THE RED PANTHERMedium: Comic books
Published by: Fiction House Magazines
First Appeared: 1940
Creators: Taylor Martin, writer, and Arthur Peddy, artist
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Aside from Dell, which subsisted mainly on properties licensed from Disney, Warner Bros., King Features etc., Fiction House (Sky Girl, Señorita Rio) was perhaps the only major American comic book publisher of the early 1940s that didn't jump wholeheartedly
onto the superhero bandwagon. And yet, they weren't completely devoid of the genre. Their Lightning, Super American and Power Man (no relation) certainly resembled superheroes closely enough, and The Red Panther demonstrated the genre could survive even in as unlikely a title as Jungle Comics.
In fact, Red wasn't even the title's only superhero. Fantomah, who debuted in the same issue (#2, February, 1940), was arguably, at least, the first female superhero; and the character Red replaced, a one-issue wonder called The White Panther, was even more of a superhero than Red. (A major comic book bibliography says they were two names for the same character, but in reality, the only thing they had in common was part of their names.)
Kaanga, who was featured on the cover, was a much more conventional jungle hero. In fact, it was hard to figure out what kind of jungle hero The Red Panther was. He wore a skin-tight costume like The Phantom, but swung through trees like Tarzan. He also didn't have a non-superhero name, and was seldom if ever seen out of costume. Somewhat easier to grasp is that he was created by writer Taylor Martin (probably a house name) and artist Arthur Peddy (Phantom Lady, Captain Savage).
They managed to shoehorn Red into his jungle setting, but it doesn't seem to have been a comfortable fit. He never did appear on a cover, and Fiction House dropped him altogether as soon as the superheroes gave early signs of not being the hottest thing in comic books anymore. His last appearance, along with that of Roy Lance (a Jungle Jim type), was in the 26th issue (February, 1942).
In subsequent years, he's undergone the occasional random reprint. But there doesn't seem to have been much call for new Red Panther adventures since he was dropped from Jungle Comics.