Real Name: Thomas Thunderhead
Identity/Class: Human magic-user, pre-Modern era (1970s), Native American (Cheyenne nation)
Group Membership: None (he is part of the succession of Red Wolves)
Affiliations: Rhonda Harper, Dragonfly, Gabriel the Devil-Hunter, Lobo, Owayodata, Jill Tomahawk
Enemies: Clayton Bickford and his men, King Cycle and his gang, unidentified kidnappers,
Known Relatives: Johnny
Wakely (Red Wolf,
possibly descended from Wildrun (Red Wolf); possible relative of Will Talltrees
Aliases: Wolfhead Warrior, Prince of the Plains, the Living Owayodata
Base of Operations: An unidentified city (someplace where you'd have to take a plane and fly west to Dallas, Texas; it still seemed as if there were Western plains, like in Arizona, a car-ride away though - possibly northeastern USA (one adventure was set on land formerly ruled by the Mohawk))
First Appearance: Red Wolf#7 (May, 1973)
Powers/Abilities: Red Wolf was an accomplished athlete, fighter, and tracker. He had no fear of heights and could navigate narrow paths with ease. He wielded a coup stick--a long slender branch used by a warrior to touch an enemy to prove his bravery, rather than shooting him from a long distance--which he could magically summon at will. He usually used it to strike others directly, though he sometimes hurled it as well. He also carried a supply of Slippery Elm powder, which he could cast to the ground, causing opponents to lose their footing (or their wheel traction).
He was typically assisted by Lobo, a wolf that obeyed his commands and could track, attack, or detain others. Red Wolf could further teleport Lobo to his side (or to nearby locations) at will, and Lobo could become immaterial to avoid attacks.
(Red Wolf#9 (fb) - BTS) - Thomas Thunderhead knew that his great-great-grandfather was supposed to have been called Red Wolf, but he assumed that to have been legend.
(Red Wolf#9 (fb)) <1973> - Thomas Thunderhead had a dream about Owayodata--who cursed him for abandoning his people--and being attacked by wolves. He awoke to find a wolf within his apartment. Initially terrified, Thunderhead instinctively called out the wolf's name, Lobo, and it became docile. Upon returning to his room, Thunderhead found the garb and coup stick of Red Wolf.
(Red Wolf#9 (fb) - BTS) - The next
day, Thunderhead began to study his ancestor, and he was determined to
follow in his footsteps as Red Wolf.
Since the time of the dream, Thunderhead found that his senses were much sharper than before.
(Red Wolf#7 (fb) - BTS) - Red Wolf moved to the city.
(Red Wolf#7) - Soon after, Red
Wolf and Lobo stopped a group of criminals attempting to steal the
purse and camera of Rhonda Harper, who coincidentally was the
great-granddaughter of a gold prospector whose treasures had been
hidden by Red Wolf (Johnny Wakely) in the 19th century after the man
had been killed by renegade Native Americans. Wakely had sent a letter
to Rhonda's great-grandmother detailing the location of the hidden
gold, but the woman had never gone after the gold, though she had kept
the letter and passed it on to her descendents. Red Wolf and Rhonda
shared their ancestors histories with one another. While Rhonda figured
the criminals were after the lost gold, Red Wolf explained to her that
the criminals would have no way of suspecting that she held such a
treasure. Instead he thought she might have caught them on film in the
act of committing another crime (because, they couldn't just have been
trying to steal her purse and camera).
Red Wolf met up with her the next night after the film had been developed, and it indeed showed them committing a drive-by shooting. Just then the same criminals broke into Rhonda's apartment. Red Wolf knocked them all back, then grabbed Rhonda and leapt out a window, catching a rope from the next door construction site. Since Native Americans have no fear of heights like the palefaces(?), Red Wolf was able to easily outmaneuver and escape the criminals.
Rhonda then convinced Red Wolf that he owed her assistance in locating the gold, and so he flew with her to Dallas, then drove out to a reservation where he knew an elderly warrior whose father had known Johnny Wakely. The man told them of the cave containing the diaries of Red Wolf, and these noted the site of the gold. Upon finding it, Rhonda offered to split is with Red Wolf, but he declined. He told her to use her newfound wealth well, and she told him she would use it to fight pollution.
After they parted ways, Red Wolf was confronted by a vision of Owayodata, who encouraged him to fight crime and destroy the lawless. Red Wolf accepted the challenge.
(Red Wolf#8 (fb) - BTS) - Red Wolf hunted King Cycle's motorcycle gang for weeks.
(Red Wolf#8 (fb) - BTS) - Lobo's paw was wounded.
(Red Wolf#8) - Red Wolf tried to
take out King Cycle's motorcycle gang, casting a handful of slippery
elm powder on the ground as they approached. Many of the bikers skidded
on the powder, but Red Wolf also slipped on it, hitting his head on a
fire hydrant, and the bikers took advantage of the break to escape. He
then found Jill Tomahawk, a young Mohawk policewoman who had been
knocked out while trying to stop King Cycle's gang as they were casing
a museum. Red Wolf advised Jill to search police records for a fence
dealing in stolen art treasures while he returned home to Lobo, who now
appeared pretty much healed.
The next evening Red Wolf and Lobo staked out the museum, while Jill sent a message by smoke signal that King Cycle's gang would rob it that night. Soon enough they did arrive, with one of the cyclist slamming into Lobo when he chased them. Red Wolf crashed through the museum skylight, taking on the entire gang with the aid of the recovered Lobo, but then Jill arrived to help and was instead taken hostage by one of the cyclists, forcing Red Wolf and Lobo to back off so they could escape. However, Lobo was able to follow their trail which lead back to King Cycle's mansion, where they found Jill tied up to King Cycle's spinning disc trap. Red Wolf was forced to leave her and seek out King Cycle--revealed as some sort of weird Buddhist priest or something. Red Wolf overpowered King Cycle's men, while King Cycle escaped via a trapdoor, activated the spinning disc holding Jill, and then smashing its control mechanisms, so that "nothing on Earth could halt it." However, Red Wolf trailed King Cycle to the basement, dropped him with a single punch, and then smashed the fuse box for the house, cutting power to the disc. Lobo kept the other cyclists at bay while Red Wolf called the police and credited Jill Tomahawk with the criminals' capture, though he received an earful from her for his mail chauvinism.
(Red Wolf#9) - Red Wolf shared his
origins with Jill Tomahawk, after which he saved her from a package
containing a bomb. The package's sender, Clay Bickford--aging cowboy
actor turned bankrupt land snatcher--then arrived with his men, holding
the two at gunpoint. Bickford had learned that Tomahawk had been
digging into his background, looking for a story, and had moved to stop
her before she discovered that he was trying to con some Native
Americans into selling their land cheap so that he could obtain the oil
hidden beneath it. Bickford forced Red Wolf and Tomahawk to accompany
him back to his ranch, though Lobo secretly followed them. Red Wolf
slapped Bickford when he bad-mouthed Native Americans, but Bickford
struck him with his rifle and knocked Red Wolf and Tomahawk down the
Red Wolf then whistled, mystically transporting Lobo to his side. When Bickford's men came to investigate the noise from the basement, Lobo leapt to the attack, turning immaterial to allow bullets to pass harmlessly through him, then sank his teeth into his foes. As Red Wolf and Tomahawk rushed to the top of the stairs, Red Wolf again summoned Lobo, this time appearing behind and attacking Bickford on the main floor, knocking him down the stairs. Red Wolf took out the rest of the men downstairs, but then Bickford held Tomahawk at gunpoint, demanding Red Wolf's surrender. Red Wolf magically summoned his coup stick and hurled it at Bickford, striking him in the head and knocking him out. Red Wolf and Tomahawk turned Bickford over to the police, though they suspected that they might take Bickford's word over a Native American woman, even a policewoman.
(OHotMU 2006#9 - BTS) - In further adventures Thunderhead worked together with Dragonfly and Gabriel the Devil-Hunter.
Comments: Created by Gardner F. Fox, Syd Shores, and Jack Abel.
I am 100% aware that the original and deluxe Handbooks named Thomas Thunderhead as an alias of Will Talltrees, indicating they were the same person. The original handbook specifically said that Talltrees posed as construction worker Thomas Thunderhead and gave a female police officer a fraudulent account of his origins to satisfy her curiosity. I don't honestly believe you can read the stories and come to that conclusion. Perhaps when the original handbooks came out in 1983-1984, it seemed so close to the 1970s that they didn't want such a recent incarnation, as they maybe felt that Red Wolf (Talltrees) had been around for some time before his first appearance. I'd like to believe that Gardner Fox and Gary Friedrich had no idea that there already was a current Red Wolf when they wrote Red Wolf#7-9. However, the stories were edited by Roy Thomas, who created the Talltrees Red Wolf, didn't he? Hmmm...LSD?
1) Thunderhead and his Lobo had magical powers. He could teleport Lobo and/or his coup stick to his side at will, and Lobo could become immaterial to resist attacks. Thunderhead could also magically summon his coup stick.
2) Different name: Thomas Thunderhead vs. William Talltrees
3) Thunderhead discussed being a direct descendent of Johnny Wakely.
4) Thunderhead wore "Village People" pants with the butt cheeks cut out of them. OK, they were chaps, but that's the visual you get.
5) Thunderhead's stories were so totally 1970s, that topical can't even cover it. Motivations, etc. were f'd up. And the slang and lingo was just far out, man!
6) I don't think that Thunderhead was a construction worker...he just had that encounter with criminals on a construction site, where he commented: "Indians have no fear of heights like the palefaces."
Anyway, the stories are SO dated in the 1970s, and Thunderhead has all these magical powers that Talltrees never did, plus the characterization is way off.
There is nothing in Red Wolf#7-9 to link them to the modern era, and they could easily be fixed in time in 1973, as pre-modern era stories.
Conclusion: Thomas Thunderhead was Red Wolf during the 1970s, while Will Talltrees is the modern incarnation, tied to the sliding timescale. He couldn't have been active for much more than 10-12 years.
The OHotMU vol.9 has since confirmed that this Red Wolf is a separate man: Thomas Thunderhead.
When your greatest enemy is King Cycle (motorcycle gang leader, Buddhist, and art thief all in one, complete with a tricked out weapon-laden base of operations)...I don't even know what to say, but if I did, it wouldn't be positive.
How did Johnny Wakely get Rhonda's great-grandmother's address? I guess from her husband's corpse. Did they have a formal mail system back then...and would a Cheyenne have used it?
do think that "Thomas Thunderhead" is just an alias. But, only as far
as the surname goes. Given that Will Talltrees' father was also named
Thomas, I think he preceded his son as the Red Wolf of the 1970's.
Similar to the Phantom, by Lee Falk. And, given the sliding timescale
that the Marvel Universe now operates by, it stands to reason that
Thomas retired after marrying (maybe Officer Jill Tomahawk), and
becoming a father.
Secrets of the Slippery Elm: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/ConsHerbs/SlipperyElmch.html
Red Wolf#9 calls Thomas Thunderhead a Sioux, though the other issues call him Cheyenne, which is what the Red Wolves have historically been.
best guess is that the city Thomas Thunderhead lived in was NYC, or another big
northeastern city. I think that for two reasons: 1) Jill Tomahawk is a Mohawk,
2) the odd comment about Native Americans having no fear of heights.
Jill could really live anywhere, but the traditional home of the Mohawk people is the Mohawk River Valley of upstate New York. During the Great Depression lots of Mohawks headed to Manhattan looking for work. They made a niche for themselves in high steel construction working on skyscrapers, bridges, etc. They gained a reputation for being fearless, which led to the urban myth that Indians have no fear of heights. The Mohawks fostered this myth, both for bragging rights and to keep their jobs secure from non-Native workers. Over time, workers from other tribes gravitated to NYC for the good wages this dangerous job offered. Wikipedia has a short article on it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohawk_people#Mohawk_ironworkers_in_New_York
I'm guessing that the writers were aware of the Mohawk workers. There was a Mohawk section of Brooklyn called Little Caughnawaga up through the 1960s. They liked it and used Jill Tomahawk, and the myth of Indians having no fear of heights, in their stories to connect to the real history.
"...and Danger threatens him now, Tiger...and it just keeps on trucking!"
Profile by Snood.
Red Wolf, Thomas Thunderhead should be distinguished from
Lobo appeared in the room of Thomas Thunderhead--presumably sent there by Owayodata--leading him to accept his ancestral role as Red Wolf.
Partner to Red Wolf, Lobo was a wolf that obeyed his commands and could track, attack, or detain others. Red Wolf could further teleport Lobo to his side (or to nearby locations) at will, and Lobo could become immaterial to avoid attacks.
--Red Wolf#7 (9(fb), 7, [8(fb)], 8-9
Red Wolf#8 cover (headdress should be colored red, and his coup stick is lacking its feathers)
p1 (Village People buttview)
p4, panel 1 (masked head shot)
p14, panel 1 (Lobo)
Red Wolf#9, p4, panel 4 (unmasked head shot)
Red Wolf#7 (May, 1973) - by Gardner F. Fox (writer), Syd Shores (penciler), Jack Abel (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Red Wolf#8 (July, 1973) - by Gardner F. Fox (writer), Syd Shores (penciler), Chic Stone (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Red Wolf#9 (September, 1973) - by Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Back to Characters