THE LONE RANGER
I love super heroes, always have. I wasn’t officially introduced to the world of comic books until the age of 8 when my older cousin Greg was showing off his collection to Doug and I on a visit to his house. Sure we were familiar with comics before that and had a few lying around, some Archie’s and the odd Batman and Spider-Man but we had no idea about the depth of the storytelling being produced on a monthly basis. When Greg escorted us down to the Green Gables at the end of his street to purchase our first comics we were hooked. I haven’t missed an issue of Spider-Man since that day. I guess that you could say that Doug and I were pretty easily sold on the whole concept. Its no surprise to me how quickly we latched onto the Marvel Universe though as it seemed like it was fated to happen. We were already fans of the Spider-Man cartoons, the Super Friends animated series, the Batman live action show, and the Superman movies. We already had toys of Batman, Hulk, Spider-Man, Robin, Superman and others. We were even already making our own crudely constructed comic books. I actually don’t know how we didn’t discover the world of comic books years earlier with all that media influence. Yep, I love those spandex clad muscle men. But you don’t need heat vision , super strength and the ability to climb walls to be a hero.
There’s a whole other brand of hero that I’m also enamored with that’s a little less super. Some of you may not be able to see the distinction and I agree it’s a fine line but I’m talking about pulp era heroes. That’s not the official title given to the characters I’m talking about and some might dispute me calling these particular characters “pulp” but for lack of a better word that’s what I’m using. I’m referring to characters like Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Zorro, The Shadow, The Phantom, Dick Tracy, The Spirit, and The Lone Ranger. These are characters that originated in radio shows and film serials and pulp magazines; characters that most everyone has heard of even if they’ve never seen them on film or read about them in a book. These characters seem to fade from view for quite some time but always reemerge every few years or decades to remind fans why they were popular in the first place. I was unfamiliar with many of these classic heroes myself until a contemporary movie was made about them. For example, Warren Beatty introduced me to Dick Tracy, Billy Zane to The Phantom and Alec Baldwin to The Shadow. Those movies may not have been stellar but they got me to go back and find out more about these classic characters and now I’m fans of them all. Others characters I’ve known of since I was a little kid though I’m not even entirely sure how they found their way into my consciousness. It’s almost like I was born knowing who the Lone Ranger and Zorro were. Like with Spider-Man and Batman, I have no memory of discovering them; of a time not knowing of them.
When we were little Doug owned this Lone Ranger toy and I believe he had his horse, Silver, as well. We had a few other western themed toys based on real people of the era but this was our only official Lone Ranger figure. I had a generic Indian toy who I used as Tonto, the Ranger’s sidekick. This figure is from a toy line produced by GABRIEL in 1980 and it was based on the 1981 Ranger flick, The Legend of the Lone Ranger. I’m sure we probably saw it as kids but I have no recollection of it. Apparently it strayed from the original story line and ended up being a pretty big flop thus killing the franchise for a couple of decades. In 2006 comic book company Dynamite acquired the rights to the ranger and has been publishing pretty decent comic books ever since. He’s due for another big mainstream revival next year when a new Lone Ranger film is released. This one will star Armie Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in the social network) as the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto. It should be interesting and hopefully raises the ranger to new heights. I’m also hoping it provides me with all kinds of cool new Lone Ranger toys as for now all I have is this 1980 relic.
Not that it’s a bad figure mind you, I actually think it’s a great figure. He doesn’t have a ton of articulation but he bends at the knees at least so he can ride a horse better than any Star Wars figure could ever ride a tauntaun. The sculpt is simple and yet work great. I don’t associate the ranger with any one actor so to me this figure that I grew up with is the definitive look of the Lone Ranger. The solid baby blues and the red neckerchief are classic. Though I’m not opposed to them modernizing his look a little for the new movie. I actually really like what they’ve done with him in the Dynamite comics, giving him a darker outfit and a larger mask that covers his nose. I don’t think this figure looks much like the actor who starred in the Legend of the Lone Ranger and that’s just fine with me as the actor looks kind of silly. The Ranger originally came with two small pistols that fit in the holsters on his hips. I don’t have the guns with mine. I bought my ranger loose on ebay a little while ago as I was always a little jealous of Doug owning this guy. Now all I need is a Tonto is set beside him, and this time I’ll make sure he’s official. Hi Yo Silver! Away! 7 out of 10.