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Barr, Black. Black Barr was created by Erle Stanley Gardner (Major Copley Brane, Terry Clane, Bertha Cool, Ken Corning, Speed DashJax Keen, Barney Killigen, Bob Larkin, Lester Leith, Señor Lobo, The Man in the Silver MaskPerry Mason, Ed Migraine, Patent Leather Kid, Phantom Crook, Paul Pry (II), Doug Selby, Pete Wennick, White Rings, Gramps Wiggins, Bob Zane, Sidney Zoom) and appeared in eight stories in Black Mask, from 1925 to 1935, beginning with “The Girl Goes With Me” (Black Mask, Nov. 1925).

Black Barr is a Killer Vigilante. Barr is a cowboy, operating on the American frontier and fighting the usual assortment of cowboy enemies: shootists, scheming ranch owners, and Mexican and Chinese killers. Barr rescues women in distress. Barr gets into bar fights and watches tumbleweeds blow by. But Barr’s adventures are set during Prohibition, rather than the 1870s and 1880s. Barr is in some ways a western hero: he is known for settling disputes with his .45s, he is wanted by the law and has a price on his head, and he wanders the frontier, searching for peace but finding only conflict. But Barr is also a college educated man and carries many books with him wherever he goes. Barr is not a perfect man; he is given to strong, even killing rages—along the border he is known as “The Executioner of Fate,” and (he is told) the Mexicans “think that you stand for justice. They think that when some man gets too powerful and wicked, Fate sends you along to adjust matters.” Barr has no sidekick and loves no woman, for he is a killer, and “the love of a good woman is not for me.”

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