« A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere. » — Groucho Marx
Linda Turner, a.k.a. the Black Cat, made her debut in Pocket Comics no. 1 (Aug. 1941). She was first drawn (and probably written) by Al Gabriele. After passing through the hands of a few other artists (Pierce Rice, Arturo Cazeneuve, Jill Elgin…), she landed in Lee Elias‘ lap in the post-war years.
She was a stunt woman, and combined physical prowess with mental agility gleaned from her father, an amateur detective…. and fought crime in a glamorous and revealing black bodysuit.
Why waste a good title? As fashions changed in the comic book field, and superheroes — and heroines — lost ground to all manner of horrors, Black Cat, clearly a versatile and catchy moniker, switched hats and mission statements on a slew of occasions over the course of its healthy run. To wit:
BLACK CAT COMICS 1-15, 17-29
BLACK CAT WESTERN COMICS 16, 55-56
BLACK CAT MYSTERY COMICS 30-53, 57
BLACK CAT WESTERN MYSTERY 54
BLACK CAT MYSTIC 58-62
BLACK CAT 63-65
-RG (with a kind assist from ds)