Caleb Crane (Earth-616) from Sub-Mariner Comics Vol 1 8 002

Caleb Crane

In the early days of 1943, after inheriting money from a deceased relative, Caleb Crane fancied himself a writer of murder mystery stories. However, time and time again his stories were rejected by publishers. When his most recent story was rejected by "Death Stories Magazine", the editor suggested that he write about things he knew about. Crane decided to take this advice to heart by actually going out and committing a murder so that he could write a story about one. Putting on a mask, he went out into the streets and robbed a woman of her pearl necklace and choked her to death, he then left a white carnation on her corpse. The woman's dying screams were heard by the Angel from whom Crane managed to escape. Getting home, he was so excited that his hands were shaking, but he was still able to write a story. When he had submitted the story to Death Stories Magazine, they were blown away by the realism and bought it right away.

The following day, the newspapers were referring to Crane's criminal persona as the White Carnation. The Angel made a connection between his actual crime and the story and attempted to capture Crane. Defending himself from the hero, Crane pointed out that the Angel had no proof that he actually committed the murders, leaving the Angel to give up for the time being.

Getting underworld connections, Crane learned that the Grogan mob was going to hit the Red Cat Cafe that night and went there as well. Also there was the Angel, and when Grogan's men hit the establishment, Crane tried to stop the crooks, eliminating any suspicion the Angel had of him. Following after Grogan, Caleb convinced the mobster that he was out to help him, but instead shot Grogan dead and had his body dumped in the harbor. Caleb then confronted Grogan's mob with the stolen loot and offered them 100% of the winnings. He surprised them with an offer they did not refuse: Allow him to be their leader, and he would let them keep all their ill gotten gains so long as they told him every detail of the crimes they pulled so that he could write stories about them.

Soon, Crane's ego got the better of him and walked into a trap set by the Angel. When the hero set up a false publishing company, Crane made a submission which the Angel flat out rejected. When Crane arrived at the fake publishing company's office to eliminate the Angel and frame it on one of his fictional writers, he was caught in the act, leading to a fight. The Angel beat Crane into submission, and Crane agreed to confess.

However, this was a grandstand play to play into his ego some more, and Caleb wrote a story about his capture, court trial, and sentencing to the death penalty. He had hoped to tug the heart strings of the American people so that they could convince the governor to stay his execution. When this did not work, Crane then asked the warden to allow him to write one last story using a typewriter made to his specifications. Unknown to the warden, these specifications included parts of the typewriter that could be assembled into a gun, and Crane attempted to escape with the help of his gang.

Crane was captured once more by the Angel, and this time the crook accepted his fate, finishing his final story. He thanked the Angel for his genius and allowed himself to be executed on the electric chair.[1]


Crane armed himself with a loaded walking stick and sometimes carried a gun or a knife. In prison, he had a typewriter that could be disassembled allowing select parts be made into a crude gun.

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