Monday, May 31, 2010

A Disabled American Vet

I bet y'all thought ol' Jonah Hex was the only disfigured, ex-Confederate gunfighter floatin' around the comic book West. But he ain't! (Although I'm sure there were plenty in the real West.) Captain Doom debuted in Outlaws of the West #64 back in May of 1967. That's five whole years before Jonah Hex rode his way into All-Star Western #10!

Captain Doom would last for 11 issues of Outlaws of the West before ridin' off into the sunset.

Here we have his debut (albeit in a Modern Comics reprint from 1977). The writer is uncredited but the artwork is by Charles Nicholas with inks by Vince Alascia, Cover art by Rocco "Rocke" Mastroserio.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

CSI- Wild West!

Homer Fleming's Buck Marshall, Range Detective debuted in Detective Comics #1, in March of 1937. Buck would remain a regular feature up until issue #36. Detective Comics was the first comic book dedicated entirely to a single theme. In this case, detective stories. Each issue was 64 pages with various features. Most of them in color, but a few, like Buck were in black and white.

The story reprinted below hails from a later issue, #27. A comic book which is most often reprinted only because it marks the debut of another, more famous detective, Batman.

As you can see, Buck has moved on from being strictly black and white, to black, white and one color. Also, unlike his first appearance, Buck now has a pinto horse named "Pepper".

On a sidebar, I have a reprint of Buck's first appearance in Detective #1, but this just seemed like a better story to me. It is worth noting, however that in the previous story, Buck is also tipped off to the fact that someone has moved a murdered man's body by the presence of yellow clay.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What The HEX Goin' On Here? All-Star Western #10

The recurring heroes in Western comics were traditionally cut from heroic cloth. Guys like Red Ryder, The Lemonade Kid, NightHawk... Maybe some of them wore masks, but they weren't outlaws or bandits, just guys with secret identities. And even the guys who were "outlaws" were never really bad. Guys like The Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt, The Outlaw Kid, the Two-Gun Kid (Weren't there any grown-ups in the West?) were branded as outlaws, but they were all falsely accused.

Sure, there were a few misfits, mostly Indians or "half-breed" characters who weren't accepted by the folks they tried to help. But the reader knew about their troubled, noble hearts and so that was okay.

This approach lasted from the Golden Age of the late 30's all the way through the 1960's. And then, in 1971, a new type of hero began to surface in the fabric of American Western comics. The ANTI-hero. What's an anti-hero?

"In fiction, an antihero is generally considered to be a protagonist whose character is at least in some regards conspicuously contrary to that of the archetypal hero, and is in some instances its antithesis." - Wikipedia

Jonah Hex is not a typical hero. He is not handsome (although he may have been once). He is not noble (He kills men for money). Jonah Hex is a horribly disfigured Confederate veteran who makes his living as a bounty hunter. And he's mean. Plumb, mad-dog mean.

Enjoy his debut in All-Star Western #10, "Welcome to Paradise"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Hero With Horse Sense!

Howdy folks! My amigo, Mykal "Two-Gun" Banta over ta "The Charlton Story" has posted a nifty piece of Western comics history! Be Sure to check out

The Charlton Story: BLACK FURY No. 33, November 1961

Not only do you get a great Western story starring a horse, there's also a back-up feature about one-a them masked hombres! So mosy on over an' tell 'em Marshal Bias sent ya!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Four out of Five Soldiers Who Tried Camels Preferred Horses

In 1856, the United States Army imported 34 camels to be utilized in the American Southwest. The cavalrymen who were assigned to the animals had no understanding of how to ride them, how to care for them, or even the slightest notion of camel psychology. To complicate matters further, the American Civil War broke out and the majority of the Camels (which had been delivered to Texas) were in the hands of the Confederate Army, who ignored them altogether as potential mounts.

When the War ended, the Military had lost all interest in its camels and they were sold or turned loose. Eventually all of the former Army camels either died or were shot.

The following story is set in 1874. Which is not only nearly a decade after the last camel saw military service in the U.S., it's also far too late for the Shako hats the troopers are wearing. But, I'm not here to be the anachronism police, so please enjoy this unusual yarn from Amazing High Adventure #3 , October 1986. Story by Mike Baron, art by John Severin.

Monday, May 24, 2010

His Name is RIO...

Doug Wildey is probably best remembered for his role designing the distinctive look of Hanna-Barbera's "Jonny Quest". Wildey also worked on numerous comic books including Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock and Tarzan.

Wildey was a fantastic draftsman with a real flair for realistic anatomy and characterization.

Here we get a look at Wildey's own Western creation, RIO. My best guess is that Wildey did his inks and an ink wash over his pencils, then went back in with watercolor. The results are tremendous, giving a very believable feeling of light to the piece. From 1984's Eclipse Monthly #5, here's "Satan's Doorstep!":