WHITE INDIANMedium: Comic books
Published by: Magazine Enterprises
First Appeared: 1949
Creators: unknown writer and Frank Frazetta (artist)
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Thun'da #1 is widely known as the only comic book completely drawn, every single page, by the highly collectible artist Frank Frazetta (Shining Knight). But like many widely-known facts, this isn't exactly true. Two years earlier, the first
issue of White Indian sported Frazetta's artwork from beginning to end. While it's true that White Indian consisted of reprints, it does have the distinction of being the first comic book entirely drawn by Frazetta. What's more, unlike Thun'da, the following issue of White Indian also contained Frazetta's artwork.
White Indian began in the back pages of Durango Kid #1 (November, 1949), and starred a colonial-era ancestor of Durango (a movie cowboy adapted into comics) named Dan Brand. On the day Dan was to marry his sweetheart, Lucy Wharton, he was confronted by his former rival for her hand, Peter Bradford, who tried to kill him. The bullet killed Lucy instead, leaving Dan with no purpose in life except revenge. Immediately following the funeral, Dan left his home in genteel Philadelphia society, to pursue the murderer westward.
As the unknown script writer put it, the West was still east of the Mississippi back then, and there was plenty of frontier danger to be found in the wilds of western Pennsylvania. After a skirmish in which he killed a bear armed with nothing but a knife, Dan was lying near death, when Great Eagle, chief of the Catawbas, and his young son, Tipi, found him and nursed him back to health. Dan wanted to get right back on the vengeance trail, but Great Eagle talked him into sticking around long enough to shed his citified ways and learn how they avenged themselves out there in the wilderness.
Dan had been there a year, when Peter Bradford turned up again, as a rumrunner and gun merchant to rival tribes, and his first act after reappearing was to murder Great Eagle. He got his comeuppance, finally, plummeting over a cliff as a result of the fistfight that ensued. From then on, Dan and Tipi, by now blood brothers, were a team.
The publisher, Magazine Enterprises (Funnyman, Redmask), ran the adventures of Dan and Tipi in Durango's back pages until #30 (October, 1954). Frazetta drew just over half of them, subsequent creative personnel being Gardner Fox (Moon Girl), writer, and Fred Meagher (Straight Arrow), artist.
Fox and Meagher were still doing it, when ME reprinted some of the early stories under the White Indian title. Its five issues were part of the A-1 Comics series, the company's answer to Dell's Four Color Comics. During the 11 years of its existence, A-1 published licensed material such as Texas Slim and original series like Jet Powers. The first A-1 issue devoted to White Indian was #94 (July, 1953).
Only the first three issues were reprinted. The other two contained new material by Fox and Meagher. The final one was A-1 #135, undated but copyrighted in 1954. That was ME's last use of the White Indian character.