Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gold Key's...Brothers of the Spear

Today it's common place to see black and white heroes fighting side by side in comics, film, and television, but fifty years ago it was very rare. Gold Key's Brothers of the Spear was a ground breaking series that secured it place as a first in American comic's history. An original feature that was created by Western Printing's writer Gaylord Du Bois and artist Jesse Marsh as a backup feature to Tarzan #25 in 1951, it ran continuously until issue #156 in 1966. Acclaimed artist Russ Manning helped develop his clean no nonsense style on the series before being chosen to take over the Tarzan title from his mentor and friend, Jesse Marsh, years later. The "Brothers of he Spear" were a black son of a Zulu chieftain, Natongo, and his adopted white brother, Dan-El, who was a member of the lost white tribe of Africa. As sub-chiefs of the tribe in the land that would become modern day Botswana, they had many exciting adventures using their superior spear play. Protecting their jungle realm from other warring tribes and eventually winning their respective thrones, they both took beautiful wives who later shared in their many adventures. After years of publication as Tarzan backup stories, the brothers finally got their own seventeen issue series with spectacular interior art by Filipino artist Jesse Santos, with later issues drawn by the talented Dan Spiegle. The covers, like most of the Gold Key titles of the period were painted, showcasing the talents of George Wilson and other comic masters at Western.

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