Johnny Thunder was a long running cowboy hero from a period when both Marvel & DC had a ton of 'em. Like Daredevil, mild mannered John Tane had promised his Ma he'd never raise a hand in violence and so became the town's schoolmaster, but unfortunately his Sheriff Pa was always on at him to become his deputy and help out with the owlhoots causing trouble around town.
If you're unsure of John's solution, you've clearly never read a comic before, as sidestepping the mask route beloved of DC's Nighthawk and Marvel's original Ghost Rider, John becomes Johnny Thunder, scourge of desperados everywhere, by the simple expedient of... er, dying his hair and naming his horse Black Lightnin', even though it's as white as a polar bear sucking a mint in a snowstorm.
Granted, Johnny was no Jonah Hex, but he was drawn by Gil Kane, raising him instantly head and shoulders above all the other western heroes out there. Here he is in '50's action:
But whatever happened to him? Well, it seems he got involved with another sharpshootin' hero, a female one named Madam.44. and the pair spent a good few issues circling round each other after discovering their respective secret identities. I don't have that story, sadly, but here's the follow-up, courtesy of Whatever Happened To...?
Thulsa Thoth Lipshitz Strikes! Or should that be Thulsa Thoth Lipshitz Thrikes? Whichever, it's all happening over at Rec. Road this week, where swords are savage!
While over at:
We're asking, which creator would you follow absolutely anywhere, and buy everything they do no matter what? Even if they were assigned your absolute least favourite character or series? We're picking ours. Pick yours, at kidsfromrecroad.blogspot.com
Regular followers of The Kids From Rec. Road will, of course, already know where we're going to find our villain. The rest of you, even if you don't know him, you do know him, if you know what I mean... y'know?
While over at:
We're asking: Who's the one character you'd follow anywhere, even if they were assigned your absolute least favourite creative team? We're picking ours. Pick yours. Join in at kidsfromrecroad.blogspot.com
In an age of derivative Barbarians, I think it's fair to say that Claw The Unconquered was probably the most derivative sword and sorcery hero out there. When your first issue is illustrated by Ernie Chan, the man only just behind John Buscema & Alfredo Alcala as artist with most Conan stories under his belt, you're really inviting kids to pick the book up by mistake, thinking they're getting the Cimmerian.
Claw is the rightful king of yadda yadda and instead of a right hand is cursed with a Demon blah blah, is being hunted by a sorcerer because of something something and spends his first 11 issues stealing magic jewels, fighting slimy monsters, rescuing wenches and generally doing everything that Conan does every month.
It's all perfectly acceptable stuff, and everyone involved does a solid, professional job ( scribe David Michelinie, for instance, admirably coping with what must've been a difficult premise ) but there's no energy to any of it, and you sort of sense no one's hearts are really in it. Until the last issue.
Don't get me wrong, Claw #12 is no lost masterpiece, but here Michelinie takes the gloves ( and gauntlet ) off and goes for broke.
Sure, the honourable bad guy is an old cliche, but it's one that I always like, and there is a genuine, brooding sense of futility about the world depicted in this story.
Claw is a doomed man, fighting an irrelevant war, basically because he has nothing else to do with his time, and for the first time, you feel it.
Keith Giffen also takes the opportunity with both hands, and the art fair drips with blood red passion, matching the script stroke for sword stroke...
Yep, in our never ending quest to rip off every sword & sorcery character ever, this week in The Kids From Rec. Road, Sean Phillips becomes Solomon Philbo! Hey, it makes sense if you read the strip...
While over at:
We're talking foreign comics / TV ( everything's foreign to somebody, after all ). What was your first experience? Metal Hurlant? The Flashing Blade? Sesame Street?
Tell all at kidsfromrecroad.blogspot.com
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