All American Western 117 – the origin of Black Lightning

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Black Lightning is in the focus for All American Western 117 (Dec./Jan. 50/51), although he is not pitted against Johnny Thunder, as the cover text implies.

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After a brief introduction that see Johnny and Black Lightning stop some rustlers, Kanigher, Toth and Giella’s story moves into an extended flashback, relating how the horse came to become Johnny’s.  Black Lightning even gets to narrate this tale.

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Johnny Thunder is the one to break Black Lightning,but only because the horse takes a liking to him.  This tidily reflects the long-standing notion that no one else can ride the horse.  Johnny also “reveals” his secret identity as John Tane to the horse, who understands that he is not to let on that the two are the same person.  This is one smart horse.

The story never does clarify why an all-white horse is called Black Lightning, but does repeat the odd notion that Johnny’s double identity somehow intimidates the foes he faces.

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