Bobby Lathrop is the youngest child of Jim Lathrop a rancher who lived in the town of Leadville, Texas during the days of the American Frontier. Bobby and his older sister Marie lived on the ranch with their father.
Bobby idolized the masked hero known as the Black Rider who often defended their town. When the area was terrorized by Snake Bostwick and his gang, Jim's ranch was targeted by them. During a gun fight, Bobby was clipped in the leg by a bullet and sought the medical aid of local doctor Matthew Masters.
He accidentally walked in on Masters as he was changing into his alter ego the Black Rider, and discovered his secret identity. Bobby was delighted to learn that Masters was the Black Rider, but promised to keep his double identity a secret. Later, when the Black Raider was surrounded by Snake's gang, Bobby then came to his aid with a shotgun blazing, giving the Black Rider the edge he needed to beat the gang he was fighting.
Thereafter, Bobby had became the Black Rider's closest confident, helping him on various adventures while keeping his idols double-identity secret. However, this still did not stop Bobby from having some fun at Marie's expense by teasing her about the Black Rider (a man Marie loved) and Matthew Masters (a man Marie despised), as she was oblivious to the fact that they were the same men. Bobby was more often than not a casual observer of the Black Rider's adventures however he was sometimes a help.
Such as when outlaw Tod Sultan posed as the Black Rider and murdered the sheriff. Seeking the truth, Bobby went to Matthew Masters office and found Masters tied up after being knocked out by Sultan. Bobby then informed Masters that his sister was kidnapped by the phony Rider. With Bobby's help, Masters slew Sultan, clearing his name, rescuing Marie and preserving his double identity.
When cattle began going missing on his fathers ranch, Bobby informed the Black Rider which put the hero on the trail of the insane Professor Chalis and his giants. When railroad politico Mr. Cantrel came to town he secretly instigated a nearby Native American tribe to go on the warpath in order to drive ranchers from their homes. One of the ranches attacked was the one owned by Jim Lathrop. Bobby helped his father and ranch hands defend the property but he was wounded by an arrow. The timely arrival of Matthew Masters helped save Bobby's life and he soon recovered from his injuries. Bobby also watched in horror as his sister Marie was taken hostage by the outlaw known as the Fox who was later gunned down by the Black Rider. After that, Bobby assisted his father and the Black Rider in defending the family ranch from yet another attack by outlaws. In the aftermath of the battle the Black Rider told Bobby his origins. When Marie and Matthew Masters were taken prisoner by Smoke and his Border Riders, Bobby disguised himself as the Black Rider and followed after them. Bobby created a distraction long enough to free Masters and return the costume so that the real Black Rider could dispatch the outlaws.
Soon afterward, Doc Masters left Leadville to become a frontier doctor for a time. Bobby's subsequent activities during his absence are unrecorded. However during that time he was apparently able to keep the secret of the Black Rider's double identity. When both Masters and his alter-ego returned to Leadville, Bobby was still living on his father's ranch with his sister Marie. With the return of the Black Rider also saw the return of regular dangers and threats to the Lathrop clan. When Hatchet Haines posed as the Black Rider, he demanded that Jim sell his ranch at a very low price. Fooled by the disguise, Jim refused to sell and was shot by the phony Black Rider who then kidnapped Marie and fled. Apparently the Black Rider's long term absence diminished Bobby's unwavering faith in the hero. Falling for Haines' disguise, Bobby took his father's gun and confronted Matthew Masters at his doctors office to get revenge. However, Masters was able to convince Bobby that his father was shot by an impostor. As the Black Rider, Masters slew Haines, rescued Marie and cleared his name.
With his faith in the Black Rider restored, Bobby came to the Black Rider's aid when he was tricked into leading the US army into an ambush by Bush Kellem that led to the Black Rider being arrested. Bobby learned of Kellem's plot to storm the fort with his minions while disguised as Native Americans and helped the Black Rider escape from his cell long enough to stop Kellem and clear his name. When Bobby witnessed the murder of some of his father's ranch hands, he was kidnapped by Trigger Tracy who sought to murder the boy in order to prevent him from testifying against him in court. The Black Rider however tracked down Trigger and rescued Bobby and brought Trigger to justice. Bobby was not immune to the cruelty of the west, a lesson he learned painfully when a ranch hand his father recently fired got revenge by killing Bobby's horse, Paint. However he learned that there was still kindness to be found after the Black Rider got revenge for Bobby and caught and tamed a new horse for the boy to ride. Noticing that the Black Rider was particularly close to the Lathrop family, outlaw Trip Tomlin confronted Bobby and demanded to know the Black Rider's secret identity. Bobby let slip that he knew it but refused to say who the masked hero really was. Trip kidnapped the boy and tried to beat a confession out of him. Bobby bravely kept silent but one of the blows he suffered was too hard and Bobby was knocked into a coma. Fearing the boy may die before revealing the Black Rider's secret, Trip ironically kidnapped the Black Rider's alter-ego Matthew Masters to treat him, kidnapping Bobby's sister Marie in the process as well. Masters treated the boy, who regained consciousness. Bobby then agreed to tell Trip the Black Rider's secret identity, provided that Masters be sent out of the room. This ruse allowed Matthew to change into the Black Rider and slay Tomlin and his gang before they could force Bobby to tell the truth.
Bobby later found himself wounded by outlaws on two separate occasions, the first time by outlaw Blackie Thorp while protecting his dog from a bullet in front of Matthew Masters and Marie Lathrop. Marie was furious as Masters for doing nothing due to his oath to shun violence, but Masters treated the boy's superficial wounds and got revenge against Thorp as the Black Rider. Bobby was later shot by cattle rustlers, and Marie took him to Dr. Stevens a fraud and rival for Marie's affections who was secretly in league with the rustlers. When Stevens lack of skill was revealed when he did a hatchet job trying to pull the bullet from Bobby's leg, a tearful Marie took Bobby the Matthew Masters for proper treatment. After pulled the bullet from Bobby's leg, Masters exposed Stevens as the Black Rider. Later while playing out on the land, Bobby found a hidden stash of fools gold. Spotted by some outlaws who mistook it for the genuine article, the stole it from him and kidnapped the boy intending to kill him. Bobby was once again rescued by the Black Rider, who put an end to the gold thieves. When Bobby spotted the so-called Specter of Doom he was frightened into hysterics that were dismissed as a fever. After being treated by Matthew Masters, the Black Rider exposed the "ghost" as outlaw Mad Dog Murdock, Bobby eventually got over his hysterics.
Later, Bobby's father Jim was the star witness in the trail against outlaw Curly Adams. Adams had his gang kidnap Bobby and his sister Marie in order to prevent Jim from testifying against Adams. However, the pair were rescued by the Black Rider, and Jim's testimony led to Adams being punished for his crimes. Soon after, Bobby and his sister left town on a trip along the Golden Express Railroad, and unknown to them were saved from a disaster when the Black Rider prevented outlaw Jack Grimes from blowing up the rail bridge leading out of town. After Bobby and his sister returned home the siblings were kidnapped once again, this time by outlaw Stinger Ray who wished to force their father into allowing him to marry Marie. However, like in previous kidnap attempts the pair were rescued by the Black Rider. Bobby was also present when Leadville was terrorized by the seemingly undying outlaw known as the Spider as well the Lobo gang and their pack of trained wolves. In both instances Bobby and his family were protected by the Black Rider.
Not long after the apparent death of the Spider, Bobby explored a Old Ghost Cliffs and found that the outlaw was still alive and well. Mistaking him for a ghost, Bobby was chased away and ran into the Black Rider, who investigated the situation ultimately ending the Spider falling off the cliffs to his death. Shortly thereafter, an outlaw named Skinner made a connection between the Black Rider and Matthew Masters. He kidnapped Masters in front of Bobby, who then failed to rescue his friend afterwards. With Bobby also a hostage, Masters convinced Skinenr and his men that he could produce the Black Rider and was allowed to leave. Masters quickly changed into his costumed identity and got the drop on Skinner and his gang, freeing Bobby in the process.
Not long after Bobby fell ill with a fever, necessitating Dr. Masters to treat him. Masters and Bobby's sister Marie were kidnapped by Slasher Slade who also made a connection between Masters and the Black Rider. However, Matthew managed to use the same trick to fool and capture Slasher and his gang and eventually treated Bobby for his illness. Shortly thereafter, Bobby and his family were held hostage by an outlaw named Spur Cameron in a botched attempt to rustle the Lathrop ranch of it's cattle and ended with Cameron being wounded by the local ranch hands. However in this situation the Lathrop family were saved by Dr. Masters, who at the time had his medical license revoked following the death of Burt Wyatt the only witness in Cameron's court trial. Masters forced Cameron to confess his crimes in exchange for medical treatment and Bobby was sent to fetch Sheriff Ben Yarby when Masters managed to take Spur's gun and force him to surrender.
Bobby continued to faithfully keep the Black Rider's identity a secret for the remainder of his career in Leadville.
Bobby sometimes carried a rifle.
Bobby Lathrop should not be confused with his nephew of the same name who appeared in Wild Western #5.
- 27 Appearances of Robert Lathrop (Earth-616)
- Minor Appearances of Robert Lathrop (Earth-616)
- Media Robert Lathrop (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- Images featuring Robert Lathrop (Earth-616)
- Quotations by or about Robert Lathrop (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Robert Lathrop (Earth-616)
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- ↑ All Western Winners #4
- ↑ Two-Gun Kid #9
- ↑ Black Rider #8
- ↑ Black Rider #9
- ↑ Wild Western #11
- ↑ Black Rider #10
- ↑ Wild Western #12
- ↑ Black Rider #19
- ↑ Black Rider #20
- ↑ Black Rider #21
- ↑ Kid Colt Outlaw #35
- ↑ Black Rider #22
- ↑ Wild Western #35
- ↑ Black Rider #24
- ↑ Kid Colt Outlaw #41
- ↑ Wild Western #37
- ↑ Black Rider #26
- ↑ Kid Colt Outlaw #45
- ↑ Wild Western #41
- ↑ Black Rider #27
- ↑ Western Tales of Black Rider #28
- ↑ Western Tales of Black Rider #31
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