BLACK FRIDAY

 
Full Name: Black Friday
Codename: Black Friday
Nationality: American
Organization: Military Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Allen Ulmer
Time Span: 1942 - 1942
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Black Friday is an agent with American Military Intelligence.
       His real name is, or was, Lee Ainsley. We know this because in the opening panels of the first of the two issues featuring this "mysterious" secret agent, he is identified right after being gunned down and killed. Though the newsboy shouting the story of the murder clearly says "Ansley" (sic) and at Intelligence Headquarters someone talks of how "Lee Ansley" (sic) was murdered, at the end of the tale, Black Friday refers to himself as "Ainsley". He would know better so we go with that spelling instead of the first two misspellings.
       Obviously despite the headlines, he was not really killed. There is some doubt whether he was shot at all because he later tells his boss that "with the help of a famous doctor and a faked death certificate", he did not die. Did that mean he was injured and saved by the doctor or that the doctor was used to fill out the fake certificate. The latter seems the more likely because when he shows up as Black Friday a day or two afterwards, he is quite fine and remarkably agile. That raises a question as to who did the shooting and was it down by the bad guys who just missed or by an unnamed confederate of Ainsley helping set up the deception. That is never asked thus never explained and obviously not important.
       Why Ainsley/Black Friday felt it was necessary to kill himself off and become the alter-ego is another thing that is never brought up. Black Friday just suddenly is a scourge of the Nazi underground at work in the Eastern American shores. When he meets with Colonel Runavan in the "Office of the Military Intelligence" he explains that Ainsley is gone and he would continue to fight the good fight as Black Friday.
       One might think with a sobriquet like Black Friday the person using it would be wearing some sort of costume but not Ainsley, unless you count the very large cravat he sports at all times. He is without a doubt quite dapper in his dress and in his manner but his attitude towards the saboteurs and killers he goes after is anything but gentile. There is no hesitation to letting the Nazi scum taste "American lead".
       Why "Black" and why "Friday" is not asked nor answered although a page from a desk calendar indicating Friday 13 is shown on the opening page.
       Who Ainsley was before he became Black Friday is never revealed. Considering Black Friday was not around for more than two adventures, we know next to nothing about it.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:2
First Appearance:1942
Last Appearance:1942

       Following the success of Superman in '38 and Batman in '39, others began to publish superhero comics. One such publisher was Holyoke who came out with Strongman in Crash Comics #1. In the fourth issue of that comic, Cat-Man was introduced, raised by a tiger in India (not an ape in Africa like Tarzan) and imbued with cat-like abilities. Cat-Man also appeared in the fifth issue before his popularity, or the lack of it for the Strongman, caused the publisher to turn Crash Comics into Cat-Man Comics. The number on the front page was clearly #1 but in the copyright notice, it was listed as Vol 1, Issue 6.
       Cat-Man Comics would survive several years and in addition to the main character and his sidekick, Kitten, there would be a nice variety of other stories. A couple were science-fiction, one or two detective, and several were superheroes. One was Black Friday.
       Living a very short life as an adventure series in the pages of Cat-Man, his two tales of spy fighting were as extras in the pages following the main Cat-Man adventure and thus not as long as the star of the publication.
       In the first issue he made an appearance (Cat-Man #8), his adventure came after stories about "The Deacon" and "Rag-Man" and before tales of "Voltron" and "Mastermind M'Ginty", "Little Leaders" and "The Hood".
       In the second issue, he was immediately following the Cat-Man story, followed by "The Hood", "Pied Piper", "The Deacon", "Mastermind M'Ginty", "The Rag-Man", "Little Leaders", and Voltron.

1 Friday 13 Friday 13
Published by Holyoke Publishing
Contributors: Allen Ulmer (writer/artist)
Copyright: 03/01/1942

From Cat-Man #8 - Nazi spy, Von Sterber, and his henchmen sneak aboard an American battleship just finishing being built, planning to steal it. Black Friday is there to stop them, and a Nazi Stuka that shows up.

2 King Of Spies King Of Spies
Published by Holyoke Publishing
Contributors: Allen Ulmer (writer/artist)
Copyright: 04/01/1942

From Cat-Man #9 - The Black Arrow is a costumed Nazi assassin, complete with a swastika on his chest, who uses bow and arrow to kill FBI agents chasing him. To catch him, Black Friday sets himself up as bait.

MY COMMENTS

       With only two quite short adventures to use, it is hard to form any real impression of the character or what he might have become with a bit more seasoning and growth. The grade I give it was done because it is so very non-descript. It was there as an extra in another character's magazine and then it was gone.
       Why was it necessary for the man Lee Ainsley to "die" so that Black Friday could live is the biggest question I come away with (that and why no costume if you are going to come up with a nickname). No doubt I am overthinking this but that is because there is so little else to think about.
       Unless you ponder his second and final adversary, the Black Arrow. He is very enamored with his name but he dresses in a red swashbuckling costume with bright yellow gauntlets and a yellow pointed hat with a red feather in it. The white swastika on the tunic completes the outfit. White and yellow and red in the apparel of the Black Arrow. Interesting.

GRADE

My Grade: C

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