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More History

Continuing with Maurice Horn's Comics of the American West, I found this interesting little tidbit:

The masked Western hero . . . derives from literary precedent (in this instance the Zorro novels). In the comics The Lone Ranger was undoubtedly the first protagonist to wear a mask, a convention not conspicuously picked up by other newspaper strips. It is an altogether different matter in the comic books where the trend towards masked and, when at all possible, costumed Western heroes has been overwhelming from the start. There have been Durango Kid, the Outlaw Kid, the Masked Raider, Nighthawk, the Ghost Rider, and countless other who have donned mask or disguise for the most arbitrary (and often the most laughable) of reasons. The real motivation, of course, has always been crassly commercial: to try and relate the Western tradition to the vastly more popular (to the comic book audience) concept of the superhero. Only in Red Wolf was an intelligent attempt made at organically incorporating elements of the super-hero ethos into the Western mythos; because of its very sophisticate and intricate weaving together of two distinct traditions, the experiment unfortunately failed, and it is not likely yo be tried again in the foreseeable future. (203, 205)
I find this interesting mainly because of what Black Diamond Western was in its time: a crass attempt at creating yet another masked cowboy. But that becomes the challenge for Ace of Diamonds: to rise above the cliche. I don't know if I will actually rise above the cliche . . . but I have every intention of trying. The mask and why Ace wears it will be a mystery for much of the time I spend with this project. Indeed, for the time being, it is Ace's driving force. He does not know why he wears it, but he knows that he DOES wear it. And that's all he needs to know.

So, how much of the story his hat is about to tell him (and us, gentle readers) is true? Time will tell . . .

Speaking of masked cowboys . . . on Tuesday, my local comic shop put on a party for Marvel's 70th anniversary and had local comic creators draw sketches on the special "sketch variant" cover of The Marvels Project #1. I'm a local creator, so I was able to join in on the fun. Since Marvel's Two Gun Kid was featured in The Marvels Project #1, I did a little funny drawing that pokes fun at the whole "masked cowboy" concept. Here's my blog post about the event -- the Two Gun Kid cover can be found beneath the pictures of the cake! Now you can see why I'll never be referred to as a "writer/artist" . . .

~ Ben

“Ace” of Diamonds, Remix Comix, Whisperingloon Studios, and the other stuff I made up for this webcomic are TM and (C) Ben Avery, 2009. While the original Black Diamond Western is in public domain, “Ace” of Diamonds (the story and the artwork) and the contents of this page are NOT public domain.

This entry was posted on August 14, 2009 at Friday, August 14, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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