The Black Knight
is the alias of several fictional comic-book
characters that appear in the Marvel Comics universe
The first is a medieval knight created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Joe Maneely. The second is a supervillain descendant of the original, created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist and co-plotter Dick Ayers. The third, created by writer Roy Thomas and artist George Tuska, is the villain's nephew, a superhero and a member of the superhero team the Avengers. A fourth Black Knight, with no revealed genetic connection, debuted in The Black Panther #3 (June 2005), created by writer Reginald Hudlin and penciler John Romita Jr.
Marvel Comics' first Black Knight, Sir Percy of Scandia, first appeared
in the medieval-adventure series Black Knight
#1-5 (May-Dec. 1955) from Atlas Comics
, the 1950s precursor to Marvel Comics.
Sir Percy's descendant, Professor Nathan Garrett, debuted as the modern-day supervillain Black Knight in Tales to Astonish #52 (Feb. 1964). This villainous Black Knight appeared in The Avengers #6, 14-15 (July 1964, March-April 1965), and in the feature "Iron Man" in Tales of Suspense #73 (Jan. 1966), in which he was mortally wounded.
Dane Whitman, Garrett's nephew, makes his first appearance in The Avengers #47 (Dec. 1967), and becomes a heroic version of the Black Knight in the following issue. Whitman sporadically appeared with the Avengers until becoming a core member, regularly appearing in #254-297 (1985-1988).
Whitman starred in the limited series Black Knight #1-4 (June-Sept. 1990), written by Roy and Dann Thomas and drawn by successive pencillers Tony DeZuniga and Rich Buckler. A Black Knight one-shot starring Sir Percy, written by Thomas and illustrated by Tom Grummet and Scott Hanna, was published as Mystic Arcana: Black Knight #1 (Sept. 2007), the second of four Mystic Arcana one-shot issue.
Fictional character biographies
Sir Percy of Scandia
The original Black Knight is Sir Percy of Scandia
, a 6th century knight who serves at the court of King Arthur
as his greatest warrior. Recruited by the wizard Merlin
, Percy adopts a double identity, and pretends to be totally incompetent until changing into the persona of the Black Knight. As the Black Knight, Percy wields the Ebony Blade
, which Merlin forged from a meteorite. A constant foe of the evil knight Mordred the Evil
(Arthur's traitorous "nephew"), Percy is eventually killed by him during the fall of Camelot when stabbed from behind with an enchanted blade — although Mordred then dies himself of wounds inflicted by Arthur. Merlin ensures that Percy's spirit will live on by casting a spell that will revive his ghost if Mordred should ever return. Percy's spirit has appeared several times to counsel his descendant, Dane Whitman
Professor Nathan Garrett, a biologist, is the direct descendant of Sir Percy, and found Sir Percy's tomb and the ebony blade. Garrett's evil tendencies make him unworthy of wielding the sword, and he is shunned by Sir Percy's ghost. An embittered Garrett then devises an arsenal of medieval weapons that employ modern technology and genetically engineers and creates a winged horse called Aragorn
. Calling himself the Black Knight, Garrett embarks on a life of crime to spite his ancestor. After a battle with the hero Giant-Man
Garrett joins the supervillain team the Masters of Evil
at the request of master villain Baron Zemo
. After two unsuccessful battles with the Avengers, Garrett is mortally wounded while trying to kill the superhero Iron Man
. A dying Garrett summons his nephew, Dane Whitman
, reveals his secret identity to Whitman, and repents for his life of crime. Whitman then adopts the identity of the Black Knight himself.
Dane is the current Black Knight who has been a member of the Avengers
and is currently one of the core members of MI: 13
Vatican Black Knight
An unidentified Black Knight is a member of a team of supervillains that invades the African
nation of Wakanda
. A devout Catholic, this Black Knight hopes to convert the populace to Catholicism. He is defeated by the superhero the Black Panther
, who retains the Black Knight's ebony blade.
The Black Knight lineage
Nathan Garrett and Dane Whitman are part of a lineage of Black Knights stretching back to the 6th century. In New Excalibur
#10, the first of the "Last Day of Camelot" storyline, it is revealed that Dane has turned the Garret Castle into a Black Knight museum with various exhibits on the various Black Knights, including the body of Sir Percy. There is a long line of paintings of the Knights including, according to the curator, "Sir Ralston[sic
] and Sir Eobar or lesser known knights like Sir William and Sir Henry. These Black Knights are:
- Sir Raston ("Ralston" appears only in New Excalibur #10) Sir Percy's nephew and became the Black Knight after him. He lived in the Dark Ages but was recruited into the Anachronauts by Kang the Conqueror and travelled through time.
- Sir Eobar of Garrington was the Black Knight during the Crusades
- Sir William is depicted fighting in the trenches of World War I
- Sir Henry is depicted as a swashbuckling figure
Later in "The Last Days of Camelot" Sir Percy reveals to Dane that he was not the first Black Knight and that eight knights had carried the Ebony Blade before him, the last being King Arthur's cousin Sir Reginald. Each one had been driven mad by the sword and had to be killed until it was decided there were only three people who could take the sword but King Arthur and Merlin were needed in other capacities, so the "burden" fell to Sir Percy who accepted despite knowing the risks.
The apparent "Last Knight" is, Ernst Wythim, a member of the lineage from around 2600 AD.
The Avengers: United They Stand
Nathan Garrett appears and attempts to steal a device from the organization AIM
In the Earth X series, Ahura
- the son of Black Bolt and Medusa - becomes the Black Knight.
Dane becomes one of the dozens of super-powered zombies that are laying siege to the castle of Doctor Doom
. The zombies have detected delicious humans hiding inside, all of whom ultimately escape.
Ultimate Black Knight
In the Ultimate Marvel universe
, the Black Knight is a member of the would-be superhero team the Defenders
In other media
- The Nathan Garrett version of the Black Knight appeared in the Captain America/Avengers portion of The Marvel Superheroes as a member of Baron Heinrich Zemo's Masters of Evil. He appears solo in an episode of The Invincible Iron Man segment.
- The medieval Black Knight appeared in the "Knights & Demons" episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, scripted by Don Glut. Dane Whitman was also to appear, but was rejected to avoid confusion.