Friday, May 27, 2011

The Black Dwarf - And Not the Astronomical Kind

The Black Dwarf started life as Daniel "Shorty" Wilson, a former pro football player who decides he doesn't like the criminal element so he's going to adopt a costumed crime-fighting persona. Now I don't like crime either, but I don't think after adolescence I ever seriously considered taking on the underworld in a strange costume. Nevertheless, the Black Dwarf is born and really seems to take on crime more like the older pulp heroes, with two blazing .45 automatics rather than just his fists, which is probably a good thing - how many criminals would otherwise quake in their boots at the approach of someone called the Black Dwarf. He supposedly stands under 4'10," hence both the nicknames Shorty and Dwarf, although technically he really isn't short enough to qualify as a real dwarf. He also takes on three reformed criminal sidekicks - Patricia "Arsenic" Gaynes, apparently a former queen of the blackmail racket; Joseph "Nitro" Lemerise, an explosives expert; and Terry "Fly" Holcomb, literally a human fly. They first appeared in Spotlight Comics in 1944, published by the Harry 'A' Chesler/Dynamic Comics publishing house and later moved over to Red Seal Comics, where he lasted through 1947, for about 18 issues total. He's rather a curious character, blending comic book masked vigilantes with the earlier pulp variety like the Shadow or Spider, although he didn't actually wear a mask. I've only read one of his adventures, although I understand most of his villains didn't survive their encounters with him. As for the action figure, I used the body from a Robotech Master for the puffy sleeved robe outfit he seemed to wear, the head from a Hasbro Star Wars Han Solo figure and the Gaucho hat from a Zorro Sergeant Garcia figure. The cape was cut from a piece of T-shirt material.

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