Texas Kid (II)

First Appearance: Texas Kid #1 (January 1951).
Appearances. Texas Kid #1-10, Two Gun Western v1 #8-9, Wild Western #23-25, Marvel Team-Up Annual #3 (referred to--see below).
Years Active: 1846-?

Lance Temple works by day at the Temple Ranch (near Caliber City, Texas), the ranch operated by Lance's father, the blind Texas Ranger Zane (and their Mexican maid Lucinda). But when trouble rears its ugly, Joe Don Baker-looking head, Lance Temple slides a yellow mask over his face and rides into action on the back of his horse Thunder as The Texas Kid. Lance is, of course, "greased lightning with a six-gun," capable of shooting a flying arrow in half and throwing a knife so that it splits only two rows of kernels off a corn cob, but like Clark Kent he is seen as less than a real man (much less a true Texan) by his girl, Belle, and like Clark Kent he has to slip away to become the Texas Kid. He is assisted on occasion by his father's two most trusted men, Emilio (a fat stereotypical Mexican) and Red Hawk (a stereotypical Apache who refers to Zane as "white father" and to Lance as "brother").

The Texas Kid does have an origin. In 1846, in the wake of the Mexican-American War, Texas was

a vast sprawling territory bled almost white by constant turmoil...panting like a huge giant in the southwest! Quick to see riches and the prospect of loot in the exhausted state, hordes of roving marauders swept across the huge territory, killing and plundering!
Several of these marauders, led by the notorious outlaw Link Cado, came to the "peaceful border town" of Caliber City. Cado was looking for a former Texas Ranger, Zane Temple, who had put him away years before. Cado and his gang swept through Caliber City, killing many of its citizens (including its sheriff) They then made their way to the Temple Ranch. They laid siege to the ranch, killing Lucy Temple, Zane's wife. Zane fought back, killing nineteen of them, but he got backshot by Link Cado, who then shot the gun out of the hands of Lance Temple, the young son of Zane and Lucy. Cado was about to kill Lance when he was driven off by the arrval of Emilio and Red Hawk, who in this story are not stereotyped, although their characters are simplistic.

Red Hawk took Zane away and helped heal him, although Red Hawk could do nothing about Zane's blindness. Emilio and Red Hawk ("once the son a (sic) great chief") vowed to stay at the ranch and help take care of both Zane and Lance.

They kept their word and stayed! They tended the ranch and hunted for food! The dashing, swarthy Mexican won the heart of little Lance while the silent Indian ministered to the needs of Zane Temple, guiding him to health, teaching him to live by sense and tough! From their vast store of knowledge, Lance gleaned a priceles treasure of hunting lore and fighting skill! The years rolled by and he absorbed the love and adoration of three men who bestowed on him wisdom, skill and courage!
Then, when he's in his late teens or early twenties, Link Cado returned to the nearby town of Jericho. Lance very much wished to avenge his mother and father, but his father told him:
Remember what I'm telling you, Lance! I've drummed it into you all these years! Shun violence! Avoid bloodshed! There're peaceful ways to settle arguments, so use them! I want you to be everything I dreamed of being!
Lance decided, as so many of the other Atlas cowboy heroes decided, that he would fight crime under a different identity. So Emilio gave him a costume ("she was mine in the dashing days of my young caballero life") and Red Hawk gave him the horse Thunder and a Winchester rifle, and Lance went out to do good, first avenging his father's murder and then avenging other murders and crimes.

Note: Despite the similarity in names and backgrounds, the Texas Kid (II) and the Outlaw Kid are no relation.

Thanks to Ronald Byrd, I can point out that in Marvel Team-Up Annual #3 Power Man was shown reading a book about the Texas Kid. One more Atlas Western character who's in modern Marvel continuity--neat, eh?

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