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Real Name: Rufus Grendle

Identity/Class: Normal human (late 1940s era)

Occupation: Criminal

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Martin (butler), two henchmen, Organizers

Enemies: Blackstone, Rhoda Brent, Tom Jenkins, Roy Lytton, police (Chief Bailey, others)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Center City, USA

First Appearance: Blackstone the Magician#2/6 (May, 1948)

Powers/Abilities: Rufus Grendle was a wealthy but greedy socialite. He wore a monocle over his left eye, indicating partial visual impairment. As the costumed criminal the Orchid, he used a canister of (combustible) orchid gas strapped to his back that he could project via a hose to knock out victims and wipe their recent memories.

Height: 5'10" (by approximation)
Weight: 175 lbs. 9by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Auburn


(Marvel Knights - Spider-Man#9 (fb)) - Soon after World War II, the Orchid was approached by a secret cabal called the Organizers, who feared the coming of masked superheroes derailing corrupt business practices. The Organizers met with notable criminals, including Asbestos Lady, the Orchid, Cobra plus several others, seeking to fund each of them to continue as a hero's prime adversary.

(Blackstone the Magician#2/6 (fb) - BTS) - The Orchid (Rufus Grendle) established himself a fearsome reputation in Center City as a masked thief, using a distinct gas to overpower wealthy victims. He also altered local timepieces to 8:00 p.m. to distract police from accurately identifying the time of a robbery. As socialite Rufus Grendle, he hosted regular dinner parties at his mansion, serving specifically at 8:00 p.m. and occasionally aided the police in Orchid investigations.

(Blackstone the Magician#2/6) - Elsewhere, Blackstone the magician-detective and his assistant Rhoda Brent read of the Orchid's crime spree and  intended to investigate as their tour would take them there. Meanwhile, the Orchid robbed the Center City Bank alongside his two henchmen (secretly his secretary and footman) following his usual tactics. The next night, the Orchid attacked and stole the the business payroll monies of Tom Jenkins and Roy Lytton. Blackstone and Rhoda later accepted Grendle's invitation to dinner the next night to perform a personal magic show, yet Grendle also claimed that, as the wealthiest man in Center City, he was the last target of the Orchid. Rhoda noted inaccurate clocks as the Orchid struck, but Blackstone appeared and hurled a fire-bowl that ignited the orchid gas, hitting the Orchid senseless. Blackstone then used magic tricks to evade and knock out the henchmen before revealing the villains' true identities and the futile motive to show the Orchid was separate to Grendle. The police took Grendle away, ending his short criminal career.

Comments: Created by Walter Gibson & uncredited artist.

Revealing an apparent conspiracy, Mac Gargan indicated that "half the villains in the old days were just ex-GIs on a salary"; was a military background built on ill-gotten gains part of the Orchid's origin?

Thanks to Wolfram Bane for listing other criminals approached by the secret cabal, the Organizers. These were: Asbestos Lady, Cobra, Doctor Crime, Flaming Hate, Parrot and Viking.

Blackstone the Magician was published by Marvel for issues #2-4 (#1 was by EC) before Marvel lost the rights, so I think any Blackstone profiles should be confined to those Marvel issues. Is Blackstone now in the public domain? Could Marvel revive the character?

Profile by Grendel Prime.

The Orchid has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Blackstone the Magician#2/6, p3, pan4 (main image)
   p2, pan6 (headshot)
   p2, pan2 (in action)

Blackstone the Magician#2/6 (May, 1948) - Walter Gibson (writer), uncredited artist, Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Knights: Spider-Man#9 (February, 2005) - Mark Millar (writer), Terry Dodson (pencils), Rachel Dodson (inks), Axel Alonso (editor)

First posted: 09/09/2020
Last updated: 09/12/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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