Real Name: Heath Benson

Identity/Class: Human (Old West era) athlete

Occupation: Owlhoot, Polecat, Ranny; former circus ringmaster and aerialist

Group Membership: Iron Mask's band of Old West "super-villains"

Affiliations: Dr. Danger, Fat Man, Hurricane, Iron Mask, Red Raven

Enemies: Rawhide Kid, West Coast Avengers (Tigra especially), Whirlo/Rattler; Phantom Rider (Lincoln Slade), Two-Gun Kid

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: mobile throughout the Old West USA

First Appearance: Rawhide Kid I#37 (December, 1963)



Powers: None. The Rattler was a highly skilled athlete, specializing in gymnastics and aerial maneuvers. He was exceedingly quick and was very strong, although his abilities were not superhuman. In addition, he was an experienced horseman and marksman.






History: (Rawhide Kid I#37(fb)-BTS) - The man who would become the Rattler was part of a famous team of aerialists until he was injured in a fall. Unable to continue his act, he was hired as the ringmaster for a traveling circus. However, at some point he decided to use his talents in a career of crime, and established the identity of the Rattler.




(Rawhide Kid I#37) - The Rattler began to loot towns and other settlers in the vicinity of the traveling circus. His speed and agility enabled him to evade capture. Eventually, after the Rattler nearly killed one of his victims, the Two-Gun Kid was drafted to bring him in. The Rattler bested the Two-Gun Kid and escaped him on their first encounter. However, the Kid suspected the identity of the costumed Rattler, and headed to the circus to confront him. The Kid accused the acrobat Whirlo of being the Rattler, challenged him to aerial combat, and defeated him. However, the true Rattler then appeared and challenged the Kid to a rematch. The Kid succeeded in getting the drop on the Rattler, even in aerial combat, and knocked him out and unmasked him. The Rattler was revealed as the ringmaster for the circus--the Rawhide Kid claimed to have known it all the time, having seen a picture of the former aerialist in the weekly gazette a few weeks back.

(Two-Gun Kid#88-BTS) - The Rattler escaped from prison. Whirlo used this information to pose as the Rattler, thinking he could commit the crimes while the original would be blamed.





(West Coast Avengers II#18) - In 1876, The Rattler joined forces with Iron Mask, Hurricane, Red Raven, Dr. Danger, and the Fat Man in organizing a large number of criminals, based on the exploits of the cowboy heroes and some time traveling modern age heroes against Kang the Conqueror. However, the West Coast Avengers traveled back in time, and assisted the cowboy heroes Phantom Rider, Rawhide Kid, and Two-Gun Kid in bringing the criminals in. The Rattler attempted to ambush Tigra, who quickly overpowered him and hurled him into Hurricane, knocking them both out.


Comments: Created by Stan "The Man" Lee and Dick Ayers.

A footnote in WCA#18 confirms that it is the original Rattler who appeared in that issue.

Oh, What a Night, when the Rattler first appeared!

His real name was revealed in Marvel Westerns: Outlaw Files.

He should be distinguished from:

Rawhide Kid I#37 (December, 1963) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Dick Ayers (artist)
Two-Gun Kid#88 (July, 1967) - Roy Thomas (writer), Ogden Whitney (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
West Coast Avengers II#18 (March, 1987) - Steve Englehart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)

First Posted: 07/16/2002
Last updated: 08/01/2002

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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