Real Name: Juan Correo

Identity/Class: Human (Mexican) (Old West, 1910s to 1950s)

Occupation: Governor of Sonando; former insurgent, counter-insurgent

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Maria Duro, Governor Ramon Duro

Enemies: Dagger, One-Eye, el Toro

Known Relatives: Pedro Correo (father, deceased)

Aliases: The Ghost, the Ghost of Chapel Hill (see comments)

Base of Operations: Province of Sonando, Mexico

First Appearance: Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5 (June, 1950)

Powers/Abilities: Although he had no paranormal abilities, the physically fit Juan Correo was a good hand-to-hand combatant who relied on his wits.  He was skilled in horsemanship, as well as the use of guns, knives, a whip, and a lariat.  A young man of high ideals, Juan had joined his father's revolution to fight for freedom of the people, but he later learned the insurgents' true motivations and had a change of heart.  He assumed the identity of el Sombro to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies, and defended the government he originally sought to usurp.

Height: 6' 2" (by approximation)
Weight: 175 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unknown
Hair: Black

History: (Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5) - The past of Juan Correo is unknown, but in 1912, the Mexican province of Sonando quaked from a violent revolution dedicated to overthrowing Governor Ramon Duro; the insurgency was headed by Juan's father, Pedro Correo, along with el Toro and One-Eye. Pedro formulated a plan to win the revolution without a fight--by taking Duro's wife and daughter as hostages to bargain a surrender.  Since he felt the task would take brains, not guns and murder, Pedro called upon Juan to lead Dagger and a group of raiders--although he did not like warring on women, Juan agreed to the duty.  Secretly, One-Eye and el Toro discussed that they felt Juan was too soft for the violent work that lay ahead.

   As they awaited nightfall to strike at Duro's hacienda, Juan reminded the raiders that they wanted hostages, not killing, because they were fighting for freedom. When they struck later, Dagger captured Duro's daughter Maria, and he admitted to the girl that he didn't care about the people because he was only fighting in the revolution for his own personal gain, not for the lofty ideals of Juan.  Overhearing this, Juan had a change of heart, for he now saw himself as Maria regarded him--as a thief and a murderer.  Feeling ashamed, Juan summoned up his moral resolve, ordered Dagger to release Senorita Duro, and told the raiders to withdraw, then he sincerely apologized to the girl for disturbing her.  Maria realized she had misjudged Juan, and as the two began to feel the stirrings of love for each other, she implored him to give himself up to her father because he would be equally as merciful to Juan.  But Juan returned to his father and asked for his forgiveness for not going through with the abduction--he explained it was because Maria had made him realize what a miserable thing he had become.  The sympathetic Pedro told his son he understood, for he had had ideals and honor when he was Juan's age, so he would not punish him, but he advised his son to leave the province.  One-Eye and el Toro heard of Juan's desertion, and they feared others might follow, so they ordered Dagger to kill Juan.

   The next morning, as Juan was riding away through a canyon, he thought over his future plans--he would establish a ranch in the West, then he would return for Maria Duro.  But Juan's musings were cut short when, from the distance, Dagger ambushed him and shot him in the head.  As Juan's frightened horse galloped off with what appeared to be Juan's dead body on its back, Dagger rode back to inform Pedro about the "accidental" death of his son, telling him that Juan's horse had shied and threw him from a cliff.  Thinking that his son's death was his punishment for his many crimes, Pedro became more ruthless, for nothing mattered to him now, so he began to personally lead his men in attacks.

(Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5 - BTS) - But the bullet had only grazed Juan below his right eye, leaving a large scar on his cheek.  Under unknown circumstances, Juan assumed the guise of el Sombro (see comments).

(Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5) - Two weeks later, a raiding party led by Pedro was first confronted by el Sombro, who warned them to leave the country or die.  Pedro could only rage as his superstitious men fled in terror of the ghostly rider.

   Two days later, Pedro was leading a band of raiders in an attempt to rob a wagon carrying a payroll shipment for Governor Duro.  Once more, the seemingly supernatural el Sombro rode up, for he would not allow the honest government to be usurped by men who would kill and plunder for profit.  Again, el Sombro frightened the raiders away, and Pedro looked upon the phantom horseman as an omen--he decided he would lead the men no more, and he would let One-Eye and El Toro take over the dirty business.  Holding them at gunpoint, Pedro made his two allies promise that they would stop the killing and plundering; they falsely agreed to Pedro's demands, then later had Dagger kill him.

   Two nights later, el Sombro visited Pedro's lonely grave on Chapel Hill.  The costumed Juan removed his mask and swore that he would remain as el Sombro until the killers breathed no more.

   Dagger was assigned the task of tracking and killing El Sombro, so Juan left an easy trail for him to follow.  As Dagger faced the spectral figure, Juan unmasked and killed Dagger in a knife-fight.  With Dagger's death, el Toro and One-Eye realized their revolution would be over if they didn't stop el Sombro, so they ended all raids and concentrated their efforts on catching the ghost.

   Two days later, while el Toro and One-Eye were leading their dwindling gang of insurgents, el Sombro left a trail to separate the group from their leaders, and he prayed that he would be forgiven for the things he did in the name of vengeance.  Then el Sombro confronted One-Eye and el Toro, held them at gunpoint, and unmasked to reveal his true identity.  Juan kept the two at bay until their gang returned, and when the other insurgents saw Juan alive, they were convinced he really was a ghost because one of them had seen Dagger shoot him weeks ago.  Juan ordered them to leave, or he would haunt them on every dark night.  The superstitious men fled, leaving only One-Eye and el Toro.  Seeing their forces desert them, the two insurgent leaders made one final desperate attempt and drew their guns, and Juan shot them dead--it was what Juan desired, for he would not shoot them in cold blood.

   With the bodies of One-Eye and el Toro, Juan rode to the hacienda of Ramon Duro, to show the governor that the threat of the insurgency was over, and Maria was relieved to see that the report of Juan's death was false.  Juan announced that the days of killing in Sonando, as well as el Sombro's mission of vengeance, were over.  Duro granted Juan a full pardon for helping his government, and Juan asked him for his daughter's hand in marriage, which the governor heartily approved.

   Nothing is known of the events of his life in the intervening years, but by 1950, the older Juan Correo was married to Maria, and he was the governor of Sonando, which was now the most peaceful spot in the western hemisphere.  The legend of "The Ghost of Chapel Hill" was still treasured by the people of Sonando, but Juan would only smile and say nothing when the tale was told.  A younger man in his administration mentioned to Governor Correo that his scars could indicate that he had been el Sombro--Juan playfully admonished him and warned him to be prudent, lest el Sombro return.  Maria knowingly added that at least el Sombro was a good ghost.


Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and an unidentified artist (see comments)

The artwork was unsigned, and I could find no conclusive source on who drew the story--one credits it to Joe Maneely, another to John Buscema.

I don't know much Spanish, but using an internet translator, I found that "sombro" is Spanish for "shadow" or "shade", but since he was referred to as a ghost, maybe his name should more appropriately be "El Fantasmo".

As el Sombro, Juan seemed to be wearing the clothes he "died" in (with the addition of a mask, sombrero, and cape), but it was never explained exactly what he did to make them white.  Additionally, Juan originally rode a black horse, and as el Sombro, he rode a white one--Paquita--assuming it's the same horse, presumably Juan used the same process to color Paquita white as well.

This story of el Sombro was published nearly two decades before Marvel created the Ghost/Night/Phantom Rider, but it takes place chronologically more than two decades after that character's death, so maybe Juan was inspired by tales of that ghostly rider for his secret identity.

(However, considering their similar appearances, Marvel was likely inspired by the original Ghost Rider (whose adventures were published earlier by Magazine Enterprises) when they created both of their characters)

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

El Sombro has no known connections to:

Pedro and Juan Correo have no known connections to:

Ramon and Maria Duro have no known connections to:

Dagger has no known connections to:

El Toro has no known connections to:

  • el Toro Giant-Man foe @ Tales to Astonish I#54
  • el Toro Negro Scarlet Spider foe @ Amazing Scarlet Spider#2
  • Toro (Thomas Raymond), partner of Human Torch (Jim Hammond) @ Human Torch Comics#2
  • Toro (Benito Serrano), Young Allies of Counter-Earth member @ Heroes Reborn: Young Allies#1
  • Toro (Benito Serrano), of Earth-616, Young Allies member @ Young Allies II#1
  • Toro Rojo, Deviant, Thor foe @ Thor I#290
  • any other characters with similar names

One-Eye has no known connections to:

  • One-Eye, Neanderthal mutate @ Cable II#96
  • any other characters with similar names or one eye

Maria Duro

The beautiful daughter of Governor Ramon Duro, she was about to be taken hostage by a gang of insurgents, whom she regarded as thieves and murderers.  Her words swayed Juan Correo (who was leading the gang) to question his motivations and reject the revolutionaries.  When Juan ordered her release and apologized to her, Maria realized she had misjudged him, and she and Juan began to fall in love.

Juan would later assume the identity of el Sombro, and he became the defender of the government of Maria's father.  Maria eventually became Juan's wife.

--Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5

Governor Ramon Duro

The honest governor of the Mexican province of Sonondo in 1912, his rule was threatened by a revolution.  He found an ally in the mysterious el Sombro, who single-handily defeated the insurgent forces.

--Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5

Pedro Correo

Known as "Wolf" to his followers, he was the father of Juan Correo. He had been a leader in Pancho Villa's revolution (per Marvel Atlas#2 (2008)'s profile on Mexico).  In 1912, he allied with One-Eye and el Toro to revolt against Governor Ramon Duro in the Mexican province of Sonando.  Originally orchestrating the revolution behind-the-scenes, he became more ruthless when he heard of his son's supposed death, and he began to personally lead his men on their raids.  During one such raid, he was confronted by the ghostly El Sombro (actually his son in disguise).  Pedro later ordered One-Eye and el Toro to end the killing for plunder; his allies falsely agreed to his demands, then ordered Dagger to kill him.

Dagger forced Pedro to dig his own grave on Chapel Hill, then shot and buried him.  Pedro's grave was later visited by el Sombro, who swore to his father that he would avenge his death.

--Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5

Dagger, One-Eye, el Toro

A trio of plundering insurgents, they fought in a revolution against Governor Ramon Duro in 1912, but they were dedicated only to their own personal gains.

The merciless, knife-wielding Dagger (left image) was said to be the author of a hundred murders.  He killed Juan Correo (who actually survived and became el Sombro) and Pedro Correo, until he was killed himself during a knife-fight with el Sombro.

The eye-patched One-Eye and stocky el Toro (both right image) were allied with Pedro Correo as leaders in a revolution against Governor Duro.  They ordered the deaths of Juan and Pedro at the hands of Dagger.  They would later receive retribution when they were shot by the mysterious el Sombro.   

--Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5

images: (without ads)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p1, pan1 (title)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p1, pan1 (main image)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p2, pan2 (Juan Correo)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p4, pan8 (el Sombro astride his horse, Paquita)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p6, pan8 (el Sombro headshot)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p6, pan2 (el Sombro unmasked)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p3, pan4 (Maria Duro)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p8, pan7 (Governor Ramon Duro)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p2, pan2 (Pedro Correo)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p2, pan 6 (Dagger getting struck by Juan's whip)
Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5, p2, pan 4 (One-Eye and el Toro)

Western Outlaws and Sheriffs#62/5 (June, 1950) - unidentified writer, unidentified artist

Last updated: 08/25/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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