Who's Strong Bow?

Who's This? The Native American on page 17 of Who's Who vol. XXII.
The facts: Before Europeans came to North America, Strong Bow walked the continent in more than 40 issues of All-Star Western, from #58 (1951) on. So he was one of the book's first stars after it went West, and was featured in every issue until #99 (1958). A couple of these stories were reprinted in early '70s issues of Tomahawk, but Strong Bow would then only appear during Crisis (the All-Star Squadron issue) and History of the DCU. He was created by David Wood and Frank Giacoia.
How you could have heard of him: I do not believe Strong Bow has any post-Crisis appearances.
Example story: "Giant of the Badlands!" in All-Star Western #70 (1953) by Robert Kanigher and Frank Giacoia
He certainly gets around. Strong Bow is in the Dakotas in this story, having walked from Yellowstone in the previous before moving on to the Amazon in the next... Let's just assume the stories aren't told chronologically. Walking through a village near the Badlands, Strong Bow finds it mostly deserted, and the one person he finds, a woman with a baby, calls him evil. What's going on? That's when her husband shows up.
Overcoming his opponent, Strong Bow asks for answers and learns he is supposedly the chief of a band of ruthless warriors who terrorize the braves in this village. Clearly, there must be some mistake. Strong Bow, though known for walking, jumps on the "leader of the deer" and races for the Badlands.
Wait, what?! Who's Who apparently failed to inform me that Strong Bow was a "mystic warrior" who could talk to the animals and ask for their help! Well, his entry does hint at it by showing him riding a bison, but that's about it. He gets separated from his steed when the aforementioned warrior band start raining arrows his head, and then cause an avalanche. Thankfully, Strong Bow has other animal friends.
The vulture drops him off on top of a mountain where he meets a giant who looks just like him. What is this Freudian monster and will he eventually join the Super-Friends?
Before he can be hurled to the bottom of the valley, Strong Bow shoots his giant lookalike in the eye, at which point it collapses.
Smashed like a pinata, warriors spill out of it and reveal, under threat of arrowing, that their chief drove the behemoth from inside the eye, and that eye shot, the chief was killed instantly. Why take Strong Bow's form? Seems the chief was Crooked Tongue (the brave whose name made sure he'd become evil), a recurring villain once delivered to the Sioux by our hero. Not all revenges need be this complicated. The survivors from the giant's belly are taken to the village they wronged for justice, and so ends this tale. No explanation is given for how the giant "worked" so stop asking already.

DC has done a number of western books since the 50s, but Strong Bow never appeared in them, nor could he. He's trapped in a time before the white man, and the white man era dominates most western comics. I wouldn't mind seeing a modern take on the strip though, if only for variety's sake.

Who else? I skipped over Sterling Silversmith who, though obscure enough, is a Batman villain, so never THAT obscure. No, we're moving ahead to a character so obscure, it's a wonder he made it into Who's Who at all. Especially since they couldn't actually tell his story anymore...

3 comments:

Jamdin said...

Strong Bow must have used a lot of bleach on his vest and leggings.

Anonymous said...

"Who's Who apparently failed to inform me that Strong Bow was a "mystic warrior" who could talk to the animals and ask for their help!"

Well, he's native, therefore he must be! T'would be redundant to mention his magical animal-communicating powers separately.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicalNativeAmerican

Siskoid said...

Or it may be Kanigher being Kanigher, and this some crazy thing that happened only in this story.

 

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