September 04, 2007

Giant robot Indian!

Tomahawk No. 70Everyone’s familiar with THE IRON CHEF, that televised competition between Japanese cooking stars! But thanks to this Oddball issue of TOMAHAWK, we get to learn the “Secret Of The Iron Chief!,” a gigantic, feathered-headdress-wearing robot fighting on the side of the Native Americans during the Revolutionary War! (Oh, you say you’ve never heard of the Iron Chief? That’s what you get for falling asleep during American History 101 in high school!)

Tomahawk first appeared in DC's STAR SPANGLED COMICS No. 69 (June, 1947), written by Joe Samachson and drawn by Edmond Good, eventually gaining his own series, TOMAHAWK, with its first issue dated September-October, 1950. ("Tomahawk" also appeared as a back-up feature in many issues of WORLD'S FINEST COMICS during the 1950s.) Tom "Tomahawk" Hawk, raised by Indians, was a buckskin-wearing frontier scout and hero of the Revolutionary War. His young sidekick, Dan Hunter, was in the tradition of Robin, The Boy Wonder and other Golden Age kid characters. The art chores on the strip were later taken on by Fred Ray, a cartoonist with a rustic style and a genuine fascination with the Revolutionary War. Despite Ray's attempts at authenticity, the TOMAHAWK series eventually fell under the editorial scrutiny of DC's Jack Schiff, Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan (although the title of "editor" was credited to Whitney Ellsworth). Like many other DC comics of the time, TOMAHAWK gradually began cover-featuring stories that starred dinosaurs, cave men, gorillas, aliens, monsters and all sorts of goofy gimmicks, even including the occasional superhero (Miss Liberty, for example), supervillain (King Cobweb and his giant spiders), or--as this issue of TOMAHAWK cover-features--giant robot!

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