Often overlooked in Robert Kanigher’s canon are his fine issues of Tomahawk, edited by Murray Boltinoff and Joe Kubert, with top-flight art by Frank Thorne, Joe Kubert, and Neal Adams (covers).
Blazing a Trail, some notes on RK’s Tomahawk:
Tomahawk #118 (9-10/68), "Tomahawk: Guilty of Murder", Boltinoff edits, script by Kashden, art by Grandenetti & Orlando. This is the last issue of Tomahawk before Kanigher assumes the scripting reins.
Tomahawk #119 (11-12/68), "Bait for a Buzzard", Boltinoff edits, 1st RK script, 1st Thorne art, 1st use of the double-page splash motif in Tomahawk; was this a Kubert innovation or one by RK?, (Note that Kubert is not the editor at this point.)
Tomahawk #124 (9-10/69), "The Valley of No Return", MB edits, RK script. Frank Thorne pencils and Joe Kubert inks, beautiful!
Tomahawk #125 (11-12/69),RK autobiography in letters page
Double-page splash motif used in 6 issues, in Tomahawk: #119, 127,128, 132, 134,& 135
Tomahawk #131 (11-12/70): 1st Hawk, 1st Joe Kubert edits, 2 page Firehair ad
Tomahawk #132 (1-2/71), a 6 page JK Firehair backup
Tomahawk 134 (4-5/71), a 6 page JK Firehair backup
Tomahawk #135 (7-8/ 71) "Spoilers" an 8 page backup by DeFuccio & Severin
Tomahawk # 136 (9-10/71), a 6 page JK Firehair backup
Tomahawk #138 (1-2/72) "Christmas" by RK & FT, a classic.
Neal Adams covers: Tomahawk: #116-119, 121,123-130
Nick Cardy cover: Tomahawk #120
Irv Novick cover:Tomahawk #122
Joe Kubert covers:Tomahawk #131-140
Frazetta reprints: Tomahawk #131, & 139
The LOC That Says It All (for me), from Tomahawk #138, (1-2/72):
“Dear Joe: I'm truly sorry that I have not written before, because I find your magazines (in particular) to be of consistently high quality. Of the three I am able to pick up fairly regularly (I'd buy more but I have to live on a student's budget which isn't easy these days) I can't decide which I like the most--S.S. War, Rock, or Tomahawk. OAAW # 235 contained two pieces of work that left me moved beyond words. Please--just tell Sam Glanzman that "Kamikaze" was the finest single story that I've ever seen in a war comic and tell Bob K and Alex T. that their "Glory Boys" runs a close second.Frank Thorne's Son of Tomahawk stories have also been a major source of pleasure in recent months. The Firehair stories in Tomahawk are among my favorites. I have high hopes of someday seeing Bat Lash and Firehair sharing the same book.Well, that's it for my first Joe Kubert aimed LOC. Take it easy and Peace. Wishing you good karma. John W. Hanley Saginaw, Mich.”
“Dear John, Producing a good magazine is a chore made much easier when aided and abbetted by the tremendous talents of guys like Sam Glanzman, Bob Kanigher, Frank Thorne and Alex Toth. In fact, without them the job would be nigh impossible.”
The RK Autobiography from Tomahawk #125 ( 11-12/69):
“A million years ago, I published a book called "Writing for Money". One section was devoted to comics. I've been paying for it ever since. I started during the "Live Dangerously" days of comics. Once, I phoned an entire "Steel Sterling" script to artist Irv Novick. He finished drawing it while the operator asked me to drop in another nickel. Murray Boltinoff, who was editing a clutch of comics, pulled the strings that dropped me behind an editorial desk at DC. I still don't know whether to kiss him or kill him. But he's been trying on bullet-proof vests. I became the editor the fans loved to hate. For what I did to "Wonder Woman" for the past 20 years, anyway. They applauded with their hands tied for several characters that spilled out of my typewriter. Black Canary, Star Sapphire, the Harlequin, the Rose and the Thorn, Batman's Poison Ivy, the western version of Johnny Thunder, The Trigger Twins, the Viking Prince, Danger Trail's King Faraday, the Silent Knight, Sea Devils, Sgt. Rock, and Easy Co., Capt. Storm, Johnny Cloud, the Haunted Tank, Enemy Ace, Metal Men and others. Skiing, fencing, painting, and traveling keep me out of a wheelchair. Visiting foreign countries has served some purpose. I adapted Michelangelos seen in Florence, and Rembrandts viewed in Amsterdam for comics magazine covers. The fans weren't any the wiser. My severest critics at home are my 11-year-old son Evan, my 18-year-old daughter Jan, and my "over 21" wife, Bernice. I'm on extended leave of absence from editing, devoting all my time to writing. The wheel has turned full tilt. Murray is riding shotgun on my typewriter. I couldn't have a worthier aide.”
Talk about going out in a blaze of glory! Tomahawk #119-140, what an incredible run through the funnybook gauntlet!
About the author:
Eureka! Don Mangus unearths a rare jewel and shows us the many facets of Robert Kanigher's Tomahawk. If he's not hunting for diamonds in the rough, Don can be reached at: