What would comicbooks be today, without The Lone Ranger? Everyone has some recollection of the iconic vigilante gunslinger from radio, television, and the talkies. Many a costumed crimefighter in today’s comicbooks owe a debt of gratitude to John Reid, Tonto, Silver, and Scout. Many a villain in today’s comicbooks owe a similar debt to Butch Cavendish. Ask your grandfather, and your great-grandfather. They’ll tell you all about it. I owe a debt of gratitude too. Thank you Brett Matthews, John Cassaday, Sergio Cariello, and Dean White. Thank you so very much. Thanks also to my long-lost friend Bobb Decker, who first introduced me to this groundbreaking comicbook series, way back when. The Lone Ranger was my first Dynamite Entertainment experience, and it packed a wallop.
Those among us who follow The Lone Ranger by reading the trades, as I do, are chomping at the bit for Volume 4, which drops in October. It’s the conclusion of the series, whicn ended at issue #25. In anticipation of Volume 4, and in honor of its impending arrival, I give you, in chronological order, my favorite eleven pages of the series to date.
Why eleven, you ask? Because, not unlike Spinal Tap’s guitar amps, my
articles go to eleven!
Why no particular ranking order, you ask? Let’s pretend you’re a
policeman attempting to hand out speeding tickets at the Brickyard
400. Good luck with that one, partner! The Lone Ranger is bursting
at the seams with awe-inspiring moments. Every single page could
easily be a favorite. And here are mine…
Volume 1: Now And Forever
- – - John Reid disembarks from a train in Texas. Nothing but shadows
where his eyes should be. This is foreshadowing at its best. The
grainy flavor of the page indicates that it’s a flashback sequence.
The sepia tones also lend a pleasant aesthetic. John’s brother Dan
gets some good-natured ribbing in, and John tells him to shut it.
It’s a snapshot moment that’ll engrave a powerful image in your mind.
The train-smoke hovers around the two of them like clouds; an ominous
portent of things to come.
- – - Tonto and Scout appear for the first time, atop a ridge. No
dialogue. Just gorgeously layered watercolor clouds, and the sunlight
gleaming into the page from behind them. The usage of light and
shadow is near-perfect. The wind rustles through their hair. It
doesn’t get a whole lot better that this page, folks.
- – - How to make a silver bullet, in four awesome panels. John Reid
carves a bullet-shape into a piece of wood. John smelts a Texas
Ranger silver badge. John pours the liquid silver into the
bullet-shaped hole in the wood, and lets it dry. Lastly, we see a
close-up shot of John admiring his handiwork. The time has come to
exact vengeance upon those who earned it. They’ll pay dearly.
- – - Tonto sits by the campirefire, alone. Flanked by canyon walls
and a gloomy sky above, Tonto pierces his right index finger with a
sharp arrow; no doubt some ritual to help the cause, and to protect
both he and John Reid. Superb usage of light and shadow again here.
The murky grey of the campfire smoke rises up into the night sky,
providing a stark contrast. Really just a spectacular page here.
Volume 2: Lines Not Crossed
- – - John Reid and Silver galloping straight towards the reader, and
it’s almost as if they’re going to jump right off the page. What
really gets me though, is the setting sun in the background. You’re
not likely to see a finer sunset in any other comicbook, ever.
Splendid usage of the vanishing point technique here too, as evidenced
by the minimalistic two-story and three-story buildings.
- – - How Butch Cavendish got his groove back, in five fun panels.
You’ll laugh aloud when Butch sticks it to the fat lady, the
sodomizing adulterer, and the crooked senator. What’s better than a
villain we love to hate? Not much. The facial expressions are
priceless, especially in that center panel. The furrowed brow is
marvelously rendered by Sergio Cariello.
- – - Rafael goes to shoot Tonto while John Reid jumps in front and
takes the bullet into his chest. Tonto is saved by John’s brave act
and sacrifice. In the first two panels, it’s unclear which character
Rafael will shoot at. Rafael only has one bullet remaining in his
pistol, and they all know it. Great suspense leading straightaway
into a stunning moment, all on one page together.
Volume 3: Scorched Earth & Ostinato
- – - John Reid and Silver walk towards a small house at sunrise. The
early morning shadows are very interesting on this page, to say the
least. Upon closer inspection, you might say the shadwows were
illustrated with a magic marker. The colors surrounding the sun are
also a wonder to behold. Tonto says “You are up very early”. John
Reid replies “No. I am up very late.” I love this.
- – - Butch Cavendish haunts the dreams of young Daniel Reid, John’s
nephew. There’s the windswept jacket, the terrible shadows, the
mouthful of flies, and the sinister knife. It’s certainly no picnic
being young Danny boy here. It’s a good thing he wakes up. Freddy
Kreuger’s got nothing on old Butch in this page. I couldn’t wait to
turn it. That’s a testament to its power.
- – - John Reid is all business in this page, decked out in his new
powder-blue threads, and squandering no time with idle chit-chat.
It’s been fun watching John’s fashion metamorphosis up til now, and
here on this page it finally all comes together. There’s the red
bandanna. There’s the mask. We’re golden.
- – - Butch Cavendish comes face-to-face with Christ on a cross,
following the attempted murder of a Catholic priest inside a
confession booth. “I’ll be damned” are the only words Butch can
muster. He sure was right about that, partner. The inks and shadows
are top shelf. Look closely at the center panel to. Bear witness to
the beauty and the fury all balled up into one.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this article! Remember to catch
Volume 4 of The Lone Ranger in October, wherever finer comicbooks are
Stay strong, fearless readers!
~Timothy Connolly (a.k.a. Sonny Calzone)
THWP editor in chief