NAT KRUGER

Real Name: Nat Kruger (see comments)

Identity/Class: Normal human (Old West era)

Occupation: Bank robber

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Formerly Warren Mace

Enemies: Warren Mace, Los Murallos sheriff

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Matt Kruger

Base of Operations: Unrevealed section of Western United States near Los Murallos (see comments)

First Appearance: 2-Gun Western#4/4 (May 1956)

Powers/Abilities: Nat Kruger was a capable gunfighter and horse rider.

Height: 5'9" (by assumption) (see comments)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

History:
(
2-Gun Western#4/4 (fb) - BTS) - Apparently operating under the alias Matt Kruger, Nat Kruger was a brutal bank robber in the Western United States during the early 1870s, and had garnered a reputation for excessive violence. He befriended Warren Mace, a younger man falling into crime but not yet a hardened outlaw and convinced him to help rob the bank at Los Murallos on the night of March 27th 1875, by the simple expediency of smashing the main window in to gain entrance. During the break in, Kruger shot the night watchmen despite having no cause to do so, an action that disquieted Mace. 

(2-Gun Western#4/4) - At six minutes after midnight on the 28th of March, the pair raced out of the bank with Mace querying Kruger's unnecessary violence. As they reached where they had stabled their horses Kruger rounded on Mace, telling him to mind his own business or get the same treatment as the unfortunate guard, and Mace quickly backed down. With a posse already forming in the distance, the pair rode swiftly out into the countryside. After traveling many miles it seemed they had lost their pursuers and Mace suggested they find somewhere they could rest. Kruger agreed, responding that they could stop at the next ranch house the came across. Spotting on as they entered a valley, they rode towards it, with Kruger reminding Mace to follow his lead and keep his mouth shut. The rancher greeted them warmly at the door, inviting them in even after Kruger rudely demanded rather than asked for food. Mace, however, appreciated the rancher's kindness.

   Inside as he brought the pair food the rancher tried to make polite conversation, asking if they were local, but Kruger warned him it wasn't healthy to ask too many questions. Mace queried why Kruger couldn't even be polite to someone who was feeding them, prompting the older outlaw to angrily backhand Mace off his chair insisting that no one talked to him that way. Hearing Kruger identify himself by name, the rancher realized his visitor was a notorious outlaw, and almost with glee Kruger informed their now terrified host that he couldn't afford to have anyone telling the posse that they'd seen him. As Kruger's hand moved to his pistol grip and the rancher begged for his life, Mace shouted at his erstwhile partner to drop his gun, insisting he would not let Kruger kill a man in cold blood. Mace might have tried to see who was a quicker draw, but he heard approaching hoof beats in the distance, and a glance out the window confirmed the posse was coming over the hill, still distant but on their way. Kruger told Mace to get on his horse, promising to settle things between them later, but Mace insisted things were already settled; he'd decided he didn't want to throw himself in with Kruger any more, and was going to hand himself in, tired of robbing and running. He advised Kruger to do the same, but the older outlaw angrily dismissed Mace as a coward and declared he intended to hide in the nearby swamp visible behind the ranch house. Picking up the saddlebags containing the stolen cash, he drew his gun to shoot the rancher, but Mace also drew, promising to shoot Kruger if he killed the innocent man. With their pursuers only getting nearer, Mace cut and ran, blustering that the rancher wasn't worth the bullet anyway.

(2-Gun Western#4/4 - BTS) - Kruger tried to hide, but as the rancher knew only too well, the swamp was a mass of quicksand, and in only a few minutes Kruger stumbled into some, sank below the surface and drowned. 

(2-Gun Western#4/4) - When the posse arrived Mace surrendered himself, with the rancher pleading for clemency to be shown since Mace had saved his life. Mace announced that he was glad he'd given himself up, as he hoped for a fresh start, but that he regretted Kruger getting away. In response, the rancher promised him that Kruger hadn't escaped, and explained the swamp's hidden danger. As the only remaining evidence of Kruger's fate, his hat and the saddlebags, slowly sank below the surface, the rancher stated that Kruger was paying for what he had done, and in the manner he deserved.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

   The omniscient narrator calls him Nat Kruger on the first page and panel of the four page story, but then on the second page he calls himself Matt Kruger and the rancher recognizes that name. In real life, this just probably means that Stan Lee's notoriously poor memory for names (c.f. Peter Palmer, the Amazing Superman) was working on overdrive here, but in universe it may mean that his real name is Nat, but as an outlaw he goes by the alias of Matt.

   We don't get told what part of the U.S. Kruger operates in, but given that he robs a bank in a town called Los Murallos, it's presumably somewhere the Spanish initially colonized, so perhaps Texas, New Mexico or California.

  With no known characters to reference him against, Kruger's height is largely a guess. He doesn't come across as either exceptionally tall or shot, so somewhere middling like 5'9" seems reasonable.

  This profile was completed 09/22/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event. 

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Nat Kruger has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
2-Gun Western#4/4, p1, pan1 (main image)
2-Gun Western#4/4, p1, pan2 (headshot)
2-Gun Western#4/4, p4, pan5 (death)


Appearances:
2-Gun Western#4/4 (May 1956) - Stan Lee (writer, editor) Steve Ditko (art)


First Posted: 09/23/2021
Last updated:
09/22/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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