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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #36

So no one liked yesterday’s column? Dag, yo.

Anyway, let’s return to Black History Month, and talk about the first black hero to star in his own title.

2/5/07

36. Lobo

No, not that Lobo. This Lobo:

Lobo 1.jpg

You should remember this guy, as he headlined Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #82 several weeks ago.

I think it’s really neat that something this groundbreaking didn’t come from Marvel, or DC, but from Dell of all places. The series only lasted two issues but it made its mark in history. Don’t listen to those people who tell you the first black hero to star in a series was Luke Cage; no, it was Lobo.

What’s even neater is that it’s a Western book! Starring a black man! Published in 1965! Nothing like this had been done before. (Maybe Mel Brooks was a fan, eh?)

Lobo 2.jpg

I don’t know much about it, but it looks great; I’d take this guy over an albino Czarnian any day of the week. I wish I had a copy so I could scan in some interior panels. I imagine it’s a damn hard book to find, and for good reason, as you’ll see in the next paragraph.

Lobo was created by D.J. Arneson and Tony Tallarico. Let’s quote from Cronin who was quoting from an interview from Collector Times:

We did the first issue. And in comics, you start the 2nd issue as they’re printing the first one due to time limitations. We did the 2nd one and it was being separated while the first one was being distributed. 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 and they were being returned unopened. And I couldn’t figure out why? So they sniffed around, scouted around and discovered they 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. It was tremendous because they never got on to the newsstand.

I wonder whatever happened to all those extra copies? Probably pulped. How many copies of Lobo are floating around out there?

Temple University, however, in Phildelphia, just down the turnpike from me, honored Tallarico for Lobo’s creation. So even if it was derided and unloved back in the day, it can be remembered fondly today. This is a good thing.

The world’s first titular African-American hero? That’s a reason to love comics.

And here’s the Wiki. Because we all love Wikis.

16 Comments

Lobo…Lobo…Bring back Sheriff Lobo! Or was that a different guy?

Tom Fitzpatrick

February 5, 2007 at 5:48 pm

“Frag ‘em all!!!!”

Rather have the main man!!! :-)

With respect to yesterday’s column about SuperPro, wikipedia has a nice little writeup on the character…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFL_Superpro

Flush it all away

February 5, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Is it me or does “the King of the West” look a little like Orson Welles?

I think Bruce Campbell could star in the Lobo movie no problem.

Samuel L Jackson & Bruce Campbell in

LOBO

Bruce C: “Give up, Lobo! You’ll never beat the king of the west!

Oh man…

SoaP and Brisco County CROSSOVER!?!??!!?

I’ve got a full on robot chubby just thinking about it.

You know, I’ve actually been looking for this book for a while too, and you’re right, but not merely for low print figures is it hard to find. The problem is just trying to locate it: search eBay for “Lobo,” and you know you will find one gazillion copies of you-know-who, and even wading through all of those I have never seen a copy of this (and no store I have been in had a back issue, and many had never heard of it…I’m gonna print this out and carry it around next time, maybe!) I have periodic eBay searches for ‘lobo black’ and ‘lobo dell’ that never return what I want.

It’s a little bit like looking for eBay copies of a Winnie-the-Pooh book-on-record I had on LP (one of a series of three read by Maurice Evans; the best audio Pooh ever). Search for Pooh and you are immediately mired in up to your neck in Disney crap. Finding one specific slightly rare thing thus becomes that much more impossible.

Moral of the story? Never name your band ‘Wolverine.’

Sorry, I didn’t close my tag there!

In defense of Dell: They were probably the strongest comic publisher outta anyone in the fifites. Little Lulu, the Barks Ducks, Alex Toth on Zorro and other stuff… Y’can’t screw with Dell.

Lobo looks cool, and I’d like to see him reprinted.

TOTALLY agree on the Maurice Evans Pooh. My ex-girlfriend found a file of one of ‘em using Napster or Bittorent or one of those other computer things that make my head hurt. Very, very nice. And I loves me some non-Disneyfied-and-horrible WTP.

It’s amazing that there was that kind of racism in 1965. I guess having grown up in the ’80s, I find that kind of ignorance dumbfounding. And really it wasn’t the readers, rather the guys at the shops who decided its fate. Crazy world. :(

Let me try something here, to turn off the italics. [/i]

Anyway, great column, very interesting to hear about this character who should really have some greater recognition in the industry. I read this column every day, it’s my favourite one on CSBG that isn’t written by Joe Rice.

Thanks for the kind words, Neil!

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm

Cool!
The bad points you earned in my book for your previous entry of NFL SUPERPRO is erased with this entry. An unknown gem to me. Historically important too! And with most of the copies not even distributed and probably destroyed, Boy! is this thing going to be hard to buy cheap from now on on Ebay!

I must have it though.
Must.
Western comics are cool!
A black western hero is even cooler for 1965!

“A BLACK sherriff??”
“Hey – it worked for Blazing Saddles!”

Now that I mentioned it, I wonder if Blazing Saddles had the idea from this comic? While unlikely given the few sold, it’d be an interesting tidbit of trivia, there.

And here I was being all confused why you had picked the whitest character ever for your black history month. While I enjoy Lobo (DC’s Deadpool, awwwwyeeeaaaah), though PREFERABLY the original version with the poofy hair and without the idiotlocks. I am pleasantly surprised.

Have you tried isohunt.com or similar locations for a .pdf or a CDisplay file of it? Heck, you could even “stoop to the bottom of the barrel” and request it on 4chan and maybe (MAYBE) get a hit. I wanna read it too!

Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back in the future. I want to encourage you to continue your great job, have a nice weekend!

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