Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lobo- Black in the Saddle

In 1965 Dell comics decided to add a new star to their wonderful line of Western comics: Lobo. Dell published all of two issues of this landmark series and then cancelled it. Why? Accoring to Lobo artist Tony Tallarico, the reasons are simple and sad:

Tallarico in a 2006 interview said that he and Dell writer Arneson co-created the character based on an idea and a plot by Tallarico, with Arneson scripting it.

"I had an idea for Lobo. And I approached D.J. Arneson and he brought it in and showed it to [Dell editor-in-chief] Helen Meyer. ... She loved it. She really wanted to do it. Great, so we did it. We did the first issue. And in comics, you start the second issue as they're printing the first one, due to time limitations. ... All of the sudden, they stopped the wagon. They stopped production on the issue. They discovered that as they were sending out bundles of comics out to the distributors [that] they were being returned unopened. And I couldn't figure out why. So they sniffed around, scouted around and discovered [that many sellers] were opposed to Lobo, who was the first black Western hero. That was the end of the book. It sold nothing. They printed 200,000; that was the going print-rate. They sold, oh, 10-15 thousand."

So far as I know, nobody ever sent back a bundle of Jonah Hex.


  1. So twisted. If one statistic I read is accurate, after the American Civil War, some 20-25% of cowboys out ridin' the range were black.

  2. Blaze: That is about right. Also, the U.S. Army's 9th and 10th Cavalry, who served during the Indian Wars were all African Americans.

    Heck, one of the most famous cowboys of his time was a black man. Bill Picket, "King of the Cowboys" invented what is known as "Bull-Dogging". Pickett would actually grab a steer by the head and bite it's lower lip in his teeth until the animal submitted to being thrown to the ground.

    Sorry, I dig the facts and myths of the "Wild West" almost as much as comics.

  3. I think that if this comic was sold today, it would definitely sell. There are so many strange comics out there today, and I think they have run out of ideas. Something tells me that this one was ahead of its time and could capture the attention of many people.

  4. Dell 1710 Toner: I agree. Also, I have an HP C7200. No sale.

  5. Dell 1710 Toner: I also agree that a book like this could make it nowadays.

    Aaron: Great post and series of posts. Thanks for directing me over here.