First Appearance: All-Western Winners #2 (Winter 1948).
Appearances. All-Western Winners #2-4, Best Western #58-59, Black Rider #8-27, Black Rider Rides Again! #1, Kid Colt Outlaw #33-45, 74, 86, Outlaw Kid #1-2, Rex Hart #6, Ringo Kid Western #2, Two-Gun Kid #5, 9, 11-12, Two Gun Western v1 #13, Two-Gun Western v2 #5, Western Gunfighters #3-7, Western Outlaws and Sheriffs #73, Western Tales of the Black Rider #28-31, Western Winners #5-6, Wild Western #5, 9-19, 33-34.
Years Active: 1870s?
One of the mystery men of Marvel's Old West, the Black Rider is actually a man with a troubled past. A brutal gang of thugs was holding Jefferson County, Texas, hostage until the notorious Cactus Kid rode into town and entered the Last Chance Saloon. The Kid had a price on his head in dozens of counties and was widely feared. Something happened in the Last Chance Saloon, something that resulted in the gang of thugs being wiped out and the Cactus Kid being captured. The Governor of Texas requested a meeting with the Cactus Kid and, moved by the Kid's remorse, granted him a pardon for his past misdeeds and a scholarship to medical school.
Matthew Masters, still only a young man, became a doctor and healer. But years later, in the town of Leadville, a thug working on driving settlers off their lands killed one of Masters' patients in front of Masters and several witnesses. Masters, reluctant to return to his previous vicious ways, did nothing and was branded a coward by the townfolk. Masters, stung by that label and unwilling to let that sort of evil continue, fashioned himself a mask and costume and avenged his patient's death. After that Masters continued to fight crime as the Black Mask, riding his horse Satan whenever evil threatens.
Note: In Western Gunfighters, the 1970s reprint book, the Black Rider's adventures were re-edited and he was renamed "Black Mask."