Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling pop culture commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Red Wolf #8 – July, 1973
Cover Art by Ron Wilson
In fourteen-hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He…well…the rest of this story is contentiously debated. These days many Anglo-Americans have surrendered to the fact that our forefathers were not necessarily the dignified and heroic characters described in our school books and in popular culture throughout the past century.
Many cities have even decided to forgo the Columbus Day holiday in preference of an “Indigenous Peoples Day,” and here at the CCCC we think that’s an awesome idea; so this week we’re taking a look at one of the most popular Native American heroes in comics’ history, Red Wolf.
The great spirit of the Cheyenne, the Owayodata (AKA Red Wolf), is kind of like the Doctor Who of Indian comic book folklore, in that the Red Wolf spirit has been reincarnated into several different heroes throughout the years, including William Talltrees, Wildrun, Johnny Wakely, Thomas Thunderhead (who is Wakely’s great-grandson and the character who appears in Red Wolf #8.) There is also a current iteration from an alternative universe who is depicted in Marvel’s Secret Wars: 1872 mini-series.
Red Wolf first appeared in Avengers #80 (1970) of all places, where he mixed it up with the likes of the Vision and Goliath. But as Marvel’s western line-up was once again gaining some popularity, a nineteenth-century Red Wolf was introduced in Marvel Spotlight #1 (1971) and he would get his own short-lived series in Red Wolf #1 (1972.)
Native American’s have typically not been treated very well in popular culture (or otherwise in real life), and the Red Wolf books certainly contain many of the stereotypes and prejudices that were indicative to the era in which they were created. But Marvel at least tried to do something dignified with this character, and you have to credit them for that.
And speaking of books that reflect the times in which they were created, check out the header on this comic, “Now! Set in the Holocaust of today!” Doesn’t that make you want to reminisce about the “good ‘ol days?”
Marvel got a lot of attention a few weeks back when they announced an upcoming re-boot of Red Wolf as part of their “all new, all different” line-up. I’m (so far) not a big fan of their latest re-boot initiative, but I do have high-hopes for the new Native American themed book, which is being written by Nathan Edmondson, illustrated by Dalibor Talajic and steered by Native American artist, Jeffrey Veregge, who will provide cover art and, reportedly, help the team navigate the book’s indigenous cultural aspects.
The new Marvel Red Wolf series is scheduled for release in December, 2015.
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