Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of The Lone Ranger and of Tonto. I enjoy the TV series, the Radio shows, and especially the Dell/Gold Key/Whitman comics. I even liked Joe Lansdale's L.R. miniseries over at Topps. And, honestly, one of the best things about the Lone Ranger IS Tonto. Tonto is by far the more dynamic of the two characters. While the Ranger looks cool and solves mystery after mystery, Tonto lays the beat down on bad guy after bad guy.
Not that the Ranger is a wuss or anything, but Tonto is a serious Man Of Action.
Which brings me to today's topic. In 1951 the good folks at Dell Comics decided to give the Lone Ranger's Faithful Indian Companion his own comic book. And man, does it rock. Out of all the Lone Ranger comics I've scraped up over the years, my copy of The Lone Ranger's Companion Tonto #19 is my prized possession.
No, that's not The Shadow!
In his own comic, Tonto has lots of adventures as a young man, living with his own tribe (where they all-including Tonto- speak normal, flawless English; clearly because they are all speaking their native tongue) and as an Army scout (where he speaks the broken English associated with Tonto). The Tonto comics or at least issue #19 are very exciting and good, sturdy Western comics with rather nice art and beautiful painted covers.
But here's the crazy thing. Tonto wasn't the only Lone Ranger character to get his own series. Dell also published "The Lone Ranger's Famous Horse Hi-Yo Silver".
First of all, I would like to state that the horse's name is Silver, not Hi-Yo Silver. I have yet to read an issue of Silver's comic, as I have never been able to AFFORD one. Silver has a much higher resale value than Tonto. Apparently, Silver spends a LOT of time fighting other animals
and actually has arch-nemeses of sorts in the recurring characters of an angry puma
and an Indian named Keenay who wants to capture Silver.
The saddest thing, in my opinion, is not that Silver got his own comic, nor is it that Silver's comic is more valuable. No, the saddest part of all is that Silver's comic lasted for 34 issues. Tonto's only lasted for 33.