Lee Elias
'Ave you ever 
'ad to live a lie? 
Well, I 'ave and I can bloody well tell you it's hell!
   Lee Elias, English-born artist whose creative brush brings the Black Cat to graphic
   glory, was referring to the peculiar events surrounding his introduction to the woman
   who is now his wife. An accomplished dialectician, he wooed and won his wife while
   pretending to be an English refugee. Of course, during the weeks following, his accent
   became quickly Americanized and by the time he was married, he'd dropped all guise
   and admitted leaving England at the age of six.
Elias' versatility goes on to the field of music, where talent and encouragement, in the form of a scholarship led him to aspire to a concert violinist career. "I still fiddle with the fiddle," he says, "but my new love, the Black Cat, is a rather jealous creature." Remarking on the split-personality of Hollywood's most glamorous movie-detective star, Elias asserts, "Give me Linda Turner... sweet and clinging for a real life companion, but the adventurer in me can't help but get a bang out of the more dynamic side of her character."

Seated in front of his drawing board, pencils sharpened, brushes in readiness, favorite brand of cigarettes nearby, radio softly playing classical music, Lee (nee Leopold) starts in by scribbling, erasing, scribbling, erasing. A few hours later, the Black Cat in her latest dare-devil adventure has emerged. He prefers working late at night, believes it's more conducive to thinking and usually works right through until eight or nine in the morning.

A fiend for authenticity, Elias uses a mirror to capture gestures, enacts all the judo stunts he illustrates, and swears by their credibility. He is a conscientious craftsman, who worries over items such as faithfully reproducing latest car models, Hollywood movie star caricatures, the type of suit Linda Turner's news-hawk boyfriend, Rick Home, should wear. He will painstakingly spend time to draw a glen-plaid suit pattern line for line.

Leopold "Lee" Elias was born in Manchester, England on May 21, 1920. Six years later he came to America with his grandmother and attended school in Brooklyn. He studied music under the tutorship of Israel Epstein and supported himself by playing the violin at club dates, recitals and on the radio.

He is 5 ft. 7 in. tall and his 153 pounds fill out a suit nicely. Elias is a natty dresser. He has dark brown hair, large light blue eyes, which usually are serious. Elias is a serious fellow. He does not take life lightly. He was married in 1942. When the first child, a daughter, arrived in 1944, he carefully selected her name for its monogram value- Adrienne Victoria Elias.

Elias lives in a three-room apartment in Brooklyn, which he calls his "temporary" home. The clatter of a malicious neighbor upstairs sometimes makes work very trying. He hopes to have his own home soon. He is a temperamental artist, whose work has earned the highest respect in the comics magazine field. In motion pictures, he prefers adventure films. Likes the "blood and thunder." In person, Elias is very soft-spoken and unassuming. He looks and acts like none of his belligerent villains.

Modest and sincere in his artistic endeavors, he enjoys being praised for his efforts and will listen to criticism with an open mind. He is always bent on improving the Black Cat art, on introducing new gimmicks and brush techniques. Every so often he gets together for a duet with a friend who plays the piano. Aside from the relaxation and enjoyment, these musical evenings stave off his becoming rusty on the violin. He also paints whenever he has spare moments; refuses, however, to sell any paintings. "They take so much effort," he explains, "I feel as though they're my brain children and should be nurtured at home."

In addition to fathering his comic strip character Elias finds time for hunting and fishing trips. Like the Black Cat, his is a constant search for adventure and thrills.

Original version published by Alfred Harvey in Harvey Comics "BLACK CAT" No. 13 in the Summer of 1948.
Copyright Lorne-Harvey Publications, Inc.    ;     All Rights Reserved
Buy Comics