Created by Rodlow Willard and Eric Marlin
“The blood of a tiger coursed through his veins!”
–Ah! That explains it!
One of the more unusual comic book private eyes was Lt. BOB BENTON, who went by the name of TIGER MAN, like he was some sort of superhero. I mean, he had a Tiger-Car, a Tiger-Plane and a Tiger-Boat, all of which sported tiger-stripe orange-and-black paint jobs, and he worked out of an office he called the Tiger’s Den. He obviously had a thing for big striped cats.
A fighter pilot in World War II, Oklahoma boy Benton’s plane crashed in the Burmese jungle, where he was rescued by Pali and the local Dhama, who performs a blood transfusion, mingling Benton’s blood with that of a tiger who had attacked him. When Benton finally makes it back to his unit, the doctors are astounded to discovered he’s gained thirty pounds and grown two inches. And Bob’s equally astounded to discover that’s he’s now a millionaire, oil having been discovered on his land back home!
But he didn’t have superpowers. Not really. He may have been a little tougher than most, but he was really just your typical broad-shouldered lug, quick with his fists or a gun, advertising heavily, offering to help anyone who dials T-I-G-E-R M-A-N. And because he was wealthy, he could afford to work pro-bono. He was aided by Pali, who now works as his exceedingly loyal valet and still — naturally — speaks only in broken English. He had no superpowers, either.
About all Benton had going for him was that tiger blood and his wealth, plus a magic ring that glowed with light when there was danger. An image of a large tiger would appear behind him whenever he was angry, although it’s hard to tell if this was real or a symbolic affectation on the artist’s part. Certainly, nobody ever stopped the action to ask “Hey! What the hell’s that on the wall behind you?”
Tiger Man (no relation to Mickey Spillane‘s hard-boiled spy Tiger Mann) appeared in 18 issues of Rangers Comics (#28-46) and, according to some, contained some of the best detective-adventure art of the day. I’m not convinced, although certainly the whole tiger schtick and the multi-part story arcs (particularly Bob’s ongoing battle with the corrupt cops and city administration of Metropolis City (Metropolis? Really?) showed more ambition in the writing than most.
- Among the various other characters whose stories appeared in Rangers Comics was vigilante and sometime private eye Glory Forbes.
- RANGERS COMICS
(1942-52, Fiction House)
Tiger Man appeared in issues #28-46
- The Complete Tiger Man: The Blood Of The Tiger In His Veins, And Just a Phone Call Away! (2018) | Buy this book