Red Warrior

First Appearance: Red Warrior #1 (January 1951).
Appearances: Red Warrior #1-6.
Years Active: 1870s?

Red Warrior is the son of the Comanche Grey Eagle and Nakomah. Grey Eagle, the chief of his tribe of Comanche, prays to "Manitou" before his child's birth, hoping that his son grows up into something special. Grey Eagle is rewarded with a bolt of lightning (delivered, in the story, from the hand of one of the Comanche gods), and knows that "Manitou" has answered his prayers.

As the child grows he is trained in both the ways of the warriors but also in the skills of "the women," things like scraping and tanning, sewing his own leggings, "the magic of herbs and roots, the secrets of healing which Manitou hid in all plants." Sure enough, the child (who has no other name that I ever read) grows up to be skilled in all things, learning warrior skills and "the ways of birds and beasts" and being groomed to replace Grey Eagle as the new chief of their tribe. The man, who will later become the "Red Warrior," (oh dear, sorry if I spoiled it for you), is a good person, never wanting to kill more than he or his tribe can eat (when times are hard for his group of Comanche he goes out hunting for them and [of course] finds food and drink for them, saving the tribe) and allowing a mother bear to go free, rather than killing her just for her skin.  He is not a wuss, however; when a rival within the Comanche spreads lies about him and charges that he brings no meat for the tribe from hunts, Red Warrior tells him "seal your mouth or fight to the death." The rival takes up the challenge, and Red Warrior kills him.

Red Warrior is also a member of "the secret order of Red Dogs," presumably a warrior's society. With his horse White Wing (when he was younger Red Warrior rode "Black Eagle") Red Warrior does good for both the Comanche and the "white man," taking on renegades of both groups.

Notes: "Manitou" is a real being in some Native American mythologies, standing for a "mysterious cosmic power everywhere in nature." It was not, however, a Comanche deity or concept. The manitou was worshiped, more or less, by Algonquin tribes, including the Sauk, Delaware, Menomini, Ojibwa, and Cree, none of whom are really close to the Comanche. Other than that error, however, the Red Warrior stories are surprisingly sympathetic to Red Warrior and to Native Americans in general, portraying the Comanche, a notoriously difficult group, in positive (but not saccharine/New Age) terms and showing some of the bad things that white Americans did to the Indians during the 19th Century (throwing them off their lands, slaughtering old women and children, breaking treaties, etc). Moreover, the writer(s) of the Red Warrior stories made an obvious effort to get some of the details of the Comanche culture right, in one story showing Red Warrior and his enemy fighting a duel among the raised biers of the Comanche dead; the Comanche didn't bury their dead, but instead left them exposed to the elements. Likewise, the stories show Red Warrior being a part of a secret society, something that the Comanche, like many another Plains tribes, had. That the writer(s) knew these things and portrayed them accurately is the mark of good research.

Write me!

Go back to the Pre-FF #1 Heroes page.