Sunday, March 9, 2008

Tomahawk Comics 2

video
Some of these story ideas from these comics are wildly imaginative. I'd turn over some of these ideas to kids and let them try to pen their own stories and/or dialogue
The slide show displays some Tomahawk panel images I found. I tried to boost the resolution so they could be visible in the small video viewer. Again, I used a Last Of The Mohican song as a soundtrack. Some info about Tomahawk comics from comic book resources, author Scott Shaw

Title: Tomahawk
Issue: No. 90
Date: Jan. – Feb., 1964
Publisher: National Periodical Publications, Inc. (DC Comics)
Cover Artist(s): Bob Brown

Wow! If the Revolutionary War was even half as weirdly nutty as this cover depicts, I would have paid more attention during my high school American History classes!

TOMAHAWK’s first issue is date Sept. – Oct., 1950. It introduced Tomahawk, a raccoon-hat-and-buckskin-wearing frontiersman/scout and his young sidekick Dan Hunter. Initially, their stories were relatively realistic (for comic books, anyway) in which they battled Native American Indians and the British Redcoats during the Revolutionary War. (And check out that cool logo that’s shaped like a tomahawk!) But by the late 1950s, as the nation-wide fad built on Walt Disney’s “Davy Crockett” (one that at least partially fueled the comic’s success) began to fade, TOMAHAWK began to feature more and more fantasy elements, including dinosaurs, gorillas, cavemen, aliens, super-villains -- and, as this issue attests -- monsters! (Okay, it turns out to be a dinosaur –a really, really goofy-looking dinosaur -- but based on this cover, it could turn out to be just about anything that’s green and scaly!)

This issue’s 17-page cover story, “The Prisoner In The Pit”, Part 1, was written by France Herron and drawn by Fred Ray. It begins when the British steal a statue that was erected to honor one of Tomahawk’s rangers. “We’ll not only destroy it – we’ll melt it into gun-shot to fire back at the Yankees!” Tomahawk and his men vow to return the statue to its rightful owners. Later, while on their recovery mission, the Rangers find themselves pinned down by British cannon-fire. The team’s strongman, Big Anvil, single-handedly takes out a cannon, but in the process, causes an avalanche that blasts away a cliff-face, revealing a barred pit, one that contains a scaly “something”. The creature grabs the unconscious Big Anvil right through the bars of its prison, dragging him inside. Tomahawk and his Rangers follow, discovering that the barred chamber is connected to corridors of an ancient castle. There, they discover reptilian footprints, ranging from human-sized to monstrous, as well as wall paintings depicting Vikings! Tomahawk and his crew continue their search for Big Anvil, but that night, a huge, green dinosaur (somewhat resembling an Allosaurus with a big fin on top of its skull) attacks a nearby settlement. The Rangers show up, noticing that the critter seems to be afraid of fire. (Kinda disappointing, huh?) But while rescuing some locals, the “prisoner from the pit” grabs and holds helpless Tomahawk in one of its monstrous claws! In Part 2 of this story, “Secret Of The Thousand-Year Threat”, Dan Hunter tosses Tomahawk a fiery torch, which he uses to force the fin-headed dinosaur to let him go. The Rangers use more torches to drive the beast out of town, but as the sun rises and they attempt to track the marauding critter, they’re ambushed by a combination of British troops and Native American Indian warriors! Using the beast’s sunken footprints as makeshift foxholes, the Rangers evade their enemy’s bullets and arrows. Meanwhile, the commotion attracts the dinosaur’s attention and it soon puts the Ranger’s attackers to rout. Then it heads for a waterfall, through which it (and the tracking Rangers) passes, into a great cavern filled with the skeletal remains of similar time-lost reptiles – but still no sign of Big Anvil! As the beast turns its attention to its human pursuers, Tomahawk and company seek safety within the rib cage of one of the cavern’s deceased inhabitants. But their monstrous foe rolls their hiding place down a hill, shattering it! Before it can chow down on its buck-skinned brunch, it’s called off its master, one with a familiar voice – Big Anvil! It turns out that the critter grabbed the big lug because he was a dead ringer for it’s former master, one of the Vikings depicted on the walls of the castle’s corridors.

TOMAHAWK:
Your story explains many things! The beasts were SMALL when the Vikings captured them from a sorcerer’s castle – shown in the paintings! That’s why we saw LITTLE tracks – that were old…VERY old…They date back to the Viking raids of a THOUSAND YEARS AGO! The Vikings brought them here – built the castle, and kept their “pets” in the dungeons below! And when the Vikings didn’t return from a last voyage, the beasts were left to roam through the corridors – while the centuries slowly buried the castle…BUT…as they reached the end of their life span – which must be 1,000 years – they stalked here – to this graveyard – and died! This one is the LAST – and he, too, came here to die!

The Rangers return to their original mission, to recover that stolen statue. But when Tomahawk’s squad enters the enemy camp, a sentry immediately spots them. Fortunately, the beast has followed them, and after it sends the enemy packing, grabs the statue and returns to its graveyard, lying down to expire with the figure clasped to its reptilian chest.

TOMAHAWK:
THERE’S the reason! You know, the man who represented us Rangers on that statue was BIG ANVIL! The beast saw it -- and thought it WAS HIM, DEAD! So it brought it here – to die with its master!

BIG ANVIL:
We got our statue back – but I lost…a friend!

This issue also features the back-up story, “Booby-Trap Town”, also written by France Herron and drawn by Fred Ray (here’s its cool splash-panel), in which Tomahawk and Dan Hunter fall into “Star-Crater Swamp” and are shrunken to the miniature size of THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957)! To lighten things up a bit, there’s also a one-page “Chief Hot Foot” gag by cartoonist Henry Boltinoff in this funnybook. And this issue even sports a back-cover ad for Gilbert’s “Auto-Rama”, featuring artwork by the late, great Kurt Schaffenberger!

ODDBALL Factoid –TOMAHAWK No. 90 must have been a best-seller for DC, because only slightly over one year later, TOMAHAWK No. 104 would features a nearly identical cover (also drawn by Bob Brown), illustrating the 16-page story “The Fearful Freak Of Dunham’s Dungeon!” (which was again drawn by Fred Ray!) Note how the dungeon-monster’s eyes are bigger (and now bloodshot), its arm is grislier-looking, and Tomahawk and the Rangers’ reactions are more extreme…it’s as it editor Murray Boltinoff held up TOMAHAWK No. 90 to Bob Brown and said, “See this? Draw it all over again…only more so!” (If anything, this issue’s monster is even sillier – and here’s an image of it from this comic’s interior to prove it!)

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