Whip Wilson

First Appearance (in a Marvel comic): Whip Wilson #9 (April 1950).
Appearances: Whip Wilson #9-11.
Years Active: 1870s?

Whip Wilson was a heroic gunfightin' cowboy ("a man whose fame had spread the length and breadth of the West") who roamed the Old West with his "wonder horse" Bullet.

Based on the character of an actor (like Reno Browne) in various Monogram westerns rather than on a real person (like Annie Oakley or Wyatt Earp), Whip Wilson's comic adventures were on the more serious side; perhaps because he was a man, Whip Wilson was written by Marvel as something much closer to their normal cowboy characters, like the Rawhide Kid, rather than being a figure to appear in comedic stories, like Annie Oakley and Arizona Annie. Whip Wilson, in the comics, works for "Governor Christy," wandering the West and cleaning up whatever towns he's sent to. He is the "man with the magic whip," and is very good with it. Of course, he's very good with his guns, too, but his ten-foot rawhide whip is his signature weapon, and he's faster on the draw with it than other men, even good shootists, are with their guns. He can snatch guns out of hands and holsters in a draw, catch thrown knives in mid-air with his whip, and even use his whip to throw the knives that he catches with his whip.

Wilson is also (of course) friends with the Native Americans, being particularly close to "Chief Gray Eagle." (I'm forced to wonder if there's a possible link in continuity between Whip Wilson and the Red Warrior, whose father was "Grey Eagle.") Like one or two other Western heroes, Whip, though good-natured, had a bit of an edge to him, and when a white man makes a practice of murdering Native Americans, especially those of the "Serrano" tribe, Whip, after capturing the murderer, turns him over to the Serranos, rather than handing him in to the white authorities.

In his spare time Whip is the featured performer in the "Whip Wilson Wild West Show," in which he performs various tricks with his whip to raise money for charities, such as the "Mexican-American border hospital." (Such good feeling towards Mexicans was, as you might imagine, quite rare in the real West, but not, I guess, on Earth-Marvel.)

Whip has no origin that I ever found, although he alludes to having been taught how to use his whip by a Mexican. He was evidently a crimefighter from an early age, capturing some notorious rustlers in Texas at age 19. It was then that he met Bullet, who was a wild stallion; Bullet's breaking took hours, but when finally tamed he was the steed of Whip's dreams. Whip also, interestingly, encountered villains the likes of which were usually reserved, in Atlas comics, for the Kid Colts and Rawhide Kids, rather than third-tier characters (albeit ones with media tie-ins) like himself. Whip clashed with The Hypnotist, whose hypnotic powers gave him a significant advantage over his opponents, and with Dr. Morrow, who produced enormous, monstrous animals, crosses between horses and bulls and other, less easily identified hybrids. Finally, Whip is not above executing killers himself, rather than waiting for the law to do it.

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