The Golden Age had its share of ersatz supermen and bat-men, but publishers were equally anxious to pilfer other sources to fill their comic-books with colorfully clad crime-fighters.
(Superman and Batman weren’t exactly created out of whole cloth themselves. Both have roots in such pulp characters as Doc Savage and The Shadow, and that only represents a fraction of the many factors that influenced the creators of DC’s Worlds’ Finest cash-cows.)
The Green Hornet, created in 1936 for the same Detroit radio station that unleashed The Lone Ranger and Sgt. Preston Of The Yukon to an unsuspecting world, inspired a host of masked men with similar monikers and gimmicks, including The Crimson Avenger, the original original Blue Beetle and the star of today’s tale: The Raven.
Like many Golden Age heroes, the Raven was a police officer who was frustrated by criminals who escape justice via legal loopholes. In an effort to even the playing field, our hero wore a disguise to battle such fiends and redistribute their ill-gotten gains to the city’s poor.
As a result, the Raven was sought by the criminal underworld and the police force, who considered the modern-day Robin Hood a dangerous vigilante. He was aided in his crusade by his chauffeur, Mike – and let’s not get into just how a supposedly honest cop could afford a chauffeur – and girlfriend, Lola Lash, the daughter of the police commissioner.
Created by Robert Turner and Martin Nodell – the artist behind DC Comics’ Green Lantern – The Raven enjoyed a two-year run in various Ace Periodical comics before fading into oblivion.
Today’s tale originally appeared in Lightning Comics vol. 5 #1 (Ace Periodicals, February 1941). The writer and artist are uncredited.
Hmmm, in a way you could consider this particular adventure the Golden Age equivalent of The Superior Spider-Man. Only this time, justice is served in 12 pages… just the way I like it!