Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Coming Of Red Wolf!

Neal Adams
One of my single favorite comic book characters is Red Wolf. A rough and tumble Native American hero, Red Wolf is beset by many but not all the stereotypes which come with that pop culture territory. Johnny Wakely was an oddity when he debuted in the 1971 premiere issue of Marvel Spotlight. Not only was he an ethnic minority hero but his story was set in the West, the first new Western Marvel had launched in several years at that time.

Gardner Fox, recently departed from his long tenure at DC took on the writing reins of this venture ably assisted by Syd Shores, a longtime veteran of the Marvel Bullpen, most fondly remembered these days for his lush inking jobs. That first issue was inked by Wally Wood no less, giving this first story of the Western Red Wolf an excellent pedigree when it came to raw talent.

John Buscema & Tom Palmer
The character of Red Wolf was created by Roy Thomas in an outstanding issue of The Avengers drawn by John Buscema and Tom Palmer. The Red Wolf of this tale was Will Talltrees, a modern man drawn to his traditional roots by circumstances and the criminality of Cornelius Van Lundt, a villain who would prove to become an Avengers mainstay.

Partnered with is feral comrade Lobo, Red Wolf stalked the brick and mortar canyons of the Big Apple in search of justice. He is eventually assisted by the Avengers and after much derring and do established for future stories. They don't come for a very long time. Instead the idea is to take the character back to the Old West. After the success of the single try-out issue, Red Wolf is launched as new self-titled comic in the Marvel line-up.

Gil Kane & John Severin
Gil Kane
Syd Shores
Syd Shores
Gil Kane
Syd Shores
Featuring stories by Fox, and artwork by Shores under covers by Shores and Gil Kane, the series rambled along for six issues before abruptly the action switched off to the present day. Red Wolf went by the name of Thomas Thunderhead, but presumably this is an alias used by Will Talltrees, or so the ret-cons would have us believe.

Rich Buckler & Joe Sinnott
Ron Wilson, John Romita & Joe Sinnott
Ron Wilson, John Romita & Mike Esposito
Alas after just three more issues the comic book was cancelled and Red Wolf, both vintage and modern would disappear into the mists of Marvel mythology. He shows up now and again, bott in the modern era as a guest-star in Tigra's short-lived series and part of the short-lived team the Rangers, and in the Old West alongside other Marvel stars like Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, and others.

Red Wolf  was a hero on his own, no Tonto looking for a kimosabe here.

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  1. This Is Why I Dojo!
    Red Wolf
    For a 9-10 year old boy to see this comic on the spinner...
    Very interested in American Indian Art and Culture
    This Was Too Cool For Me.
    I Mean, Just Look At That Hero

    1. The image of Red Wolf stalking the NYC streets is magnificent. It's too bad that when he shows up later he is kept in the wilderness for the most part. Urban action is the thing for him.

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