Based on the character created by Robert Turner and Pete Riss for Prize Comics in 1940, the #AtomicAction version of the Black Owl, Darren Danville, is the third hero to operate under that name and identity.
The first Black Owl was his father, Doug Danville, a wealthy Newkirk City playboy who, in the Spring of 1940, decided to fight crime as the mysterious K the Unknown. He soon discarded that guise, and adopted the codename and costume of the Black Owl. For roughly two years, he fought a wide varietyof gangsters, fifth columnists, and colorful crooks like the Fox, Madame Mystery, Chief Skullface, Frankenstein, Funnibone, Tiger Lady, and the Green Mummy.
In 1943, Doug Danville enlisted in the Army, and passed on the Black Owl identity to Walt Walters, the father of twin teenage adventurers Yank and Doodle. Without revealing his true identity to his sons, he joined them in their battles against homegrown criminals, Axis agents and saboteurs. Eventually, the inexperienced Walters was shot and wounded and gave up his crimefighting career.
Upon his return to the States after World War II, Doug Danville married girl private eye Terry Dane, and, in 1952, the couple had their only child, their son Darren. Tragically, Doug and Terry Danville died in a plane crash when Darren was only sixteen. Upon his eighteenth birthday, he came into his inheritance and began attending Turner College in Knightsbridge.
There, he met and fell in love with fellow student Alena Laskaris, an aspiring musician. After a year, Darren proposed and she accepted. While Darren and Alena were shopping for an engagement ring, the jewelry store was held up by a pair of gunmen. When the store manager set off the alarm, one of the thieves panicked and shot Alena. The bullet passed through her body before richocheting off a wall and lodging itself in the frontal lobe of Darren’s brain. Alena died instantly, while the young millionaire soon found that the bullet in his brain had destroyed his “sleep center,” leaving him a permanent insomniac.
While recuperating from his ordeal, the angry and heartbroken Darren discovered his mother’s diary, which revealed the long-held secret that his father had been the original Black Owl. This inspired him to adopt the Black Owl identity, and he began a rigorous training regimen. With no need for sleep, he spent 24 hours a day for three years preparing himself, studying several martial arts disciplines as well as the field of criminology. To aid him in his crusade, Darren enlisted Alena’s identical twin sister, Athena Laskaris, a top MIT engineering student, to design and build the specialized technology, weapons and equipment he required.
Operating out of his “Owl’s Nest” headquarters, hidden on the floor beneath his penthouse apartment in the high-rise Riss Tower in downtown Knightsbridge, he carries on his father’s heroic legacy, protecting his city and battling such criminals as the Rubber Bandit, Moonshot, Ms Mesmer, and the Silent Skull, as well as some of his father’s original nemeses such as Funnibone and the Green Mummy.
Art and Character Design by Rick Burchett. The “Darren Danville” version of the Black Owl is © Christopher Mills and is not in the public domain.