TONTO

Real Name: Tonto 

Identity/Class: Human magic-user (Old West era and modern day);
    Potawatomi nation 

Occupation: S.H.I.E.L.D. agent;
    former vigilante 

Group Membership: Formerly Howling Commandos (Abominable Snowman, Blade/Eric Brooks, Bradley Beemer, Brother Voodoo/Jericho Drumm, Clone of Frankenstein, Dimensional Man, Dragoom, Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan, Fangu, Gandalf/Olórin, Glob/Joseph Timms, Golden Gator, Golem, Goom, Gorgolla, Gorilla Man/Ken Hale, Grogg, Groot, Hellstorm/Daimon Hellstrom, Timothy Hunter, It the Living Colossus, John Jameson, Kraa the Unhuman, Lilith, Living Mummy/N'Kantu, Manphibian, "Buzz" McMahon, Orrgo, Joshua Pryce, Sasquatch/Walter Langkowski, Satana, Vampire by Night/Nina Price, Warwolf/Vince Marcus, Werewolf/Jack Russell, Zombie/"John Doe", others) 

Affiliations: The Lone Ranger (John Reid), White Feller (horse), Scout (later horse), Silver (Lone Ranger's horse)

Enemies: Bartholomew "Butch" Cavendish 

Known Relatives: Unidentified father (Potawatomi chief)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly Texas

First Appearance:  Lone Ranger radio series episode#12 (WXYZ Radio, 25th February 1933)
    (Marvel, referenced but not explicitly named) Rawhide Kid III#1 (April 2003)
    (Marvel, seen, unidentified) Nick Fury's Howling Commandos I#6 (March 2006)
    (Marvel, referenced by name) Rawhide Kid IV#1(August 2010)

Powers/Abilities: Tonto is a skilled gunfighter, brawler and horse rider.

    He apparently has unrevealed magical powers (see comments).

Height: 6' (see comments)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

History:
(Lone Ranger radio/TV/comics series) - Tonto was a Potawatomi Native American and partner to the masked Wild West crimefighter the Lone Ranger.

(Rawhide Kid III#1 - BTS) - The Rawhide Kid could see why "that Indian" followed the good-looking, sharp dressing Lone Ranger around.  

(Rawhide Kid IV#1 - BTS) - The villainous Cristo Pike, annoyed at his lackey Shorty's stupidity, angrily declared that his right hand man made Tonto look like John Adams. 

(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos I#6) - In the modern day, Tonto joined other similarly recruited mages, including Brother Voodoo, Gandalf, Satana and Tim Hunter, who were teleported to locations around Salisbury, England, to sweep the area of enchantments cast by Merlin, whose army of magical beings had invaded that region.  

Comments: Created by George W. Trendle; mentioned in Marvel by Ron Zimmerman, depicted in Marvel by Mike Norton.

    Tonto first appeared as a supporting character in The Lone Ranger radio show, where he was played by John Todd; he was later played by Victor Daniels (a.k.a. Chief Thundercloud) in the 1938 and 1940 Lone Ranger film serials, and much more famously by Jay Silverheels in the long running Lone Ranger TV series which ran from 1949 through 1957. As far as I can ascertain, barring perhaps newspaper adverts for the series, the first time Tonto was depicted in artwork was the 1935 Big Little Book The Lone Ranger and His Horse Silver; a Kings Feature Syndicate newspaper strip which started in September 1938 was the first place he was regularly depicted in comic strip format.

    The Lone Ranger (with Tonto in tow) subsequently went on to be published in comics by Western Publishing in partnership with Dell in 1948, with Tonto starring in his own spin-off comic in 1951; Western split from Dell and continued to publish Lone Ranger under their new Gold Key imprint from 1964; Topps published further comics based round Lone Ranger and Tonto in the 1990s, and in the 2000s it has been Dynamite Entertainment's turn. Despite having a good track record for at least publishing licensed miniseries or one-shots for many of the enduring 1930s fictional icons (Doc Savage, the Shadow, Flash Gordon, etc.), Marvel has never done so for Lone Ranger and Tonto. 

    Tonto (and the Lone Ranger) get referenced in two different Ron Zimmerman-scribed Rawhide Kid series; while the way he is referenced in the second story, The Sensational Seven, could conceivably be taken as Cristo Pike referencing a fictional character, this falls down when you take into account that Pike is in the 1880s, well before he could have ever heard or read of the fictional Tonto of the Lone Ranger radio show. Additionally, in Rawhide Kid III (a.k.a. Slap Leather), Rawhide Kid definitely references the Lone Ranger and Tonto as if they are real people. As a side note, Rawhide Kid also mentions Kid Shaleen (sic), the gunfighter character portrayed by Lee Marvin in Western movie Cat Ballou.

    In case anyone thinks that the character in Howling Commandos might not be Tonto, and that the Appendix has misidentified him, his identity was confirmed by the artist back when the Handbooks were working on a profile for the Howling Commandos team. Obviously it's an unauthorized and unofficial cameo, but it is definitely him. How Tonto came to be in the present day remains unrevealed, though it may well be tied to fact that to be a member of the Howling Commandos and included in this aspect of the attack on Merlin means he is much more of a magic-user/wizard/shaman than other stories have previously revealed.
    I had originally thought that was supposed to be Pip the Troll in that Howling Commandos issue, due to what I thought was thick hair on his calves.
--Snood

    The only on-panel depiction of Tonto at Marvel doesn't put him in a good placement to compare his height to any known characters; normally in these circumstances I'd thus leave height and weight as unrevealed. However, in this instance I made an exception, and have ASSumed that he's the same height as Jay Silverheels, the actor most associated with portraying Tonto on film, and whose appearance seems to have been the basis for the Howling Commando version of the character.


Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Tonto has no known connections to:

The Lone Ranger has no known connections to:


The Lone Ranger

(Lone Ranger radio/TV/comics series) - While pursuing outlaw Butch Cavendish's gang, a posse of six Texas Rangers were ambushed and slaughtered in Bryant's Gap canyon. Though Cavendish believed he had killed all his pursuers, one lone ranger, John Reid, narrowly survived, hanging on to life until he was found and nursed back to health by the Potawatomi Native American Tonto. Letting the world continue to believe he was dead, Reid became a masked vigilante, the Lone Ranger, partnering with Tonto to bring down Cavendish and other criminals, and garnering a reputation across the American Wild West.

(Rawhide Kid III#1 - BTS) - The Rawhide Kid considered the Lone Ranger a sharp dresser and could see why Tonto followed him around.

Comments: Created by George W. Trendle; mentioned in Marvel by Ron Zimmerman.

    The Lone Ranger has never actually been depicted (afaik) in any Marvel comic, but he's namechecked by Rawhide Kid, as shown in the panel to the right. Not only does the manner in which he is referenced seem to exclude the chance the Kid is just talking about a fictional character, but more importantly, this discussion is taking place in the 1880s, well before the creation of the character if he is merely fictional.

    The picture above left is from the earliest color example I could find of the Lone Ranger newspaper strip in 1938. As it shows, despite Rawhide Kid mentioning the Lone Ranger's "powder blue outfit," he originally wore a red shirt, a color scheme that was repeated for the posters of the 1938 Republic Serial version. He switched to a green shirt for the 1940 serial, and as far as I can tell the distinctive and memorable powder blue color scheme originated with the Clayton Moore television version from when it switched to color in 1956.  


images: (without ads)
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos I#6, p2, pan3 (main image)
The Lone Ranger and His Horse Silver, p33 (the very first (I think) published comic strip depiction of Tonto)
Rawhide Kid III#1, p19, pan3 (Lone Ranger referenced by Rawhide Kid)
Lone Ranger newspaper strip, 25th September 1953, panel 1 (early Lone Ranger comic depiction)


Appearances:
Rawhide Kid III#1 (April 2003) - Ron Zimmerman (writer), John Severin (pencils, inks), Axel Alonso (editor)
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos I#6 (March 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Mike Norton (pencils), Derec Aucoin and Norman Lee (inks), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Rawhide Kid IV#4 (August 2010) - Ron Zimmerman (writer), Howard Chaykin (pencils, inks), Axel Alonso (editor) 


First Posted: 03/29/2019
Last updated: 03/29/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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