The Night Hawk
Real Name: Thurston Kyle
Identity/Class: Armoured human
Occupation: Scientist and crimefighter
Affiliations: Partner of Sparrowhawk, ally of Nelson Lee, Nipper, Scrapper Huggins, Mr Kyle's Kittens, Sir John
Enemies: Master of the World, Silas Benton and his gang, the Destroyers, Los Vampiros del Aire
Known Relatives: "Snub" Hawkins (ward), unidentified father (deceased)
Aliases: King of the Air
Base of Operations: Unknown
First Appearance: Nelson Lee Library #11 (Amalgamated Press, 5th April 1930)
Powers/Abilities: Wears a suit of winged armour that enables him to fly. He uses pistols to shoot targets on the ground, and is also an excellent hand-to-hand fighter.
History: When scientist Thurston Kyle's father was murdered by the Benton gang, Britain's greatest criminal band, he devoted the next several years of his life to fighting them, helped by his assistant, "Snub" Hawkins. Eventually he designed a winged suit of armour that allowed him to fly and used it to become the vigilante Night Hawk, King of Air. He dismantled Silas Benton's gang, prompting the crook to flee to Europe, but the relentless Night Hawk pursued him. When Benton disembarked from a train at an Alpine station just inside the Swiss border, thinking he had evaded capture, Night Hawk swooped down and snatched him into the air, then carried him up to a plateau on one of the Jura mountains. Night Hawk then took off his wings and challenged Benton to a fair fight, making it clear there was no safe way to descend without the wings and that only one of them would leave alive. Despite Benton pulling a knife, Night Hawk won the brawl, then, ignoring Benton's tearful and terrified please for clemency, Night Hawk lifted his foe aloft and hurled him over the edge.
Night Hawk went on to target other criminals such as the American gang dubbed "the Destroyers," recruiting boxer Scrapper Huggins and his friends (the weirdly self-titled "Mr. Kyle's Kittens") to help the cause. He even allied with fellow crimefighter Nelson Lee to stop the self-titled Master of the World. He eventually outfitted Snub in a similar suit, allowing him to become Sparrowhawk.
Comments: Created by John James Brearley Garbutt.
The Night Hawk appeared as a back-up feature in the Nelson Lee Library (the main stories being those of the detective after whom the magazine was named). Nelson Lee Library #11-17 (5th April to 17th May 193) dealt with his fight to bring down Silas Benton, after which he took a break from the title, returning in issues #32, 36, 40, 43, 51-64 and 69-84. Three of his adventures were reprinted in Boys' Friend Library #352, 362 and 379, and in 2014 Joseph Levece released a collection reprinting four original Night Hawk adventures alongside four new tales.
Thanks to Steven Montgomery for informing me of this character, and providing me with the original picture I had of him.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Night Hawk, Harvey Comics' Golden Age hero
Nighthawk, member of Marvel's Defenders
Nighthawk, member of the Squadron Supreme
KnightHawk from Continuity Comics
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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