Friday, 13 December 2019

Whatever Happened To... Johnny Thunder?



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...?










15 comments:

  1. Very cute second story, having him tell it to the kiddos!

    Gene Poole

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  2. Some strong Lou Fine influence in Kane's art in that first story, & a touch of Toth.

    Regards,
    Chris A.

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  3. Always nice to see some Kane art that I'm not all that familiar with. Thanks.

    The only reason I even know who these characters are is because they (And all the other DC Silver Age western heroes) popped up in Veitch's Swamp Thing run.

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  4. The only reason I know is 'cos of this story! And yeah, Gil was a big fan of Lou Fine, as they all were of that generation, I think.

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  5. I never before saw this Kubert cover for Super DC Giant #22 which the first story reprint was in:

    http://images.wwcomics.com/images/large/TpGun_22_91.jpg

    Regards,
    Chris A.

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  6. Gil Kane is in my top five favorite comics artists list. I laugh when others complain of the infamous nostril shots.

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    1. Neal Adams did his fair share of those, too. Used sparingly a low "camera" angle can add dramatic impact to a shot.

      Regards,
      Chris A.

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    2. Gil Kane's best 70s up-the-nostrils shots were when he was inked by Klaus Janson, who's dramatic double lighting gave the pencils a more 3d quality, so you were really looking up those noses.

      -sean

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    3. It's great to see Klaus still working in the industry today.

      Gene Poole

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  7. I thought he was in the New York Dolls.

    - Neil

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  8. Been trying to post this at the Kids´s page, but it was impossible. So, here you are!

    Don´t know if somebody is reading it, but, I just want to wish all of you a very Happy Year!!!!

    Full of comics, of course. First stop -and I got my fingers firmly crossed- the graphic novel of David Bowie by Mike Allred that will be published next week (and in Spain at the end of January). Hate "Red Rocket 7", but, as a Bowie fan, I have the highest hopes for this. "Freak out in a moonage daydream. Oh yeah!"

    Manuel Ruiz

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    Replies
    1. Feliz Año Nuevo, Manuel! The French call comics bandes dessinees, the Brazilians call them quadrinhos and different South American countries call them novelitas or foto novelas. What do you call comics in Spain?

      Gene Poole

      Gene Poole

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  9. It's Tebeos. The fonetical form from TBO, a very popular magazine in the 40s and ahead here.

    Manuel Ruiz

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  10. In the last panel proud father John Tane refers to his son as "...bouncing baby boy Chuck..."; the real name of Bouncing Boy is Chuck Taine. Now that, people, is how you do an Easter egg.

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  11. Diversions of the Groovy Kind is back & with weekly instalments!

    Time for countermeasures, Pete! ;)

    Regards,
    Chris A.

    ReplyDelete