A Tribute to the of






It is once again my sad duty to mark the passing of another creator. Frank Thorne passed away on March 7th at the age of 90 and incredibly, his wife, Marilyn, passed on later the same afternoon. I only was in touch with Frank once and he was gracious, if brief, in answering a few questions. [Sage #269] He certainly had a prolific career and seemingly worked for nearly every publisher imaginable and across multiple genres from his best-known sword and sorcery work to jungle stories, war books, mysteries and more. I even found a Spectre story he did, but decided to visit a title we haven’t covered very much for my tribute piece to Frank.

He had a fairly long run in the pages of Tomahawk and I’m going to take a peek at his first effort in that series, issue #119 with a publication date of November/December 1968 and an on-sale date of September 3, 1968. Murray Boltinoff served as editor with a great Neal Adams cover colored by Jack Adler and lettered by Gaspar Saladino. “Bait for a Buzzard!” was written by Bob Kanigher and illustrated by Frank Thorne with lettering by Ray Hollaway.

Unlike Neal’s cover, Tomahawk is still in his buckskins, but is helplessly lashed to the ground with a group of hostile natives on one side and his rangers charging up another (and the tale's title spread over the second and third pages). It looks grim for the frontiersman, especially since the dust of battle is concealing him from his friends.

Flashback time as we see a desparate group of men at what is described as a yankee camp, which looks a lot like an early fort to me. Supply lines have been cut off and they’re hanging their hopes on a carrier pigeon and hoping it reaches Tomahawk. We briefly follow the bird as it soars away from the fort and past two sets of enemies, General Hudson and his redcoats and Chief Crazy Owl and his men.

The message reaches Tomahawk and his men and they learn the predicament of General North and his men, who are being starved out. Soon Tomahawk and his rangers are leading a herd of cattle as a way to get provisions to the soldiers.

Some of the rangers are named as the story moves forward, like Big Anvil, Wildcat, Brass Buttons, Cannonball and Frenchie. An eclectic bunch, to be certain.

They are soon spotted by the redcoats, who recognize the rangers and open fire, hoping to stampede the herd. Tomahawk and his men go on the offensive, charging through the line of redcoats and defeating them. They decide to ride on through the night and at daybreak, Tomahawk instructs his men to rest the herd while he scouts ahead on foot. Soon, he encounters Chief Crazy Owl and his braves. They then stake him to the ground and leave a tomahawk behind, just out of reach.

Now we’re back where the story began, with a trapped Tomahawk and a herd of cattle heading straight for him. Fortunately, the canny frontiersman had the foresight to flex his muscles while being tied up, allowing him to create some slack in the ropes and free himself. With a great feat of athleticism, he grabs the underside of a charging steer while the rangers and the natives go at it across the battlefield.

Just when things can’t get much rougher, the rangers discover the herd is heading for a cliff. Using all his will and strength, Big Anvil, astride the lead steer, gets them going toward the fort again. Now, however, they’re headed right into the cannons of General Hudson’s redcoats.

Tomahawk and the rangers cut the cattle loose to finish their journey and charge straight at the British line. Inspired by the bravery being witnessed, the men in the fort charge out to lend aid to their rescuers.

The final panel shows the triumphant men enjoying a cookout while the rangers enjoy the deep sleep of the victorious, bringing this 16-page epic to its conclusion.

This issue's letter column includes a short autobiography of Tomahawk's new artist.

The book's second story was supplied by artist Fred Ray and writer (Ed) France Herron.

Frank Thorne’s artwork was a perfect match for Bob Kanigher’s scripting and his draftsmanship was more than impressive 40+ years ago and Frank’s work only got better as he went forward with his independent projects and other efforts. We’re lucky to have the legacy he leaves behind. Interestingly, I discovered during my brief searching that he even teamed up with the great Otto Binder to co-create Mighty Samson for Gold Key comics back in the day and that was only the beginning. Rest in Peace, Frank. You’ve more than earned it.

Our next installment will be coming up on April Fool’s Day, so feel free to drop by again and in the interim, share what’s on your mind. You can e-mail me anytime at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you soon and…

Long live the Silver Age!



© 2000-2021 by B.D.S.


This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

B.D.S.

 





The Silver Lantern Site Menu + Map & Updates

HomeThe SageSage Archives1934-19551956
19571958195919601961
19621963196419651966
1967196819691970GL Data



All characters mentioned, artwork, logos and other visual depictions displayed, unless otherwise noted, are © by DC Comics. No infringement upon those rights is intended or should be inferred. Cover, interior and other artwork scans and vid-caps are used for identification purposes only. The mission of this non-profit site is to entertain and inform. It is in no way authorized or endorsed by DC Comics and/or its parent company. The Webmaster assumes no responsibility for the content or maintenance of external links.