Red Rider

Crimson

It’s no mystery that time has no meaning at The Time Bullet, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that day three of Wild West Week falls about 90 hours after day two.

At the very least, we have a true Golden Age obscurity to offer our understandably befuddled Time Bulleteers.  The headliner of today’s post is “Wilton Of The West,” a standard-issue cowboy that appeared in the first 24 issues of Fiction House’s Jumbo Comics, the book that was also home to a much more famous jungle queen named Sheena.

Aside from the fact that Wilton was an early creation of Jack Kirby’s that was later drawn by Golden Age great Lou Fine, there isn’t much to note about the two-fisted cowpoke.

Nearly one-third through the strip’s run, however, Wilton met a mysterious “Lone Ranger” type named the Crimson Rider who – much like Racer X decades later – would appear out of nowhere to either offer sage advice or outright save the day before disappearing once more.

The Crimson Rider was unique among Lone Ranger analogues, however, because the masked vigilante’s true identity was a woman named Mary Benton who sought vengeance against the men who murdered her father. Since comic-book storytelling was incredibly compressed at the time, Benton accomplished all of her goals in her first appearance (Jumbo Comics #9).

Crimson Rider

Benton’s crusade continued through five more appearances before she finally rode off to comic-book limbo in Jumbo Comics #18. It’s too bad, because her character was far more interesting than poor Wilton and was an early example of the sort of kick-a$$ heroine Fiction House would soon highlight throughout all its titles.

Today’s story, the Rider’s penultimate appearance, is easily the strangest adventure featuring the duo and is drawn by one of the Time Bullet’s favorite artists, George Tuska.

The untitled tale originally appeared in Jumbo Comics #17 (Fiction House, July 1940).

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And you thought ’90s heroes were extreme!

Coming tomorrow (probably): The Golden Arrow!