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The Vigilante
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Coming soon

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Fred Hembeck

The Vigilante
Uploaded January 1, 2002

This one's for Gray Morrow.

The Vigilante started off as one of DC's western heroes, back in the days when the comic book industry was gloriously more diverse in the genres it published. He debuted in Action Comics #42 (right after the lead Superman feature), courtesy of Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin.


The Vigiliante's alter ego, Greg Sanders, came from a long line of western-themed crime fighters. His grandfather fought to open up the American West to settlement, and his father became a sheriff, battling criminals in Wyoming. While pursuing a successful career as a radio country singer, he learned that his father had been killed by outraged Garth Brooks fans (okay, actually, they were gold thieves). The Gregster returned to the west to track down the dastards (a real word, honest!) and perform the achy-breaky on their noggins. So began Sander's dual life as the high-profile 'Prairie Troubadour' and that masked nemesis of crime, The Vigilante. (Cue the Ennio Morricone score...)

Things got a bit weird when DC decided to combine several of their lesser-known heroes into a team called The Seven Soldiers of Victory. In addition to The Vigilante, the SsoV's roster consisted of The Shining Knight, Green Arrow, Speedy, the Star-Spangled Kid, Stripsey, and the Crimson Avenger. (Technically, it should have been Ten Soldiers of Victory, if you include the Avenger's sidekick Wing, along with Stuff and the Knight's flying horse, but editors have always been suckers for alliteration.)

In addition to being part of the All-Star Squadron, the Seven Soldiers of Victory were also called the Law's Legionnaires, which is oddly appropriate considering that they eventually become the LOST legionnaires, following a battle with something-or-other called the Nebula Man. When Wing gave his life to destroy the Nebula Man (there's probably a good sacrifice-pop-fly joke in there somewhere, but I'm writing this on New Year's Day, and I'm a wee bit too hungover to work it properly), the resulting explosion hurled the other Legionnaires/Soldiers into different historical eras and places.

The Vigilante landed back in the days of the Old West, and remained there for a number of years until rescued by the collective efforts of the Justice League and Justice Society, including Black Canary. Mmmm. Fishnets.

So how does this connect to Gray Morrow? In addition to the picture shown above, Morrow produced the art for a series of Vigilante stories in World's Finest Comics during the 1970s, in those wonderful eighty-page dollar comics that Dad used to distract me with on those long drives to various vacation destinations. While Morrow has never been a fan favourite, I've always liked and admired his work, and he'll always have a place in my childhood memories.

Rest in peace.

- NP

The copyrights, trademarks and publication rights to Fred's cartoons belong to DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Fred Hembeck where appropriate. Proud Robot Productions graphics, site design, cartoon re-coloring and commentary copyrights belong to Neil Polowin and Proud Robot Productions.

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