Guano

As a result of reading not only a variety of different versions of the character but several interviews and articles about him, I noticed that there are a number of misconceptions out there about The Black Bat.

While I can't claim to be an authority, I'll attempt to set them straight, starting with the most glaring (and irritating) one from folks who may be relatively new to the character.

The Black Bat is just a Batman ripoff.

No so. In fact, on a certain level, I even wonder how people have come to that conclusion. The only way a person can do so is to judge the character entirely on his name.

Let's turn to The Black Bat Companion for specifics:
(Black Bat creator Norman Daniels') personal payment records indicate that he was paid for "Brand of The Black Bat" in early December, 1938 -- at least two months before Bob Kane created Batman in January 1939. However, Batman was the first character in print, debuting in Detective comics #27, cover-dated May 1939. The Black Bat premiered in the July 1939 issue of Black Book Detective.
There you go.That being stated, I ask you...who cares?

Seriously. Let me ask this question: If The Black Bat had retained his original name, The Tiger, would there be even the slightest accusation that he was "inspired" by Batman?

Of course not. Because the characters are actually quite different. The Black Bat uses guns, occasionally kills, is facially-scared, pretends to be blind yet has heightened senses, has a different entourage altogether...There are all kinds of differences between the two. The only people who feel either character has copied from the other are those who have jumped to that conclusion based on similar names but never actually bothered to check.

Here's another claim I sometimes come across when reading discussions about the character.

The Black Bat branded his victims with an emblem of a bat.

Well, sort of...But he didn't burn his symbol into someone's skin, as some have claimed. At least he didn't do so in the early stories that I read.

I believe some people are taking the title of the first Black Bat story, Brand of The Black Bat, a little too literally and assuming that the lead character scarred his victims. That's not the case. Tony Quinn would glue paper bats onto people to take credit for his actions (or perhaps more accurately to avoid having others being blamed for them). One brief segment in Brand of The Black Bat even makes reference to Quinn rubbing his hands together to remove a spot of glue from his gloves after pasting a bat symbol onto a car's windshield.
Oliver Snate: "I found Walker on my porch with some silly piece of paper pasted on his forehead. It looks like a bat with wings spread way out."
So unless Norman A. Daniels changed Quinn's methods to actual branding in later stories, that claim seems to be inaccurate.

The Black Bat wore a mask.

Well, in the earlier stories, he covered his whole face. Some may consider this a matter of semantics, but what he wore was referred as a hood, not a mask. His nose, mouth and chin would not have been exposed under a hood yet every cover (and interior illustration, to the best of my knowledge) displays the Bat wearing a Captain America style mask.

Below is the portion of Brand of The Black Bat which reveals his costume. It seems quite clear that the intent was to conceal Tony Quinn's face entirely.
(Quinn to Silk) "No one must know who we are. I'll have to wear a mask, of course - a complete hood, I suppose, if my features are as bad as that doctor said they were.

"Yes sir," Silk nodded, "it will have to be a hood. I'll make one, sir, of silk. Black silk that can't be seen in the night." 
So while it is far more common to see The Black Bat with some facial features exposed, it is also inaccurate. Up to Shadow Of Evil, the 18th published story, that is. When Anthony first puts on the Black Bat outfit in that story, it is described in the following way:
A hood that covered his head except for the mouth and chin, was drawn into place.
How about that? I've seen some claim that the only way to get the Bat "right" is to cover his entire face. Apparently that's not the case.

This is just a guess, but probably Norman Daniels changed his description to match the cover images better.

The Black Bat appeared in other books in the mid 30's prior to his 1939 introduction in Black Book Detective in 1939.

Easy assumption to make, but it's incorrect.

There were indeed stories published during those years involving a character named The Bat, but it's not the same guy. Again, people are jumping to a conclusion based on a name similarity.

The cover at right is from an Altus Press compilation of the character's six stories published over the course of those two years. Here's their solicitation for it:
The inspiration for Batman! For the first time in one collection, all four appearances of the pulp hero The Bat, as written by pulp legend Johnston McCulley (Zorro). These stories from 1934-35 detail the adventures of Dawson Clade, a man who was inspired to fight crime by a bat's sudden appearance. Includes an all-new introduction by pulp historian Will Murray.
Nothing to do with Tony Quinn and no reason to believe that Black Bat creator Norman Daniels was the least bit inspired by The Bat half a decade or so later.

There was also a book called Black Bat Detective Mysteries for a few months around the same time, but it had nothing to do with the character that we now know by the same name.

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