Classification: Terrestrial flora; possibly Deviant mutate (see comments) (1950s era)

Location/Base of Operations: A jungle in the Congo, Africa

Known Members: Inapplicable

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Jann (Jane Hastings), Pat Mahoney, "Higgins" (see comments), Hob

First Appearance: Jann of the Jungle#16/5 (April, 1957)

Powers/Abilities: Somewhat resembling an orchid flower , the Black Orchid was a large, approximately 15' long, carnivorous plant.  At its center, it had a 2-foot long spear-like "fang" which it could shoot at its prey; the poisonous "fang" would cause paralysis and eventual death unless it was quickly removed.  After it launched its "fang," it took an unknown period of time to grow a new one.  Presumably, the Black Orchid would stun its prey with its "fang," then use its animated petals to pull it into its center for digestion (see comments).

There was also a smaller variety of black orchid with similar attributes.

History: (Jann of the Jungle#16/5 (fb) - BTS) - The origin of this variety of Black Orchids is unknown (see comments), but they grew in the jungles of the Congo, where the deadly plants gained a reputation amongst the inhabitants of the area.

(Jann of the Jungle#16/5) - Pat Mahoney was on a "photographic safari," taking pictures of African wildlife, and Jann accompanied him to prevent him from stumbling into trouble--she had just saved him from being bitten by a poisonous snake. Suddenly, a native tribesman named Hula came staggering up to them, begging for help--he had a 6-inch poison quill stuck in his chest, which Jann recognized as the "fang of the Black Orchid".  Jann pulled the poison spine out and Hula recovered.  The Black Orchid had never been photographed, so (despite Jann's warning) Pat was determined to find it ("I'll make a mint if I get a picture of it!") even if he had to find it himself.  Hula pointed Pat in the general direction, and the photographer trekked through the jungle (with Jann stealthily following him, swinging through the trees, to keep him out of danger).  But "Higgins" and Hob were nearby and overheard Pat when he mentioned how valuable a picture of the Black Orchid would be, and they figured the actual plant itself would be worth even more; they also followed Pat, intending to grab the rare flower for themselves after he found it.

   Pat eventually came upon the Black Orchid, and as he stood before the huge flower, adjusting his camera, the Black Orchid shot its spear-like "fang" at him; but Jann (overhead in the tree branches) jumped down and pulled Pat out of the way, just as the "fang" flew past the photographer and hit Hob in his chest.  Hob staggered forward and fell, paralyzed from the poison, begging for help.  Jann pulled the "fang" out and reassured Hob that the poison would seep out and he would be alright.  Just then, "Higgins" stepped out with his gun drawn, thanking Pat for leading him to the Black Orchid--now he wouldn't have to share any profits with Hob.  "Higgins" tied a vine around the Black Orchid and tried to pull the gigantic flower out of the ground, and Jann told Pat to get his camera ready because he was about to get a picture of a "man-eating orchid".  "Higgins" suddenly found himself engulfed by the Black Orchid's petals, and as he cried for help, Jann and Pat came to the rescue, pulling the ebony petals from him and freeing the nefarious man from the giant flower. 

   After having saved "Higgins," Pat wondered why the Black Orchid's "fang" was so big when the one that hit Hula was tiny, and Jann pointed out a smaller variety of black orchid growing nearby, which was actually the one that Hula had found.

Comments: Created by Don Rico (writer), Al Williamson (artist), and Ralph Mayo (inker)

The Black Orchid didn't have any "mouth" or "teeth," so my guess is that it would digest its prey similarly to a venus fly-trap.

There really aren't any giant "man-eating" plants like this in nature (I hope!), so where did the Black Orchid come from?  Per Marvel Atlas#2's profile on the Congo, Deviant scientists were known to experiment there, so maybe the Black Orchid was some bio-engineered form of plant life they created. 

Some time earlier, Jann had gone on a quest for an entirely different and more beneficial variety of black orchid; for further details on it, and other potential Deviant handiwork, see "Guardian of the Black Orchid".

In regards to "Higgins": This character was never actually identified, but since he played a fairly major role in this short 5-page story, and I didn't feel like continuously typing "Unidentified man," I arbitrarily named him "Higgins" (which is subject to change) because, with his thin mustache, I thought he looked a little like the character portrayed by actor John Hillerman on the old TV series Magnum, P.I.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

  The Black Orchids have no known connections to:

"Higgins" has no known connections to:

Hob has no known connections to:

"Higgins" and Hob

Two criminally-inclined men armed with handguns, the mustached "Higgins" and red-haired Hob were in the jungles of the Congo for undisclosed reasons.  They spied upon the jungle-girl Jann and photographer Pat Mahoney when the two were conversing about a rare Black Orchid flower.  When they overheard Pat mention the money he could make by just getting a picture of the flower, they figured the actual flower itself would be even more valuable, so they secretly followed Pat as he searched for the plant.

   But when Pat finally came upon the Black Orchid, Hob was hit in the chest by the huge flower's poison "fang"; fortunately, Jann was there to pull out the spear-like projectile.  "Higgins" later found himself trapped in the Black Orchid's petals, but Jann and Pat freed him before he was digested by the monstrous man-eating plant.

--Jann of the Jungle#16/5

Smaller black orchid

Similar to the larger Black Orchid, it grew in a tree near the larger variety.  It had a 6-inch poison "fang," which it launched at Hula, a native tribesman.

--Jann of the Jungle#16/5

images: (without ads)
Jann of the Jungle#16/5, p3, pan5 (Black Orchid, Pat Mahoney in foreground)
Jann of the Jungle#16/5, p3, pan6 (Black Orchid shooting "fang" at Pat Mahoney)
Jann of the Jungle#16/5, p5, pan4 ("Higgins" engulfed by Black Orchid's petals)
Jann of the Jungle#16/5, p2, pan7 ("Higgins" and Hob)
Jann of the Jungle#16/5, p5, pan6 (small black orchid in foreground; Jann, "Higgins" and Pat standing in front of Black Orchid) 

Jann of the Jungle#16/5 - Don Rico (writer), Al Williamson (artist), Ralph Mayo (inker)

Last updated: 07/23/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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