Have Mask, Will Travel


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The first, big-budget Lone Ranger film in decades was released less than 24 hours ago and already looks to be as big a flop as the previous attempt.

Even if the American public doesn’t accept Johnny Depp as a Native American warrior, however, it’s safe to say the Ranger’s status as a cultural icon will remain unchanged. Like Popeye, Ichabod Crane and Superman, certain figures are permanently ingrained in the popular consciousness despite the relative success or failure of their respective Hollywood adaptations.

In honor of the Ranger’s ongoing legacy, here’s an adventure starring one of the character’s many imitators: The Mystery Rider. Created by artist Charles Quinlan – who previously illustrated such Golden Age favorites as Cat-Man and Miss Victory – the Rider was Rick Howard, a bronco buster who feigned cowardice whenever evil threatened the Bar B-X Ranch so his boss – and buxom love interest  – Lila wouldn’t uncover his secret.

I’m not sure why all the subterfuge was necessary, but Quinlan had to find a reason for Howard to don a Lone Ranger mask so …

The following story originally appeared in Exciting Comics #61 (Standard, May 1948). The art is by Quinlan.

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