Real Name: Bobby Lathrop

Identity/Class: Human (Old West Era)

Occupation: Student

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Bear Paw, Black Rider (Matthew Masters), Pete Jenkins, Jake Osborn, Red, Buzzy Sloan

Enemies: Curly Adams and his gang, Snake Bostwick and his gang (Duke, Joe, Whitey), Cameron, Grant DuMont, the Fox and his gang, Hatchet Haines, Injun Pancho, Lobo, Skinner Paige and his gang (Luke Courtney), Smoke and his gang (Chico), Stinger, Tod Sultan, Blackie Thorpe and his gang (Davis, Sanchez), Trip Tomlin and his gang (Joe, Whitey), Trigger Tracy and his gang, Luke Wade and his gang (Tappan, Peck, Dawson)

Known Relatives: Jim Lathrop (father), Marie Lathrop (sister), Bobby (nephew), Oscar Tippett (third cousin)

Aliases: Impersonated the Black Rider

Base of Operations: Hatchet-Star Ranch, outside of Leadville, Texas, USA (late 1800s)

First Appearance: All-Western Winners I#4 (April, 1949)

Powers/Abilities: Bobby was a fair horse rider and marksman. He sometimes rode the pony Pinto. He was a rather good marksman and sometimes wielded a .22 caliber rifle.

When he impersonated the Black Rider, he rode the hero's white steed Satan but, owing to the oversized clothing he was wearing, he wasn't capable of great physical activity.

Height: 4'7" (by approximation)
Weight: 70 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Red

History: (All-Western Winners I#4) - The Lathrop ranch was attacked by Snake Bostwick and his gang, who lightly injured Bobby in his right leg. With Snake's men in pursuit, Bobby went to Leadville, where the town was holding a meeting on how to deal with Snake's gang. Snake's men dispersed the town gathering. Bobby snuck into Doc Masters' office to get his wound treated but ended up spying on Masters as he donned his Black Rider costume. Bobby promised to keep the Black Rider's secret and the Rider tended to his wound.

The Black Rider killed Snake's lieutenant Whitey, bringing him to the attention of the banker Mr. Cameron, who asked the Black Rider to help lead the town against the gang but was actually laying an ambush for him. Luckily, Bobby went to the rendezvous and with his rifle drove off the ambushers, killing Joe and Duke so the Black Rider could escape. The Black Rider ultimately exposed Mr. Cameron as Snake's boss and killed him. Later, Bobby and Marie were visited by Doc Masters and Bobby enjoyed knowing that while his sister disliked Masters, she was in love with his alter ego.

(Best Western I#58/2) - Bobby observed as a range war was breaking out between sheep herders and cattle ranchers. When the Black Rider supposedly robbed a bank in Leadville, Bobby knew it was a fake as Doc Masters was with him. Ultimately, the fake Black Rider was caught but rancher Grant DuMont tried to seize the Lathrop ranch. Bobby and Marie rode to their father and the Black Rider to warn them. Bobby rode with his family, the Black Rider and a posse as they rode to the ranch and the Black Rider killed DuMont.

(Wild Western I#8/2) - Bobby was surprised when Doc Masters explained he intended to give up being the Black Rider as all the outlaws in Leadville had been dealt with. However, he soon had to return to action against Buck Barstow, who was trying to force people off their land.

(Best Western I#59/3) - Bobby witnessed his sister being kidnapped by Brush Bennett but the Black Rider rescued her.

(Rex Hart I#6/3) - Bobby went to his family's neighbor Jake Osborn, who arranged to divert water from his well to the Lathrop ranch. Just as Bobby was leaving Osborn, an unseen figure shot Osborn to death. Bobby's father then tried to purchase Osborn's land by having his foreman Red win a $1,000 prize riding the bronco Dynamite. When Bobby and Doc Masters found Red injured, the Black Rider took Red's place, won the money for the Lathrops and exposed Snead as the man who killed Osborn.

(Two-Gun Kid I#9/3) - Bobby was out riding with Marie when they encountered Tod Sultan, who had stolen and worn the Black Rider's costume. The "Black Rider" took Marie hostage and sent a ransom demand to Jim but Bobby knew he wasn't the real Black Rider because of his voice and that he wasn't riding Satan. Heading to Doc Masters' office, Bobby found Masters had been knocked out by Sultan. Reviving Masters, Bobby explained what had happened and Masters rescued Marie from Sultan.

(Western Winners I#6/3) - After Marie was abducted by the Beast-Men of Mystery Mountain, Bobby informed Doc Masters and he rescued Marie as the Black Rider.

(Wild Western I#9) - After Doc Masters had the idea to divert a river so that the cattlemen of Leadville would get more water, Marie still took a moment to insult Doc Masters. Bobby was upset to hear his sister speak that way about him but Masters reminded Bobby he had to keep his other identity a secret. Bobby admired Eagle, a horse from his father's ranch, which Marie raced against Lincoln Quantrell's horse Sunspot but Sunspot defeated Eagle.

(Black Rider I#8) - Bobby rode to Leadville and alerted Marie and their foreman Jim to the disappearance of their father's cattle. Once they departed, Bobby suggested the Black Rider should investigate. Later, Bobby saw Professor Chalis kidnap Marie and rode to get the Black Rider to rescue her.

(Black Rider I#9) - After Simon Cantrell had driven Running Deer's tribe into a frenzy by building a railroad on their land, they were sent to attack the Lathrop ranch. Bobby joined his family in defending the ranch but he was hit in the back by an arrow. One of the ranch hands sent for Doc Masters and he saved Bobby's life.

(Wild Western I#11) - Bobby and his family were in Leadville when a gang run by the Fox laid siege to the town but the Black Rider defeated the Fox.

(Black Rider I#10/Black Rider II#1) - Bobby helped his father and the Black Rider drive rustlers away from the ranch. Bobby took a ride with the Black Rider and asked to hear his origin. The Black Rider recounted his origin and told Bobby he hoped one day his sister Marie would care about him as Doc Masters as much as she did the Black Rider. Bobby promised to keep the Black Rider's identity a secret.

(Wild Western I#12) - Smoke and his gang took Doc Masters and Marie as hostages in the Eagle Pass, intending to set a trap for the Black Rider. When Bobby found the note the gang left explaining what they had done, he realized with Doc Masters captured, there was no Black Rider to save them. However, he donned the Black Rider costume himself and rode the Rider's horse Satan to the location, remaining at a distance on horseback so his small stature would be less noticeable. After drawing some of the gang away from the place where Doc Masters and Marie were held, Bobby set Doc Masters free then gave him his costume so he could round up the gang and rescue Marie.

(Black Rider I#19) - When Hatchet Haines impersonated the Black Rider, he invaded the Lathrop ranch and shot Jim then took Marie to force her to be his wife. Outraged, Bobby saw to his father's injury then rode to Leadville and confronted Doc Masters with a gun, threatening to shoot unless he returned Marie. When Masters realized he had been impersonated, he promised to rescue Marie and show Bobby the carcass of his impostor. Hatchet ultimately fell over a cliff but the Black Rider gave Hatchet's mask to Marie so she could give to Bobby as a fulfillment of his promise.

(Black Rider I#20) - After the Black Rider was tricked into leading a US Cavalry force into an ambush, the Cavalry placed him into jail. Fortunately, Bobby trailed after the Black Rider, retrieved his guns and with Satan's help pulled out the bars of the Black Rider's cell. While the Black Rider set after the men responsible for the ambush, Bobby went to the Cavalry officers to inform them of who the true culprits were.

(Black Rider I#21 (fb)) - Bobby witnessed cattle rustler Trigger Tracy and his gang kill his father's cattle wranglers Buzzy Sloan and Pete Jenkins then steal his father's cattle. Riding back to the ranch, Bobby encountered Doc Masters and recounted what he had seen. The Black Rider apprehended Tracy but on the day of Tracy's trial, his men kidnapped Bobby to prevent him from testifying. After Tracy was set free, the Black Rider traced him to his hideout but Tracy's gang got the drop on the Black Rider. To obtain his freedom, Tracy demanded the Black Rider perform an act of marksmanship by firing at an apple on Bobby's head.

(Black Rider I#21) - Bobby remained steady as the Black Rider fired; the Black Rider's bullet destroyed the apple but left Bobby unscathed. The Black Rider demanded Tracy let them both go but Tracy proposed a second round, this time with Bobby shooting at the Black Rider. However, once Bobby was about to shoot, he turned the gun and shot one of Tracy's men. The Black Rider sprang on Tracy, took his guns and quickly shot Tracy and his men to death. The Black Rider thanked Bobby for saving his life.

(Black Rider I#21/4 - BTS) - When the killers Shag Enoch and Jess Cantrell set off explosives in Leadville, Jim told Marie to see that Bobby remained in his room while he and Doc Masters investigated.

(Kid Colt Outlaw I#35/3) - Injun Pancho, a hand on the Lathrop ranch, tried to murder Bobby but hit and killed his horse instead. The Black Rider killed Injun Pancho then found a wild palomino to serve as Bobby's new horse.

(Black Rider I#22/2) - Bobby was out hunting jackrabbits when an eagle swooped down and stole the rabbit he had shot. Fortunately, the Black Rider happened by and shot down the eagle, returning the rabbit to Bobby. After the Black Rider rode away, gunmen working for Trip Tomlin confronted Bobby. The men recognized that Bobby was the Black Rider's friend and suggested he knew the Black Rider's true identity. Bobby stammered a response that he didn't but, believing Bobby was lying to them, they kidnapped him. Back at Tomlin's hideout, Tomlin began beating Bobby to force him to reveal the Black Rider's name but Bobby refused. Tomlin's men went out and brought Doc Masters and Marie to the hideout to tend to Bobby's concussion as Tomlin continued to interrogate Bobby. Bobby finally agreed to reveal who the Black Rider was if Doc Masters would leave the room. Tomlin's men sent Masters out and moments later the Black Rider burst through the door, shooting Tomlin and his gang to death.

(Wild Western I#35/4) - Bobby was playing with his dog Duke when Blackie Thorpe and his gang came to the Lathrop ranch and demanded they exchange horses. When the Lathrops refused, Duke threatened the cowboys. One of the outlaws prepared to shoot Duke but Bobby threw himself in the way and was wounded in the leg. Marie was outraged that Doc Masters stood by while her brother was injured but Masters found it was only a flesh wound. As the Black Rider, he killed Blackie Thorpe.

(Black Rider I#24/4) - Bobby received a leg injury and Marie decided to take him to Dr. Stevens, a rival to Doc Masters. However, Dr. Stevens used an unsterilized knife, causing an infection. Realizing her mistake, Marie brought him to Doc Masters, who saved Bobby's life.

(Kid Colt Outlaw I#41/3) - Bobby found a cache of fool's gold. A gang of robbers led by Luke Wade thought it was real gold and captured him. Bobby's horse Pinto was left behind and was found by Bear Paw, a Comanche brave. Bear Paw and Black Rider rescued Bobby and Black Rider set after the gang, nearly all of whom killed each other over the fool's gold.

(Wild Western I#37/4) - Bobby was out riding when he saw Mad Dog Murdock, an outlaw who had been exposed to mineral salts which made him glow in the dark. Bobby thought he had seen a ghost and was so terrified that his family called for Doc Masters, who gave him a sedative to calm him down.

(Black Rider I#26/4) - After Marie was kidnapped by Curly Adams' men and sent a ransom note to Jim, Bobby followed the man who delivered the note and discovered the hideout where Marie was held. Bobby rode back and informed Doc Masters then led him there in his Black Rider identity. The Black Rider quickly captured the kidnappers and Bobby set Marie free. Afterward, Marie blamed Doc Masters for not preventing her kidnapping and Bobby consoled Masters when she wouldn't believe any of his excuses.

(Kid Colt Outlaw I#45/3) - Bobby rode aboard a train to Leadville with Marie, unaware the Black Rider had prevented an attempt to destroy a bridge on the route.

(Wild Western I#41/4) - Bobby was kidnapped by Stinger, a cattle thief who wanted to force Marie to marry him. Marie was prepared to surrender herself to Stinger to save Bobby but the Black Rider intervened, killing Stinger and setting Bobby free.

(Black Rider I#27/2) - When the cattle rustler Lobo sent his wolves to attack the Lathrops' cattle, Bobby joined his family in patrolling the ranch at night. When the wolves attacked, Marie shielded Bobby from harm while his father and the Black Rider fought off the animals.

(Western Tales of Black Rider I#28/2) - Bobby encountered the Spider, who had survived seeming death yet again. Bobby was terrified by the sight of him but he was found by the Black Rider, who guided him back to the ranch.

(Western Tales of Black Rider I#28/4) - The cattle rustler Skinner Paige sent his man Luke Courtney to spy on the Black Rider. Bobby saw Luke following Doc Masters and warned him what was happening. Skinner's men took Masters prisoner to determine whether he was the Black Rider. Bobby suddenly burst in with his rifle but Skinner's men disarmed him. When Bobby claimed that if the Black Rider knew he was there he'd come to rescue him, Skinner set Masters free, thinking Bobby would be a good hostage to draw out the Black Rider. Naturally, the Black Rider soon stormed in and rescued Bobby, defeating Skinner's gang.

(Western Tales of Black Rider I#31 (BTS)) - Bobby came down with a fever so Doc Masters visited the Lathrop ranch to tend to him.

(Western Tales of Black Rider I#31/2) - The criminal Cameron, suffering a bullet wound, came to the Lathrop ranch to hole up. He had the Lathrops call Doc Masters to tend to his injury. Masters saved Cameron's life but held him for the law.

Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Syd Shores.

The first story in Black Rider I#14 is set in 1871, suggesting that all of his adventures were set around the early 1870s.

The Lathrop family largely disappeared from the Black Rider series during Robert Bernstein's tenure as writer (Black Rider I#12-18) but returned when Bernstein left Black Rider.

Bobby invites comparisons to the Ghost Rider (Carter Slade, aka Phantom Rider)'s sidekick Jaime Jacobs. Both are youngsters who learned the secret identity of a masked western hero; both wore their mentor's costume on at least one occasion. But where the Black Rider wore all-black, the Ghost Rider wore all-white.

There was not particularly strong continuity between Black Rider stories so I've arranged these first in chronological order of publication then alphabetically by title (some months the Black Rider appeared in as many as four different comics!).

Black Rider II#1 is also called "Black Rider Rides Again" which is its cover title.

Bobby definitely took it on the chin in story after story!

This profile was completed 7/07/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Prime Eternal.

Bobby Lathrop should not be confused with:


Duke was Bobby's pet dog. Bobby was playing with him when Black Thorpe and his gang entered the ranch and tried to force the Lathrops to exchange horses with them. When Duke threatened one of the gang members, he drew his gun on the dog. Bobby took a bullet for Duke; fortunately, it was only a flesh wound.

--Wild Western I#35/4


Pinto was the pinto pony owned by Bobby Lathrop. Bobby rode Pinto on one occasion when he was kidnapped by Luke Wade's gang. Pinto was then found by Bear Paw. When the Black Rider saw Pinto with Bear Paw, he recognized the pony and realized Bobby was in some danger. Bobby was also riding Pinto when he saw that the Spider was still alive, which caused Pinto to bolt and run away.

--Kid Colt, Outlaw I#41/3 (Western Tales of Black Rider I#28/2,

Buzzy Sloan & Pete JenkinsBuzzy Sloan and Pete Jenkins

Buzzy Sloan and Pete Jenkins were two cattle wranglers on Jim Lathrop's ranch. When Trigger Tracy came to rustle cattle from the ranch, both of them were murdered by Tracy and his gang. Bobby witnessed the two men's deaths and informed Doc Masters.

--Black Rider I#21 (fb)

images: (without ads)
Black Rider I#21, page 2, panel 4 (main)
All-Western Winners #4, page 4, panel 2 (headshot)
Wild Western #12, page 6, panel 2 (as Black Rider)
Wild Western #35/4, page 2, panel 4 (Duke)
Kid Colt, Outlaw #41/3, page 2, panel 1 (Pinto)
Black Rider I#21, page 3, panel 1 (Buzzy and Pete)

All-Western Winners I#4 (April, 1949) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Best Western I#58/2 (June, 1949) - unknown writer, John Severin (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Wild Western I#8/2 (July, 1949) - unknown writer, unknown artists, Stan Lee (editor)
Best Western I#59/2 (August, 1949) - unknown writer, John Severin (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Rex Hart I#6/3 (August, 1949) - unknown writer, John Severin (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Two-Gun Kid I#9/3 (August, 1949) - unknown writer, John Severin (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Winners I#6/3 (August, 1949) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Wild Western I#9 (October, 1949) - unknown writer, unknown artists, Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#8 (March, 1950) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Joe Maneely (artist), John Severin (artist), Vince Alasica (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#9 (June, 1950) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Wild Western I#11 (June, 1950) - unknown writer, Mike Sekowsky (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#10 (September, 1950) - Leon Lazarus (writer), Syd Shores (pencils), Joe Maneely (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Wild Western #12 (September, 1950) - unknown writer, Gil Kane (pencils), Joe Maneely (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#19 (November, 1953) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#20 (January, 1954) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#21 (March, 1954) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Kid Colt Outlaw I#35/3 (March, 1954) - unknown writer, George Tuska (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#22/2 (May, 1954) - unknown writer, Art Peddy (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Wild Western I#35/4 (August, 1954) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#24/4 (September, 1954) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Kid Colt Outlaw I#41/3 (October, 1954) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Wild Western I#37/4 (October, 1954) - unknown writer, Al Hartley (pencils), Christopher Rule (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#26/4 (January, 1955) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Christopher Rule (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Kid Colt Outlaw I#45/3 (February, 1955) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Christopher Rule (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Wild Western I#41/4 (February, 1955) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Christopher Rule (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider I#27/2 (March, 1955) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Christopher Rule (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Tales of Black Rider I#28/2,4 (May, 1955) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), Christopher Rule (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Western Tales of Black Rider I#31/2 (November, 1955) - unknown writer, Syd Shores (pencils), George Klein (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Black Rider II#1 (September, 1957) - unknown writer, Jack Kirby (artist), Stan Lee (editor)

First posted: 09/10/2021
Last updated: 09/07/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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