All American Western 103 – a new sheriff for Mesa, and Overland Coach, Minstrel Maverick and Foley of the Fighting Fifth begin

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With issue 103 (Nov. 48), All-American becomes All American Western, shedding the hyphen along with all the series, except for Johnny Thunder.

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Kanigher and Toth have the people of Mesa turn on Sheriff Tane, feeling that he is too old to perform his job.  I like to see this as a follow-up to the last issue, and have their concern based on his health after being shot.

Johnny Thunder is offered the sheriff’s badge, but turns it down, so he can maintain his other identity as school teacher John Tane.

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The man who does become sheriff immediately takes away everyone’s guns, including those of Thunder.  And, as one might expect, he is part of the gang that Sheriff Tane was dealing with before he got ousted.  Johnny Thunder has to take him down, without using his guns.  Tane gets re-instated as the story ends.

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Overland Coach is the first of the new series to debut in this issue.  Drawn by Irwin Hasen and Frank Giacoia, it has a woman as its main character, Tony Barrett (short for Antoinette).  The town is none too pleased to have a female running their stagecoach,but she proves herself in this tale.

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I found this surprisingly progressive for the era, as she is shown to be fully capable of handling herself.  Few women were portrayed this way in western comics of the time.

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She has a brother, Billy, who is in prison, framed for murder.  She hunts down the real killer, and though she does get captured by him, she manages to free herself and bring the bad guy to justice.

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As the story ends, the sheriff even offers to appoint her his deputy, but she is content to run the stagecoach line, as she came out to do.

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Minstrel Maverick debuts, in a story with art by Bernie Krigstein.  The hero’s actual name is Harmony Hayes, which is not much better.

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I have to admit, I keep rooting for the bad guys in this story.  Especially when Hayes confronts them, not with a gun, but with a song.

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Still, he does pull out his guns when the situation warrants it, and rounds up the Black Rustler and his gang.  Shame that he sings about as he rides into the sunset.

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Joe Kubert and John Giunta are the art team as Foley of the Fighting 5th is introduced, a series about the adventures of a member of the 5th cavalry division.

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As one might expect on a series about the cavalry, the natives are the ones they are fighting against.  Peaceful natives, who allow the white settlers to take their land, are portrayed as good, while the ones fighting in defense of their territory are shows as evil.

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This story does add a bit more depth to it, as the natives who are in revolt, and attacking Fort Desolation, are being lead by a medicine man who is really a white man in disguise, and “Indian agent” who is trying to provoke a larger war for his own benefit.

 

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