Strongbow the Mighty/ Blackbow the Cheyenne
Real Name: Strongbow
Identity/Class: Normal human
Affiliations: Flying Star (his steed), Tad Barnaby, Hawkeye the Hunter
Known Relatives: Grey Cloud (foster father)
Aliases: Dr Jim Barnaby, Strongbow the Mighty
Base of Operations: Powder Creek
First Appearance: as Strongbow Comet (J.B.Allen, 1953)
as Blackbow Swift (Hulton Press, 1961-63); Eagle (1963-69)
Powers/Abilities: A skilled woodsman and warrior, armed with the Mohawks' sacred bow, as well as a tomahawk and knife. He was a boxing champion.
History: Raised by Grey Cloud, Chief of the Mohawk, young Strongbow was trained to be a warrior in the tribal tradition, in spite of his Caucasian origins. After leaving to go to Boston University where he got a doctorate, he returned to his home town under an assumed name to fight injustice.
Born around 1851 to 1853, the boy who would grow up to become the warrior Strongbow was a pioneer's son, lost in the plains of Kansas during the expeditions of Kit Carson. Found wandering by a group of Mohawks, he was adopted by their chief, Grey Cloud, who had lost his own son in a buffalo hunt two months previously. When he was 16, he joined the braves on their hunting trips and about two to three years after that was formally qualified as a Mohawk Brave and was told about the sacred bow that every Mohawk had the right to try and draw. However as only three braves had managed to do so in 83 or so years, it was not an easy task (especially as it was a one shot effort). A few days afterwards, the chief signed a peace treaty with the United States at Fort Powder Creek Fort. However, this was frowned upon by the local Comanche and the following day, the Comanches attacked the fort while dressed as Mohawks. When a patrolling group of Cavalrymen found the fort in ruins and everyone killed by Mohawk arrows (including the cavalry leader's brother who was commander of the fort) they fell for the Comanche ruse and destroyed of the Mohawk camp the following day. The brave somehow survived, but the dying Grey Cloud commanded the brave to draw the sacred bow (which he did), formally inducting him into the Mohawk nation with the name "Strongbow". With his final breaths, the chief told Strongbow of his origins.
The following day Doctor Tad Barnaby of Abilene, Texas found Strongbow lying by the Mohawk River and nursed him back to health. When Strongbow related his history, the Doctor suggested that he help him become a doctor as well, and passed Strongbow off as his son, Jim. Strongbow learned English, went to the local schools and then to the University of Boston where he gained his doctorate in medicine; he also excelled at sports, becoming a heavyweight boxing champion. Tad was now living in Powder Creek and told his "son" that he was looking forward to opening a practice called Barnaby and Barnaby. However, in the two months that it took Jim to get from Boston to Powder Creek, his foster father was killed by the same Comanche brave who tricked the US cavalry into attacking his native tribe. Jim swore on Tad's soul to avenge his Mohawk ancestry, and started by defeating the brave.
Comments: Created by Edward Holmes.
Strongbow's trusty steed is the giant Palomino stallion Flying Star.
Many thanks to Steve Winders who provided a lot of background about the history of the character. He notes: "Strongbow was created by Edward Holmes who edited the Comet in which the character first appeared. The first adventures of Strongbow were written by Mike Butterworth and drawn by Geoff Campion. Strongbow ran from 1953 to 1957. Later Strongbow adventures were set further back in the history of the West and he met characters such as Davy Crockett.
Strongbow was resurrected as Blackbow the Cheyenne in Swift comic in 1961 and joined Eagle in 1963, so Holmes must technically be his creator as the whole secret identity idea which formed such an important part of Blackbow's adventures was lifted straight from the early Strongbow stories." (Both versions had the same secret identity, Dr. Jim Barnaby.) "There are two reasons for the change of name and tribe. The Cheyenne were based further west than the Mohawks and were much more involved in the popular post civil war period. Also Strongbow became a popular brand of cider, so the name was changed. For most of his time in Eagle, Blackbow was drawn by Frank Humphris. Don Lawrence also drew several strips for Eagle Annual. His adventures in Eagle were written by Edward Cowan."
Thanks to Harry Hayfield for the expanded origin information.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Strongbow the Mighty, an archer at the time of King Richard the Lionheart and the Crusades @ Mickey Mouse Weekly, then Zip
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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