Steve and Ebony in action.

JAGUAR MAN

Original Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Fox Feature Syndicate
First Appeared: 1945
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By 1945, the superhero fad in American comic books had definitely faded. DC Comics, which had touched off the trend, had already retired some of its big guns, like The Spectre, and only Merry, the Girl of a Thousand Gimmicks remained to be seen of their '40s long-underwear guys — and she was only a spin-off of The Star-Spangled Kid. Some companies, like Archie, formerly MLJ, were …

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… in full-scale retreat from the genre. But tho fresh superstars of that type were few and far between, there was still a minor new superhero to be found here and there.

That year, Fox Comics fielded a new superhero called Jaguar Man, who would probably never even have been noticed, if there hadn't been a minor '60s flash-in-the-pan called The Jaguar to call attention to the name. Emphasizing the fact that the '45 character was forgettable, nobody knows who created him.

Such as he was, Jaguar Man made his debut in the back pages of All Great Comics, which Fox published that year, not to be confused with All Great Comics, which they'd published the year before, or All Great Comics #1, which they published the following year. The 1944 All Great Comics was nothing but a mix of characters that even most dedicated comics readers never heard of elsewhere, whereas the 1945 All Great Comics was nothing but a mix of characters that had mostly been seen elsewhere, such as The Green Mask and The Bouncer. The 1946 All Great Comics #1 was the only one of the three that had follow-up issues. It was succeeded in 1947 by #s 13 and 14, which had completely different contents and were published in the wrong order.

The story, whoever wrote and drew it, didn't mention why Steve Lane liked to put on a skin-tight outfit and go off on urban adventures in the company of a real live jaguar named Ebony (no relation), but he did. In everyday life, he worked as the zoo keeper who kept Ebony's cage tidy, but in times of action he'd put on his superhero suit and set Ebony free. Then they'd both vault the zoo's wall, and off they'd go.

As Jaguar Man, Steve didn't wear a mask. Maybe he relied on the fact that when confronted by a man accompanying a full-grown jungle cat, people weren't likely to notice his face. The lack of facewear wasn't mentioned.

Also not mentioned was how Ebony responded to being asked to get back in the cage.

Jaguar Man's first appearance was also his last. Like Fly-Man, The Black Orchid and The Black Panther, who also have later, better-known namesakes, he just came and went, then was gone forever.

— DDM

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Text ©2009 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Fox Feature Syndicate