The Whistler

Created by Vernon Henkel

Mallory Drake

National Comics
#48 (June 1945)

National Comics #48–54 (June 1945–June 1946)


Splash from National #52 (1946). Art by Vernon Henkel.

The Whistler was an odd addition to the Quality line-up. By 1945, there were few masked heroes being created—in fact most of them were being discontinued. What’s even more unusual was that the Whistler was created by Vern Henkel, who admitted he didn’t care for super-heroes. That said, the Whistler was barely “super.”

When Mallory Drake was hired as a police reporter, he rushed off to tell his brother Jerry, who performed as a jazz whistler. Jerry noted that Mallory himself was quite the mimic, and a master whistler himself. Just then, thugs came in to harass Jerry’s boss. When Jerry defended him, he was shot and killed. With his dying breath he asked his brother to use his eerie whistling ability to strike fear into criminals. When Mallory donned a mask (looking like a red Spirit), he found that something about the vibrational tone of his whistle put terror into even the truest heart. Although his masked career was a success, Mallory’s editor didn’t buy his story about a “Whistler,” and rejected it. (National #48)

[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]


The Whistler was also the name of a popular radio mystery drama which began in 1942. It was adapted into a series of film noir B-movies by Columbia. This production had nothing to do with jazz or reporters.

+ Powers

The Whistler's innately generated tunes had a quality that seemed super-human. It struck great fear into his opponents. He could throw the sound of his whistle across space, and create blood-chilling, paralytic reactions in his foes. When he was tied up, he even whistled so acutely that it fired a gun! (#50)