"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo, Silver!"
So begins the opening of one of the earliest popular radio shows in the country as The Lone Ranger galloped into living rooms nightly on the NBC Blue Network, then as a campy matinee serial, and later as a Clayton Moore-led TV series. Since his radio debut in 1933, the proto-superhero and his faithful companion Tonto have endured as icons of American culture by being a shining symbol of how we mythologize and define ourselves as a nation.
However, The Lone Ranger has had a rocky trail to the silver screen, with Hollywood feature films unsuccessfully going for an unorthodox approach, such as 1981's campy clunker, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, or director Gore Verbinski's abysmal 2013 adaptation, The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp.
One bastion of respectability has been the comics industry, and Dynamite has lead the charge with its impressive line of serious titles since acquiring the license to the beloved character in 2006. After the first Eisner-nominated series written by Brett Matthews and illustrated by Sergio Cariello, a follow-up volume of The Lone Ranger followed, along with riveting miniseries like The Lone Ranger and Tonto and The Lone Ranger: Snake of Iron.
Now The Masked Man is saddling up to ride into comic shops on Oct. 3 in a new ongoing series written by multiple Eisner Award nominee Mark Russell (The Flintstones) and drawn by Bob Q (The Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit).
"The Lone Ranger endures because he is an avatar for the white hat champion of justice that never really existed in the West, but which is an important part of the American self-identity," Russell told SYFY WIRE. "We’re like an old rumpled man who looks into the mirror still expecting to see what he looked like in high school. He is that ideal self we always hope to see in the mirror and never do."
This two-fisted tale takes place in 1887 as the advent of barbed wire is causing trouble in the dusty Texas panhandle. A corrupt state senator conspires with unethical ranchers to make land problematic for traveling open rangers and native tribes. With tough new laws allowing cattlemen to kill anyone caught snipping the jagged wire, innocent folks are getting hurt. The Lone Ranger intervenes to try and stop this rampant villainy, but he’ll need to go all the way to the leader of the chaos, and call on an old friend for assistance.
"I actually liked what they did with the character in the (2013) movie," Russell added. "They tried to make it an origins story and a romance and a buddy picture and they tried to work in like fourteen train explosions. I’m hoping to tell a leaner, more focused story about two men standing athwart the forces of corruption trying to save a dying way of life in the West. I want my story to feel more like a Sergio Leone western than a Johnny Depp blockbuster. One cool discovery I made in doing my research was just how many weird and creative guns they had back then. Pepper-pot pistols with multiple rotating barrels, chain guns, and early attempts at machine guns. I worked a lot of these strange guns into the action scenes."
Dynamite's The Lone Ranger #1 corrals a vivid selection of commanding covers showcasing the talents of John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men), Mike Allred (Madman), and Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie), in addition to the atmospheric interiors by Bob Q.
"Bob Q is so great at villains, which is good because this story is mostly villains," noted Russell. "He also has this really kinetic feeling to his art, which really helps this feel more like a fun action-filled western than the soul-baring tale of personal introspection and civilizations collapse I usually write."
Take the reins of our exclusive 7-page preview of The Lone Ranger #1 and tell us if you'll join these western heroes on a rollicking ride when the premiere issue arrives Oct. 3.