A List Of Comic Book Characters Who Do It Lone Star Style.
There are, in fact, superheroes from Texas. There are.
Although maybe the word “superheroes” is too strong. Maybe even the word “heroes,” too.
Still, there are indeed some characters in the history of comics whose storylines said they were from Texas. As such, we decided to compile a list of these characters.
Don’t worry if you don’t recognize them; we’re pretty well-versed in comics and even we didn’t know that most of these characters existed. That said, here’s the exhaustive list, with the characters ranked in order of importance.
Luke Merriweather was a motorcycle stuntman, which is coincidentally how Ghost Rider got his start. Unlike Ghost Rider, though, Luke never quite hit the big leagues. He joined up with “Team America,” a glorified superhero motorcycle club. Yes, they were really called Team America. They existed before Trey Parker and Matt Stone made the name awesome.
Antonio Rodriguez’s story started when the evil scientist Karl Maldus bonded an armadillo costume to Rodriguez’s body. Rodriguez, you see, needed superpowers to rob banks to pay for a cure for his girlfriend’s unspecified terminal illness. After an initial run-in with Captain America, Armadillo bounced back and forth between crime and professional wrestling. He’s maintained a presence in comic books — mostly as a punch line, appearing off panel.
17. Outlaw (Marvel)
Inez Temple was born in an unspecified town in Texas. She’s a mercenary for hire appearing in a couple of issues of Deadpool comics. Let us refer to her as your standard B-roll comic book eye-candy character. She’s about as multi-dimensional as a board, and her Wikipedia entry actually talks about a breast augmentation. Oh right, her powers: She is good at shooting guns and has unspecified super strength. Not that you care.
16. Roving Ranger
Jeff Graham was great at riding horses and shooting guns, and he did what anyone with that skill-set does post-Civil War in Texas. He joined The Rangers. Graham appeared in a story contained in All-Star Western #58 and was later transported to the future to prevent the Ultra Humanite from stealing a space shuttle. Yeah, it feels dumb typing that out. No, you don’t need to know who the Ultra Humanite is. It doesn’t matter.
15. Outlaw (DC)
This Outlaw comes to us from DC Comics. All Rick Wilson ever wanted was to become a Texas Ranger just like his father. His dad, of course, opposed that idea. So what did Rick do? He joined up with a bandit gang, eventually shooting his dad in the shoulder during a shoot-out. This earns him the nickname “Outlaw,” and he presumably goes off on a Kung-Fu style journey off into the West. Oh, also? He had a hawk as a sidekick.
14. Texas Twister
This guy is great. He’s a ranch hand who is simultaneously hit with a tornado and nuclear radiation. Talk about bad luck. It’s a pretty convenient trope, though, for giving people superpowers — combine nuclear radiation with something. Texas Twister gains the ability to make tornados after he is pelted with radioactive particles. He bounced around the Marvel Universe, and was a longstanding member of The Rangers, the Southwest superhero team composed solely of people you’ve never heard of. The highlight of his career is probably when he auditioned for a role on the Fantastic Four in the animated series. Sadly, he was rejected after accidentally creating a tornado in the waiting room. We assume he’s currently doing whatever it is you do in Amarillo.
13. El Gato Negro
The El Gato story follows a lucha libre wrestler in Austin who takes up moonlighting as a crime fighter in South Austin in the ’50s. He retires and the mantle eventually passes on to his grandson in the ’90s. The character is part Batman, part Pulp hero, and the series actually sold fairly well for an independent.
12. Bat Lash
Raised as a lover and not a fighter, Bartholomew Lash made his living as a gambler and ladies man. Lash gets around on a horse named Daisy, and his weapon of choice, when he has to use it, is a Colt .44. He’s been knocking around comics forever, popping up here and there. Whenever someone time travels to the old West, he’s usually around somewhere. He took up the gun to avenge his parents when some corrupt sheriff set his folks’ house ablaze with them in it.
11. Big Tex
Oh what? You didn’t know the famous Big Tex of the State Fair appeared in a comic book? He did, and he even had a bit part in defeating Magneto with the X-Men. The giant sized Texan very much literally kicks Magneto’s ass. We spoke with Jim Salicrup (former Spider-Man editor extraordiaire), writer of the issue, who gave us the inside scoop on the origins of this odd comic: “Marvel was attempting to start a network of newspapers that it could supply comic book inserts to, but it never really took off,” Salicrup says. “I believe The Dallas Times Herald was probably most interested, so several comics were created just for them. Sol Brodsky ran the department that produced comics like these. He was Stan Lee’s right hand man, and Marvel’s production manager at the start of the Marvel Age of Comics and the early 60s — and a very talented cartoonist and writer himself. I don’t believe we were given any guidance from the Dallas Times Herald other than to set the story at the State Fair and to include Big Tex.”
10. Scarlet Spider
Someone tried to clone Spider-Man several years ago, and one of the failed clones became an anti-hero named Kaine. Kaine had a mullet, looked menacing and sort of had the same powers as Spider-Man. The clone storyline dragged on forever and it still lives on in infamy. Anyway, the Kaine character disappeared for a long time, but somebody decided to bring him back. He’s now called the Scarlet Spider and he still has superpowers similar to Spider-Man. Only, now, he lives in Houston.
Rachel Leighton is your average Austin boutique clerk cum super-mercenary. Briefly affiliated with the evil Serpent Society, she had a run-in with Captain America and developed a mean crush on the golden boy. It wouldn’t be until several years later when they would actually go on a date, though. Bad move: This fraternizing with the enemy got her booted from the Serpent Society. She’s since spent her “career” bouncing around the Marvel Universe as a bad girl with a heart of gold.
He’s so mysterious and cool, he doesn’t even have a real name! But, still, Forge has been an on-again, off-again X-Men team member over the years, filling the role of half-mystic, half-technical genius role. For a while, he made weapons and technologies for the government. Oh, and he’s got a couple bionic limbs. His history is labyrinthian at best, but he did go out with Storm for awhile. He kept offices in Texas periodically, too. At one point, he saved Dallas from the “Dire Wraiths” in a team-up with the Spaceknight ROM.
7. Rawhide Kid
The Rawhid Kid is another Western hero with a past that goes way back. His first appearance comes in Rawhide Kid #1 from 1955. These first stories were published by Atlas Comics, which later became Marvel. He was created by Stan Lee, living his life as an unjustly accused outlaw who even managed to team up with the Avengers a few times when they were on some of their myriad of time travel trips. The Kid really got famous, though, in 2003. That’s when Marvel resurrected him in a miniseries that portrayed him as gay. To call it a promotional stunt would probably be pretty nice. The issues revolved around your basic anti-hero comes-into-town-and-saves-the-day premise, but they were also filled to the brim with bad innuendo.
The hometown hero! His one and only appearance came in a promotional comic put out by Marvel and the Dallas Times Herald. In this issue, the X-Men come to the Texas State Fair and clash with Magento over a newly discovered mutant in town named Eques. Eques is a horse rancher in Dallas who can turn himself into a winged Centaur. After helping topple Magneto, Eques gets offered a chance to join the X-Men, but declines to maintain his quiet life with his horses.
(Writer Jim Salicrup tells us that the character was inspired by the Mobilgas sign — and that Eques might not be dead just yet: “I imagine that Eques will return one day,” Salicrup adds. “Anything can happen. I’d love to see him return, especially in an X-Men movie, but I don’t mind if this turns out to be his only appearance.”)
5. El Diablo
Rafael Sandoval took up the mantle of El Diablo, previously held by a couple guys here and there. This one is a rookie city council member in Dos Rios, who begins his crime-fighting career when the local police force can’t figure out an arson case. El Diablo doesn’t have any super powers, though, which is a central tenet of his stories. He’s just a regular old guy doing some street level superheroics. The series lasted over a year, which is actually quite the feat.
4. Blue Beetle
You know that guy in The Watchmen named Nite-Owl? That character was actually based on a guy called Blue Beetle, who has been knocking around comics forever. The latest incarnation of him — there have been three — is a kid from El Paso who gets melded with an alien scarab artifact from outerspace. This gives him some fancy powers and a weird-looking suit of space armor. He’s got his own DC Comics series, and was briefly a member of the Teen Titans, who are like the Justice League but teenagers. His series has actually been really well received, and his creators have managed to develop him as a Latino character who is a superhero without coming off as simply trying to pander to the market.
3. Chuck Dawson
Chuck Dawson appeared in only one issue of comics. But that issue just so happened to be Action Comics #1, the same place where Superman made his first appearance. In his only story, a gang of crooked ranchers kill Chuck’s dad and steal his land. Chuck, with the assistance of his horse Blacky, get that land back. End of story.
Frank Dukes was born in Lubbock, and he is famous for being fat. What does a guy famous for being fat do? He joins the circus! And, later, when the X-Men come calling, he tells them to go to hell. In his first appearance, he rounded up his circus freak buddies and attacked Xavier Mansion to steal all the technical goodies the X-Men were bogarting. That didn’t work out well, and Blob turned into a long-running villain for the team. More recently, Frank had his powers taken away from him in a complicated and long-winded comics events, but he’s still kicking around. He even managed to make an appearance as a weight loss expert in Japan. You all might have seen him in that awful Wolverine movie.
If you haven’t read Preacher, you should. This series manages to be one of those that you can actually recommend to non-comics readers, and they’ll enjoy it. Jesse Custer, a failed preacher in Texas, gets the powers of God in a cosmic screw up. What does he do? He goes on a quest to find God, who’s been out of office for a really long time. He then partners up with his ex-girlfriend and an Irish vampire, and his spiritual guide on the quest is the ghost of John Wayne. He’s beset by enemies left and right, including religious nazis, Custer’s redneck swamp family and a failed suicide survivor cum rockstar called Arseface who’s face looks like, well, you get it. It’s completely nuts, and probably one of the most sacrilegious things ever made. At one point, Stephen King actually admitted that his Gunslinger series was inspired by Preacher. Preacher has been in and out of movie and TV series development hell, and will probably never get made because the material is so out there. It’s Texas at it’s best. Whiskey-soaked, over the top and basically one big middle finger to anyone with delicate sensibilities. Yeehaw.