help control the mob, with help from the newly-returned Pixie and Thor.The Fox was already outside, dealing with the situation by using sleep gas on the mob. He then faced Sunshine, who almost beat him with her psychedelic light-show; using his final bit of resolve, the Fox managed to knock her out. Seeing his wife attacked sent Captain Hip into a rage, causing the lightning-quick beatnik to hit the still groggy Fox with a flurry of kicks and punches. Thor separated the two combatants with a lightning bolt that stunned Hip (and also released him from his trance). When Rumor and Venus entered the fray, they soon turned both Thor, Frank and the crowd against the team. Luckily, Effigy and the Black Fox were able to disable the Nazi's vocal cords, an act that immediately released everyone who had fallen prey to his persuasive powers. In the aftermath, Justice watched as Thor rather brusquely rejected Black Fox's invitation to join the First Line and flew off, declaring he had carried out Odin's orders, and now Asgard's mead houses awaited him.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#6 (fb) - BTS) - In the mid-1960s, the Black Fox went on an undercover mission to the Soviet Union. He was ordered to infiltrate Star City, the nerve center of the communist's cosmonaut (space) program. There, he met the woman calling herself Katyusha, who had received superpowers through the Soviet space program. The Fox managed to convince her to defect to the United States. He allowed her to temporarily stay with him at Foxwood Farms, where it soon became apparent they were attracted to each other.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8 (fb) - BTS) <Late-1960s> - While investigating a haunted mansion, the Black Fox met the mystic Dr. Stephen Strange. Together, they presumably resolved the situation (see comments).
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#6) - On July 16, 1969,
Katyusha and the Black Fox watched the launch of the Apollo 11 Moon
mission from Paine's home in Woodstock, Illinois. Grateful for his
assistance, the passionate Katyusha initiated a romantic interlude,
which caused the two to miss the First Line's mission to the Moon.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#7 (fb) - BTS) - When the British hero Templar joined the First Line, he became fast friends with the Black Fox. They grew so close that Templar eventually asked Fox to be the best man at his wedding.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#7) - In the early-1970s, President Richard Nixon announced plans to send the First Line against his political enemies. When undersecretary Scott (secretly Effigy/Velmax) attempted to change Nixon's mind, the President blatantly stated that the team either cooperated or he'd revoke their security clearances and privileges. At that moment, the Black Fox entered the Oval Office to tell Nixon off, saying to his face he was sick of both him and his lies.
Later that day, the Fox (as Paine) met up with Scott, who still couldn't believe he'd dared to speak to the President like that. The Fox repeated his earlier statements, wondering if Effigy could replace Nixon (see comments). When his shape-shifting teammate refused, the Black Fox angrily claimed that Effigy was the only one of them on the inside--either he stopped "Tricky Dick" or the Fox would do it himself (not too long after that, Effigy made a conscious decision to change his voice and contact Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, revealing classified information that would lead to the Watergate scandal and the eventual downfall of Richard Nixon).
The next day, the Black Fox attended Templar's wedding in his civilian guise. He was startled to learn the British hero was planning to retire and start a family, even promising his blade to fellow First Liner Vulcan. Having Templar leave the business only strengthened the Fox's resolve to soldier on and never retire, even if he had to go underground. He then accompanied Dare and his bride Rossalyn into the church, ready to perform his duties as best man.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#7 - BTS) - Following his confrontation with the Black Fox, Nixon planned to send the FBI after the vigilante on a trumped up charge. He was dissuaded from doing so by Scott, but even the undersecretary couldn't prevent Nixon from ending all federal authorization for the First Line, effectively turning the team into outlaws.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8 (fb) - BTS) - After several, undocumented run-ins with Black Fox and the First Line, the Fox's archenemy Nocturne was presumed dead. However, sometime in the mid-to-late-1970s, American intelligence agencies learned of his continued survival. Agents were monitoring presumed criminal Ionel Ceausescu and noticed him meeting with someone who did not appear on film. Nocturne had contacted Ionel to gain information on the location of Diablo's castle, hidden somewhere in Eastern Europe. Figuring the master alchemist's knowledge might restore a semblance of his humanity, Nocturne hoped to gain access to Diablo's research. Once he reached Diablo's castle, Nocturne encountered the villain locked away in a dungeon in his own lab. He was able to resist Diablo's powers of suggestion, possibly because of his similar gifts, and started to modify the lab's equipment to concoct the potion he needed. After an unrevealed amount of time, he was successful in his endeavors and used the brew to become more human than he had been in quite some time. In order to cover his tracks, he attacked and killed intelligence agent Groza, using his five-pronged draining device. Figuring himself safe, he wasn't aware that in America, security agent Colby had called in the First Line.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8) - While on patrol over Chicago in the Flying Fox, the Black Fox spotted a young hippie family about to get mugged. Dropping in on the scene, the Fox easily took care of the criminals, which fascinated the young girl Truth, but angered her mother Autumn, and particularly her father Fred (actually the Fox's former associates Captain Hip and Sunshine). Fred started yelling at the Fox, calling him "Dirty Harry in a cape and cowl who probably voted for Nixon." Unwilling to discuss this in detail, the Fox called down his plane's rope ladder and left the scene, all the while wondering why the old hippie seemed so familiar.
Returning home to Foxwood Farms, he was
pleasantly surprised to see Pixie. The First Liner told him she'd been
checking security on the First Line's former hideaway in the Rockies.
During her routine check, she got a call from agent Colby who requested
their presence. The Fox agreed to go to Washington D.C. with Pixie to
meet with Colby. Once there, they were shown the footage of Ionel
meeting with an invisible man, which confirmed the Fox's suspicions that
Nocturne was back. Overcome with the grim resolve to keep hounding him
until he held his heart in his hand, the Fox agreed to travel to the
Romanian town of Petralova to meet with Colby's contact, field agent
Groza. Worried about her teammate, Pixie decided to tag along.
Arriving in Petrova, the Fox and Pixie went to meet Groza, only to find him dead in his hotel room, with Nocturne's signature five-mark puncture wounds in his neck. The two heroes were then nearly arrested by Captain Edvard Hugo of the Home Militia, who suspected they were responsible for murdering Groza. The Fox tried to convince Hugo that he and Pixie were actually working for a Canadian grain company, with little success--luckily, Dr. Strange arrived to vouch for them. Catching up at a local cafe, the trio exchanged information, with Strange revealing he had sensed portents indicating someone might be tampering with Diablo's tomb. Quickly deducing Nocturne was the one responsible, the three rushed to Castle Diablo.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8 - BTS) - Pixie was the
first to gain access to the laboratories inside Castle Diablo. Impressed
by the bizarre collection of 19th century technologies, she was ill
prepared to resist the sway of Diablo, who called her from his prison,
demanding she free him. Nocturne intervened at the last minute, forcing
Pixie to obey his superior will instead. He used his hypnotic abilities
to tie the super-strong Eternal to a table using ordinary ropes,
explaining to her that he was in fact a true member of the undead,
dispelling the long-held belief among the First Line that he was merely
playing the part of a vampire. As he enjoyed a drink of blood from a
nearby mason jar, he pointed out to Pixie that he used his five-pronged
blood siphon to ensure he wouldn't create more vampires, claiming that
he didn't need the competition. However, he did consider turning Pixie,
figuring the irony of the First Line being forced to hunt down and kill
one of their own amused him.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8) - Before he could strike, the Black Fox swooped in and stabbed Nocturne through the heart with a wooden stake, in hopes of killing him. Momentarily stunned, Nocturne quickly got up and pulled out the weapon, explaining that it only served to trap a vampire in his coffin, not kill him. He was about to tear into the Black Fox, who'd just freed Pixie, when the newly arrived Dr. Strange attempted to kill Nocturne by exposing the vampire to the purifying light of the all-seeing. Much to everyone's surprise, Diablo's potions had removed Nocturne's vampiric weakness to direct sunlight. Boasting that he had regained enough humanity to withstand the light of day, he grabbed Pixie and planned to snap her neck. The quick thinking Pixie used her dust on him, reasoning that the villain just might be vulnerable to her powers now. Nocturne was shocked to find most of his lower right arm was petrified. In the confusion, Pixie slipped away, leaving Nocturne wide open for the Black Fox, who happily tore into his old foe. Realizing he was vulnerable, Nocturne transmuted into his mist-form and slipped away. However, he couldn't control his still petrified right arm, which fell off and was picked up by Pixie--she assured the Black Fox his archenemy would be back, because he needed his lost limb.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#9 - BTS) - Around 1980, Halwan's ruler Princess Zafina ordered her troops to capture three American diplomats stationed in her country. In response, US officials sent Mr. Justice to liberate the hostages; however, en route to Halwan, his experimental jet was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz. This led undersecretary Scott (Effigy/Velmax) to assemble a new incarnation of the First Line. Scott invited the Black Fox and several other former First Liners to gather at the Carmody Institute off the coast of Maine.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#9) - Black Fox and the others agreed to Scott's proposal to go into Halwan and rescue Mr. Justice. They were unaware that the First Line's presence in Halwan was actually meant as a diversion (so that CIA agent Nick Fury and a team of covert agents could carry out Operation: Clean Sweep to free the hostages). The Fox decided to travel to Halwan in a revamped jet-version of the Flying Fox. Once several First Liners had managed to covertly enter the Halwan royal palace to free Mr. Justice, Black Fox distracted the palace guards by launching a section of the Flying Fox dolled up to look like an escape pod. While the guards blasted the false cockpit, he took them out from behind, leading the religious forces to call him "Satan".
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#9 - BTS) - While fighting to free Mr. Justice (who by that time had already managed to free himself and was en route to Israel), Blackjack was killed by the Halwani hereditary hero Scimitar, disemboweled beyond Nightingale's restorative powers.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#9) - Their mission a costly failure, the Fox and the other First Liners traveled to Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion medical center to see Mr. Justice, who was being treated by the newly-defected Halwan Doctor Khadijah. Black Fox, however, was more concerned with the fact Effigy and the government had set them up, using the team merely as a diversion. Outraged over this incident and the fact it had cost a man's life, the Black Fox quit the First Line moments after Nightingale finished saving Mr. Justice from permanent injury. Watching him go, Pixie wondered what would become of the First Line without him, claiming the Fox had been the conscience of the team ever since the Clipper "died".
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#11 - BTS) - After the Halwan mission, Paine retired his Black Fox persona and decided to embark on a new career as a teacher. He became a pre-law professor at Illinois's Northwestern University where he successfully taught for many years. In recent times, one of his students was T.Ruth MacRae (daughter of erstwhile First Line allies Captain Hip and Sunshine). All the while, he kept some of his former associates in the First Line close, even learning that the eternally young Pixie was actually a member of the Eternals, an immortal offshoot of mankind.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#1 - BTS) - Following his forced time-jump after encountering Cassandra Locke (and her identical time belt) in 1963, the Yankee Clipper reappeared in mid-1980s Manhattan. Moments after realizing where and when he was, he ran into his brother Tim, now operating as the battle hardened Mr. Justice. After a brief, emotionally explosive reunion, Justice decided to take his brother to see Robert Paine.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#1) - During their meeting at Paine's place, the trio concluded the power belt also had the ability to transport people through time. Justice suggested the best thing to do was send Pat back to 1963, an idea the Clipper didn't consider possible or desirable--for one, he didn't know how to operate the belt, nor could he predict how going back would alter history. Paine reminded them of Nightingale's warning after he'd vanished: "There's no turning back... lest even more lives be lost." Justice then tried to get the Yankee Clipper to make a comeback, figuring it might bring the First Line back to its former glory. The Clipper dismissed that idea as well, claiming he was nowhere near ready to do that. Instead, he opted to go to their parents' old cabin in the woods to figure his new life out. The Black Fox assured Tim that his brother wouldn't be alone (The Fox had contacted Pixie, who took the Clipper to stay with the Eternals to help him adapt).
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#11) - T.Ruth attended one of Professor Paine's lectures, but had very little attention for his talk on Chief Justice John Marshall. Instead, she was using her portable television to monitor CNN reports of the First Line's fight against an unknown menace threatening New York (Nocturne and his Alchem-Tech virus). So entranced by the possibility of the Black Fox showing up, she didn't notice Professor Paine walking up to her to snatch the set away. Explaining to Paine that she wasn't watching some soap-opera, she then wondered out loud why the Black Fox wasn't there, seeing as it seemed like his kind of fight. In response, Paine turned away from her and claimed that the hero was either dead or retired, since no one had seen him in years. However, this strengthened T.Ruth's resolve to find a way to lure the Fox out of hiding.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#12 - (fb) - BTS) - Determined to get the Black Fox's attention, T.Ruth adopted the costumed identity of Gadfly and started causing unrevealed mischief in the Chicago area. Eventually, she managed to draw out her semi-retired idol, which led to a series of playful encounters that apparently always ended with her escaping.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#12 - BTS) - When news of an imminent Skrull invasion reached the Black Fox, he rejoined the First Line. Gadfly decided to tag along as the heroes and their allies went out into space to confront the aliens aboard the armada's flag ship. Encountering heavy resistance from the Skrull troops, the First Line and their allies soon found themselves outnumbered and outmatched. The Black Fox and Effigy tried to reach the ship's main control systems in order to activate the self-destruct. En route, Fox sacrificed himself, drawing fire from three Skrull soldiers to allow Effigy to continue on--severely injured, he still managed to escape his assailants and secure the hatch behind him.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#12) - Oxbow and Pixie found the Fox slumped over in a corridor after they blew the hatch, looking for Effigy. Explaining what had happened to him, the Black Fox ordered his two teammates to continue on and help Effigy. Shortly after they left, Gadfly happened to pass by and spotted the by-now dying Fox. During his final moments, Paine told his semi-nemesis he didn't have the strength to fight her anymore. Gadfly rushed to explain all she ever wanted to achieve was for him to notice her. Pulling back his mask, she was shocked to learn her idol had been her old professor all along. With tears in her eyes, she held her beloved and intimately kissed him while he passed on. So engrossed by the experience, Gadfly did not notice the arrival of several Skrull soldiers, who unceremoniously shot her in the back, apparently incinerating both of them in the process.
Comments: Created by Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks).
If you ever wondered how Batman would have turned out if he'd been a Marvel creation... Meet the Black Fox, as close a copy of Gotham City's capital crime-fighter as you can get without being sued by DC. Still, the Fox was intended to be a loving tribute. His civilian name, Bob Paine, is an obvious salute to the caped crusader's co-creator Bob Kane. It was nice to see Stern and Byrne play with the conventions of the Batman genre. The fact he had to watch his would-be fiancé get killed to really dedicate himself to fighting evil mirrors Batman's origin story. Add to that the Batcave-esque Foxhole underneath Paine's "stately manor", not to mention the fact he mainly protected a single city (Chicago, a Gotham by any other name). And let's not forget all the the high-end Bat-... I mean Fox-themed gadgets and equipment he used. He even had his own pale-faced nemesis in the vampire Nocturne (and later Gadfly), though Nocturne wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs like the Joker. All that was missing was a Robin-type sidekick, an issue that Stern addressed when he had the Fox wonder if he should have taken on a protégé, only to dismiss the notion outright, figuring he'd probably turn out all screwed up anyway.
While the healing technique the Fox mastered in the Far East during the 1950s was considered mumbo-jumbo by the Yankee Clipper, it might account for the fact he remained so vital and in shape in later years. Given Marvel's sliding timescale, the Fox was at least 80 when he died--not many octogenarians can say they passed on while fighting three armed Skrull soldiers...
Black Fox is one of the
characters whose chronology suffers from attaching the First Line to
"just before the Modern era." At the time of the Marvel: The Lost
Generation series, the fight against the Skrull fleet would have
occurred just shy of 1990, when Black Fox would have been just a little
shy of 70 years old. Now (as 2014), with the sliding timescale, he would
have been in his early-80s, which starts to stretch credibility; though,
at least in Black Fox's case, he does at least have the healing
technique deal that could have kept him physically young and vital
despite his physical age; Gadfly suffers even more so...The dates become increasingly problematic as
the sliding timescale rolls on...I guess we need a sequel!
C'mon...Stern and Byrne...or any other lovers of continuity.
Ultimately, my vote would be to make the interactions with Reed Richards and Ben Grimm as being topical (just like them being shown to have been active in World War II in early Marvel stories was shown to be)
Black Fox's request to have Effigy replace Nixon was presumably a reference to the 3-D-Man story in Marvel Premiere#37, circa 1958, in which the Skrull Zirksu (aka Diabolik) impersonated Nixon, who was then the vice-president of the USA. A Skrull also impersonated Nixon in Reality-9904, a reality in which 3-D Man had been part of a group of Avengers in the 1950s (counterparts to Reality-616's Department Zero, the original name for what would become the Agents of Atlas, neither of which included the 3-D Man as a member).
Stern and Byrne got the inspiration for
Doctor Strange and the Black Fox's first meeting from the haunted house
story in Strange Tales I#120.
In that particular issue, that haunted house turned out to be the House
Stephen Strange's car accident occurred around 1963 (way before the sliding timescale), and so his encounter occurred "longer than the Fox cared to remember" between that time and their reunion in Lost Generation#8, which seemed to have occurred in the mid-1970s.
The story in Lost Generation#9 occurred in or after 1980 due to the involvement of the Eternal Brain. See his profile for further details.
We have only listed confirmed teammates under First Line membership. He may well have been teammates with other members, possibly rejoining the team for short periods, or else and/or other former First Line members could have worked with him or the rest of the team on one or more occasions during his period of activity. Similarly, any of the teams' major enemies not seen to have interacted with any member may have done so in an untold adventure. Other known members he was not seen to be teammates with include:
Black Fox received profiles in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Golden Age (2004) and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover#1 (2008), and it's updated, softcover version in 2011.
As Norvo pointed out to me, the Black Fox or someone looking just like him (just to the left of the text box) appeared in the big battle scene in Avengers Forever#12, in which various "good" past or future and/or alternate reality Avengers fought Avengers-gone bad from various timelines, etc. If this was the Black Fox, then at least one of his alternate reality counterparts may have been an Avenger...or, more intriguingly, perhaps the Black Fox-616 was a member of the Avengers of the 1950s...or of the group formed in the 1970s (spoilers...but it's already on the internet in interviews...), both of which are unrelated to the Agents of Atlas.
The Rumor profile in
Thor: Asgard's Avenger, erroneously notes the Venus who was involved
with Rumor to have been the siren. The Venus/Aphrodite/goddess profile
in her Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry confirms this to
have been the goddess. The Rumor entry is in error.
Additionally, it's not
clear whether Frank from the First Line is definitely the Frankenstein
monster or not. The First Line and Frankenstein Monster profiles
in the OHotMU are contradictory in this regard, with the former saying
they are the same and the latter saying it is "unknown."
As the head writer of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe at that time, I can tell you, the official policy is: Frank of the First Line is apparently either a Frankenstein monster - meaning a creature created in the manner of Victor Frankenstein's first creation - or just a being with a similar appearance and abilities who adopted the name Frank due to the notable similarities. However, it as yet remains unrevealed whether Frank is actually the original creation of Victor Frankenstein, aka "the Frankenstein monster." Previous entries referencing Frank as "Frankenstein monster" were unclear in specifying/clarifying this point.
Profile by Norvo.
The Black Fox (Robert Paine) should not be confused with
The Flying Fox
The Flying Fox is the name of several aircraft the Black Fox used over the years in his fight against crime. One of them was a modified helicopter jet that could easily accelerate up to half the speed of sound. Like all helicopters, this Flying Fox could hover, and was equipped with an automated system which released a rope-line should the Fox need to return to the craft in a hurry. A second Flying Fox was quite similar in design, but more based on a jet fighter. The plane was outfitted with stealth technology that made it virtually invisible to radar and, according to the Fox, slightly better than state-of-the-art. It also contained a detachable section that could be launched as a distraction; the section resembled an escape pod, complete with false cockpit. It's not been revealed who designed, created or maintained the Flying Foxes.
-- Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8, Marvel: The Lost Generation I#9
The Black Fox operated out of the Foxhole, an underground base located beneath Foxwood Farms, his Woodstock, Illinois residence. The cavernous Foxhole contained sophisticated computer and lab equipment the Fox used. It was large enough to comfortably house all his vehicles and planes, chief among them the Flying Fox. The base could be accessed via a hidden passage inside Foxwood Farms, or through a large, nearby barn that served as an elevator pad for the different incarnations of the Flying Fox.
-- Marvel: The Lost Generation I#6, Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8
Sometime during the 1950s, the woman known only as Miriam met and fell in love with the Black Fox (Robert Paine). During the course of their relationship, Miriam learned her lover's secret identity, and she actively started helping him fight criminals by supplying the Fox with intelligence. In 1958, she informed her lover about an upstart costumed criminal in Chicago calling himself Nocturne. While the Black Fox was trying to capture him, Nocturne kidnapped Miriam and held her hostage, forcing a showdown with the Fox. During the fight, the Black Fox severely underestimated the power of his opponent when Nocturne broke both his legs. Unable to defend her, he was forced to watch as Nocturne killed Miriam before his eyes. She died when the vampire drained her blood (using his special five-pronged draining device to prevent his victims from becoming vampires too). Miriam left this world unaware Paine was about to ask her to marry him and retire his Black Fox persona altogether.
-- Marvel: The Lost Generation I#2 (BTS), Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8 (fb)
images: (without ads)
Marvel The Lost Generation I#1, pg. 21, panel 2 (unmasked circa 1985);
#2, p22, pan6 (1958 costume)
#3, p14, pan5 (main image, 1961 costume);
p20, pan4 (fighting Yellow Claw)
#6, p4, panel 4 (unmasked, kissing Katysusha);
#7, p10, pan3 (stares down Richard Milhous Nixon)
#8, p8, pan1 (Flying Fox I);
pg. 9, panel 1 (unmasked, late 1970s);
p17, pan3 (Miriam)
p20, pan3 (tossed around by Nocturne);
#9, p17, pan3 (is not Satan)
#11, pg. 7, panel 5 (unmasked, law professor);
#12, p12, pan4 (dies)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#12 (March 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#11 (April 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#9 (June 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#8 (July 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#7 (August 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#6 (September 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#5 (October 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#4 (November 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#3 (December 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#2 (January 2001) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#1 (February 2001) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
First Posted: 03/23/2014
Last updated: 09/27/2019
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Characters