Intro: BLUE RIBBON COMICS #16, September 1941


Black Hand battled Captain Flag across several issues of Blue Ribbon Comics (1st series). He, unknowingly, was responsible for the birth of Captain Flag. Black Hand had kidnapped John Townsend, a wealthy inventor who had invented a new bombsight for the Army, in order to extract from Townsend the plans. But Townsend wouldn’t talk, so Black Hand had his cronies snatch Townsend’s useless and drunken son Thomas to use as leverage. John Townsend still refused, so Black Hand killed him with his diseased right hand. Turning his attention toward Thomas with the same intent, Black Hand is interrupted when an eagle crashes in through a window, snatches Thomas Townsend and flies off with him. During the months that followed, Thomas Townsend repented of his ways, and nurtured by the eagle, built himself up. One day the eagle arrived at his aerie with an American flag. Taking this as a sign, Thomas Townsend became Captain Flag and returned to Black Hand’s hideout. During the struggle with Black Hand’s minions, the mansion hideout was set ablaze. Captain Flag and Yank (as the eagle was now called by Captain Flag) narrowly escaped. Black Hand apparently died in the fire.

Black Hand somehow survived and returned in a plot to free Nazi prisoners from Canadian prisons. This scheme was quickly brought to an end by Captain Flag.

Soon thereafter, Black Hand unleashed a deadly germ into a factory’s air conditioning unit in an attempt to obtain the radium that he knew the authorities would use to treat them. But Captain Flag again foiled his plans, with Black Hand just barely escaping.

When the Poet Pirate’s book of verses containing clues to a treasure is bequeathed to a library, Black Hand steals the book to obtain the treasure. Defeated by Captain Flag and left for dead in the Atlantic Ocean, Black Hand is picked up by a passing yacht. A hurricane damages the yacht and kills the crew. Only Black Hand is left alive. He repairs the yacht, gathers a crew of cutthroats and sets out on a pirating foray. When he attacks a freighter, he again encounters Captain Flag. This time though, Black Hand’s fate is sealed, as he ends up hanging from the freighter’s yardarm, suffering a pirate’s death.

by John Packer