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Book Review - Worlds of Wonder

Book Review

Worlds of Wonder by Kaleon Rahan

Lone Ranger and Tonto # 1 (Dynamite)(US$4.99)

Writers: Brett Matthews & John Abrams

Artist: Mario Guevara

ORIGINALLY conceptualised as a masked Texas Ranger in the American Old West, who fights injustices with the aid of an American Indian sidekick named Tonto, the Lone Ranger made his radio debut on Jan 30, 1933. Lasting 2956 episodes, its impact is significant, making “Hi-yo Silver, away!” a household phrase and setting a benchmark for Western/cowboy-based comics.

From a novel-based approach in 1936, followed by newspaper comic strips, it was only in 1948 when Dell Comics published the first full-fledged Lone Ranger adventures in comic book format. Lasting 145 issues and mainly consisting of reprints from the newspaper strips, the adventures continued under the Gold Key imprint in 1962. However Gold Key’s demise in 1977 pushed the Lone Ranger into limbo. Various start-stop attempts (by Hemmets Journal AB and Topps Comics) failed to resuscitate interest in the classic character.

In today’s environment, with cosmic powers and technology much cooler than silver bullets, there is little reason to idolise a gun slinging masked man ... unless he’s a mutant or has cyborg implants. Here’s where Dynamite Entertainment makes a point to never underestimate the power of nostalgia. The company’s first attempt at re-packaging the Lone Ranger for a 21st century audience was met with great success – as its originally planned six-parter ended up as a regular series and buoyed by multiple printings of the first four issues. The icing on the cake came in the form of The Lone Ranger receiving an Eisner Awards nomination for 2007’s best new series, despite the backlash received from classic Lone Ranger fans for its graphic depictions of violence.

With cowboys back on the comic fan’s radar, Dynamite is hard pressed to maintain the regular series’ sterling run as well as induct new readers. Here’s where this week’s Lone Ranger and Tonto one-shot comes to mind.

Functioning as an entry point, this 32-page special sports a John Cassaday cover and also a story about a ruthless killer that our heroic pair unwittingly unleashed on a peace loving community. If you have watched those Lone Ranger TV reruns or listened to the radio episodes, the mood here is similar.

Buy this for nostalgia-sake or for someone who enjoys the Wild West adventures.

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