Bob Powell’s “The Man In Black” is one of the more interesting – if obscure – ongoing characters from the Golden Age Of Comics.
The personification of death – later toned down to “destiny” – the character usually narrated O. Henry-style tales of individuals caught up in forces beyond their comprehension.
Yet unlike EC’s later horror personalities – i.e. The Crypt Keeper, The Old Witch and The Vault-Keeper – the Man In Black also took an active role in many of his appearances and even interacted with a supporting cast that included the human embodiments of “time,” “mischief,” Christian angels and the Three Blind Fates from Greek mythology.
In that respect, “Mr. Twilight” and company can be viewed as predecessors to Neil Gaiman’s Endless. Was Mr. Gaiman familiar with Powell’s work?
The following story contains such elements and more, as Powell employs many of the cinematic techniques Will Eisner and his studio heaped upon The Spirit. That’s definitely no accident, as Powell himself once worked for Eisner.
From Green Hornet Fights Crime #35, Harvey Comics (May-June, 1947), here’s The Man In Black. The story and art are by Bob Powell.