The Red Bee

Created by Charles Nicholas

NAME + ALIASES:
Richard Raleigh (deceased)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Jenna Raleigh (great grand-neice)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
All-Star Squadron, Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Hit Comics #1 (July 1940)

APPEARANCES:

  • All-Star Squadron #31-35
  • Hit Comics #1-24 (July 1940–Oct. 1942)
  • Starman v.2 #37
red bee 2

NAME + ALIASES:
Jenna Raleigh

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Rick Raleigh (the Red Bee, great uncle, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters v.1 #5 (January 2007)

APPEARANCES:  

  • Freedom Fighters vol. 2 #8
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters, v.1 #5-8
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters, v.2 #1-8

SEE ALSO:

+ History

red bee
A valiant end. From All-Star Squadron #35 (1984). Art by Rick Hoberg.
From U.S. & the F. F. v.1 #5 (2007). Art by Daniel Acuña.
red bee ii
Transformed. From Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters v.2 #2 (2008). Art by Renato Arlem.

It’s hard to suppress a laugh when reading some of the Red Bee’s adventures. But consider: he was preceded by the “Green Hornet,” and “Blue Beetle,” both successes. Blame it on the trained bee. Regardless, the character is immortalized as much for its absurdity as it is for having been featured on the cover of Hit Comics #1, 5 and 7—elegantly drawn by Lou Fine. Fine drew the Red Bee on the cover of Hit Comics #1, but did not draw the first adventure, which looks like it was drawn in the Iger studio. The art is poor, and resembles the work of Charles Nicholas (Wojtkoski), but it was always signed with the pen name “B. H. Apiary” (an apiary is a collection of beehives). Later appearances (beginning with Hit #10) are clearly the work of Witmer Williams (who sometimes signed his work “by Clark Williams”). Williams’ characters in the “Eagle Evans” feature in Police Comics are dead ringers for the forms seen in his “Red Bee.” Williams was also known to be an Iger studio employee at this time. (Alter Ego #21)

Rick Raleigh, the assistant District Attorney Hawkes of Superior City, decided to expedite the process of law and order by becoming a mystery man—the Red Bee! He dared to fight crime with naught but his own two fists and a trained bee named Michael. In his first case, he brought about the conviction of Boss Storm, head of a corrupt political machine. (Hit Comics #1)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

DC

The Red Bee’s DC and Quality histories mix seamlessly, especially because his original adventures were so few.

After the U.S. entrance into World War II, the Red Bee decided to enlist his services with the All-Star Squadron. At his first meeting, he met Uncle Sam and joined his splinter group, the Freedom Fighters. They moved to stop Baron Blitzkrieg’s invasion of Santa Barbara, California. There the Red Bee sacrificed his life in the effort; he was murdered by Blitzkrieg, who broke Raleigh’s body on a jagged outcropping. (All-Star Squadron #31-35)

[ Q C. ]

The Red Bee II

Rick Raleigh is succeeded by the granddaughter of one of his siblings, Jenna Raleigh (Red Bee II), who joined Uncle Sam’s newFreedom Fighters.

Jenna was among several heroes kept in reserve by Uncle Sam and called to action when the Presidency was infiltrated by the alien called Gonzo. (Uncle Sam & the FF #5) She had received Rick Raleigh’s old equipment from Uncle Sam and fashioned it into formidable mechanical weapons, including a suit that enabled her to fly, and robot bees that delivered a powerful “sting.” (#6)

[ Q C. ]

Witmer Williams' signature facial rendering appears (left to right) in Hit #11, Police #4 (Eagle Evans), and Feature #59 (Spin Shaw). In the Red Bee's first appearances (bottom right) the art is much more stiff. That original artist's work appears on the feature through Hit #9.

 

+ Powers

The Red Bee had a lone trained bee named Michael. Stored in his belt, Michael could be unleashed on opponents. (Michael was not a honey bee, because he did not die after releasing his stinger.) Raleigh was also a superb fighter.

Jenna uses a formidable array of advanced weaponry that enables her to fly, and emit stinging blasts from her wrists. Temporarily, she was empowered by an insectoid alien race which gave her mental control over humans and transformed her body. Her red skin and antenna receded once she was cleared of this “infection,” but she did maintain some empathic link with that race. She may still have some residual communicative ability with insects.