Jerry Robinson's Lady Serpent in Black Terror #23-24, Up for Auction

Joker co-creator Jerry Robinson teamed with Mort Meskin to create the little-known Black Terror villain named Lady Serpent in 1948.

While Jerry Robinson is best known as the co-creator of the Joker and Robin and his overall significant contributions to the Batman mythos, he worked for a wide variety of publishers throughout his career. In 1948-1949, he teamed up with his close friend Mort Meskin on several stories for Standard/Better/Nedor and Prize Publications, and the two part Black Terror story featuring Lady Serpent is an excellent example of this work.  These two issues also feature covers by the legendary Alex Schomburg. There's a Black Terror #23 (Nedor, 1948) Condition: GD/VG and Black Terror #24 (Nedor Publications, 1948) CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white to white pages in the 2023 February 23 The Thrillingly Exciting Heroes of Nedor Comics Showcase Auction #40219 at Heritage Auctions.

Black Terror #24 (Nedor Publications, 1948) featuring Lady Serpent.
Black Terror #24 (Nedor Publications, 1948) featuring Lady Serpent.

Continued stories were the exception rather than the rule during the Golden Age, but Black Terror #23-24 has Lady Serpent using her powers of hypnosis and control over poisonous snakes to further her career as a jewel thief, getting captured by our heroes but escaping to do it all over again.  She's a villain who would be very much at home in a Golden Age Batman & Robin story. While Robinson is given top billing in the signed work on Black Terror #23-24, there's some ambiguity about who did what on these stories. While GCD believes these were Meskin pencils and Robinson inks in this case, I think there are some clear signs of Meskin inks in these issues as well. It's not unlikely that Robinson and Meskin would switch off work as was needed during these collaborations, perhaps even including story development.

While Jerry Robinson is deservedly a comic book legend, Mort Meskin is likewise an important figure of the Golden Age, producing stand-out work for DC Comics on features including Johnny Quick, Starman, Vigilante and Wildcat.  Meskin is also well-remembered for his work at Simon & Kirby studio. Like Robinson, Meskin worked for various publishers, including Marvel, Lev Gleason and Prize.  Robinson and Meskin teamed up on Fighting Yank and Black Terror stories during their brief time with Standard/Better/Nedor.

The copy of Black Terror #23 on offer here has been graded GD/VG by Heritage Auctions, while this copy of Black Terror #24 has been graded CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white to white pages. Both installments of the Lady Serpent story in Black Terror #23 and #24 have 25 or fewer entries on the CGC census, so the 2023 February 23 The Thrillingly Exciting Heroes of Nedor Comics Showcase Auction #40219 is worth a look. For those new to Heritage Auctions, make sure to check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.

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Mark SeifertAbout Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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