Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, November 27, 2021


Here we have a Star Publications reprint of comic book stories originally pubished by Novelty/Premium/Curtis in Blue Bolt and Target Comics in 1940.  Although the cover declares this to be issue #4, it was actually the first issue of this comic book -- in the comic book world the numbering of titles can be sort of haphazard.  Additionally, the copyright indicia indicates that it is #11,  Go figure.

Anyway, this issue reprints the first two stories in the short-lived career of The White Rider and Super Horse, from Blue Bolt #1 and #2 (June and July 1940).

So, who is The White Rider (also known as White rider, without the "The")?  From the Publlic Domain Super Heroes Wiki:

"While still a young boy, Peter is orphaned when his parents' stage is held up.  Peter's parents are killed but young Peter escapes.  He is knocked into a stream which carries him into a lost valley deep in a canyon.  Peter is pulled from the stream and then protected by a white horse.  Later, an old man residing in the valley finds and raises Peter.  The boy gains super strength because of the depth of the canyon since it has a much greater pull of gravity.  He becomes a master in cowboy skills and bonds with the white horse which he names Cloud (Cloud is laso stronger and faster than normal horses).  However, once the two reach adulthood, they leave the valley to fight crime as the White Rider and Super Horse."

With me so far?

The origin story starts with the words, "Introducing Superhorse -- that amazing animal of might and intelligence -- and his master the White Rider, silent, grim avenger of wrongs.  Swifter than the wind, they emerge from that strange 'lost canyon' to strike terror into the stoutest of evil hearts."

Peter and his parents areon the weekly stage to La Pecos when bandits swoop down.  Peter's father bravely draws a gun but is shot down by one of outlaws.  The guard fires on the bandits, who fire back and kill him and the stagecoach driver.  The horses, frightened by the gunfire, bolt, taking the stage to crash into a bridge above a roaring river.  The impact throws Peter out of the stage and into the torrent.
Swept away by the raging currents to the lost canyon, Peter is nearly dead when a white horse notices him and drags him from the waters.  A nearby black horse spots Peter and tries to kill him but is stopped by the fierceness of the white horse.  The only resident of the canyon, Jeb, finds Peter and takes him to his shack.  Jeb tells Peter that he has been there for thirty years and has never been able to find a way out of the mysterious canyon.  Peter, determined to avenge himself against the murderer of his parents, spends years trying to find a way out to the world he had left behind.  (We never see Peter's mother die, though.) Meanwhile, Jeb trains Peter in all the cowboy "arts," including shooting and roping.  One day Peter sees a puma about to attack Jeb from behind.  Peter jumps on Storm and, fast as lightning, rushes to save Jeb.  Peter leps from Storm and puplls the big cat from Jeb's back, but he is too late -- Jeb had been mortaally wounded.  As he is dying, the old man tells Peter that there is a way out of the valley; he had never told Peter before because he enjoyed the boy's companionship.  With Jeb dead, Peter and Storm head to one of the many waterfalls in the valley, behind which is a secret passage beyond the valley.  Peter spies a Wanted poster on a tree with a picture of the man who shot his father.  At the nearest town, the sheriff tells Peter that he might find Arch Manton (his father's killer) at the Rio Forks Hotel.  But first, the sheriff adds, Peter might want to find himself some clothes.  (While living in the valley, Peter only wore an old pair of shorts.)  Although we are never told where Peter got the money, he outfits himself all in white exccept for a red bandana, and buys a gun and a saddle and gear for Storm, and rides off to Rio Forks.  Manton is called out, draws, and is killed by Peter.  Then  Black Jack -- the leader of the gang who killed Peter's parents -- enters the hotel and takes aim at Peter, but Storm stops him as he fires and the bullet goes astray, merely wounding Peter.  Storm then tramples Black  Jack (or Blackjack -- continuity is not the story's greatest stength) to death.  Storm lifts Peter's semi-conscious body outside where Peter revives.  They ride off into the sunset (figuratively) while the surviving members of the gang watch.  Cloud leaps over a river (he's got super speed and strength, remember?) and into the mountains as Peter vows to become The White Rider of the Mountains:  "Storm, we'll use this super power of yours, but for good!  We'll help the weak, and fight the strong!"   **Phew!**

This issue also contains "Another story of the White Rider, grim avenger of wriongs, and his amazing horse, Storm, the animal of super power and intelligence.  Born in a strange 'lost canyon'where the pull of gravity is great, Super-Horse becomes a wonder animal out of the canyon under normal gravity.  These powers the White Rider has dedicated to the weak and oppressed."

White Rider and Super Horse rescue a girl on a runwaay horse being chased by an owlhoot with a gun.  The girl is Dorothy Lane.  She had escaped from a pair of outlaws who had tied up her Daddy, wantinng to know the location of his mine.  By the time White Rider reached the Lane cabin, the outlaws had gone and Dorothy's father is missing.  White Rider and Dorothy head to the mine but are trapped by a violent explosion.   Luckily Super Horse is there to save the day -- something he does, like, four times in this story!  Result:  bad guys captured, Dorothy and Daddy happily together again, and White Rider and Storm headed off to avenge more wrongs!

We also get two stories about Bull's-Eye Bill.  In the first (from Target Comics #81, May 1947), Bill and Rawhide Ike enter a ghost town that is rumored to have real ghosts.  We get to see how good a shot Bill is when he shoots the lit fuse from some dynamite that is being thrown at him.  In the second tale 
(from Target Comics #80, April 1947), Bill battles to save the home of an old Indian, using a trick from Homer's The Odyssey to corner the bad guys.  No Rawhide Ike in this one; Bill is accompanied by an unnamed Rannie from his ranch.

We also have Part I of a serial adaptation of The Last of the Mohigans, taking us to the point where Hawkeye is taking Cora and Alice Munro downriver inn a canoe to escape the Huron.  This one's a reprint from Target Comics #24, February 1942.

And to meet postal regulations, there is a two-page text story, "A Pinch of Salt," in which U.S. Border Patrolman Tom is waylaid by three men who are up to no good.  (From Target Comics #37, March 1943.)

With the exception of the Mohigans serial, written and drawn by Harold DeLay, the contributors to this issue are unknown, but the artwork is better than average for its time.  Of course you could drive Peter's parents stage coach through some of many plot hole therein.  And the cover illustrates a story that is not in this issue; it also changes the White Rider's red hair.  **sigh**

Nonetheless, you should enjoy this issue.

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