The Galloping Ghost

Real Name: Doc Laraby

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: Vigilante

Affiliations: Cliff Baxter, Luke Jackson, Running Deer, Blaze

Enemies: Larsen, Slash Denison, Pecos

Known Relatives: Unidentified father (deceased), Colonel Corbett (unspecified relative)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Montana

First Appearance: Hornet #167 (D.C.Thomson, 19th November 1966)

Powers/Abilities: Skilled horseman and gunslinger.

History: In the late 18th century, Colonel Corbett was the tallest officer in the U.S. Cavalry, and reputed to be able to ride anything with four legs. Trusted with guarding a gold coin shipment through Montana, he and his troops were massacred by hostile Kiowa natives. The gold was not recovered, and the story grew that Corbett had buried it before his death.

Decades later, Corbett's descendent (see comments) was the owner of the Leaning H ranch, and though most of the region's white settlers remained wary of the Kiowa, peace had been established, to the extent that the ranch owner's son, Doc Laraby, had grown up friends with some of the Kiowa and now treated their injuries from time to time. However, the villainous Larsen coveted the ranch, and with the assistance of his sidekick Slash Denison, he murdered Doc's father, disguising the death to make it look like as accidental rockfall. Larsen faked a will that left the ranch to him rather than Doc, but there were two witnesses to the murder, a Kiowa brave and an old prospector. To cover his tracks, Larsen subsequently killed the prospector, hiding his body under a rockslide in Thunder Canyon, but he was apparently unaware of the brave. Nearly a decade after the murder, around the middle of the 19th century, Doc Laraby learned the truth about his father's demise from the brave, but since Native testimony would not be permitted in court, Laraby began a surreptitious hunt for the prospector, unaware he too was dead.

After six months hunting without results, Laraby decided to change tack. Convinced there would be proof hidden somewhere in the ranch-house, but that it would be dangerous to go poking around there, he hit on a plan to use Corbett's legend to his advantage. He would disguise himself as Corbett's ghost, so that should someone discover him mid-search, shock and fear would give him a momentary advantage. A luminous grinning skull mask provided the shock value, but Laraby went to pains to maintain the illusion, donning outdated Cavalry boots discontinued in 1800 and arming himself with a single shot pistol of the era (Laraby was an avid gun collector). He even went so far as to "borrow" (steal, then return) and ride bareback Blaze, an unbroken horse that wild-horse trader Cliff Baxter had been trying to break in, compensating Cliff with a note written on 18th century paper and coins apparently from the missing shipment (either he'd found it, perhaps during his hunt for the prospector, or gotten them from the Kiowa, who were reputed to have kept souvenirs of their victory, or just coins of the same era he procured). Laraby slew Denison in a gunfight during his initial foray to the ranch, forcing him to abandon his search that night, and he returned Blaze to Baxter's corral, resulting in Baxter being wrongly blamed by Larsen and his gunslinger, Pecos. Baxter and his friend Luke Jackson, an old prospector who had become an expert on Corbett after years hutning for the missing gold, soon figured out the ghost's true identity, and became Laraby's allies in his quest.

Comments: Created by Josep Marti.

Doc Laraby is described by Luke Jackson as "the only man alive with Corbett's blood in him." Assuming this means he was a direct descendent, and not something like a great-nephew, plus given the different surnames, and that the gap between Corbett and the Doctor was only a few decades, I'd imagine Corbett was Laraby's maternal grandfather.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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