Brandvold Talks Writing “Bat Lash” with Aragonés & Severin
That was the question DC Comics posed when they introduced their newest Western hero in 1968's “Showcase” #76. Bartholomew Aloysius Lash, better known as “Bat Lash,” had more in common with Bret Maverick than John Wayne. Laconic, fond of gourmet cooking, and rarely without a flower in his hat, Bat was nonetheless a first-class gambler, a crack shot, and a rogue equally loathed by outlaws, lawmen, and the many lovely ladies he left in his wake.
Written by comics legend Sergio Aragonés, and illustrated by master artist Nick Cardy, Bat Lash only lasted seven issues in his own book, but despite this brief run, Bat made a memorable impression on readers with the offbeat combination of action, comedy and drama that characterized his stories. Several decades and a guest appearance on the “Justice League Unlimited” cartoon later, Bat Lash is finally back in a new miniseries premiering later this year, co-written by Aragonés and Western novelist Peter Brandvold.
All this takes place in only six pages, and then the Comanches depart.
The Indians aren't particularly memorable, except when you compare them to their contemporaries in JONAH HEX #23 and Comanche Moon. In BAT LASH #1, the Comanches are recognizably human. They speak in normal English, with only a hint of Tonto-ism. They wear a mix of Indian and Western clothes (see illustration), which was the style of the time. No stereotypical buckskins for these Comanches.
So a couple of comic-book writers have done a better job portraying Indians than Larry McMurtry and a million-dollar team at CBS. It just goes to show that money doesn't guarantee quality. Anyone can portray Indians accurately if they want to.