In the comments on a recent post, Harvey Jerkwater addressed just how awesome the Golden Age Vigilante is as a "super-cowboy," though Harvey pointed out that, as a kid, he might have found the character corny. However, as a kid, I was enthralled with The Vigilante from the very first time I saw him. This comment pulled me into a nostalgic flurry that sent me diving into my long boxes looking for a comic that had fascinated me when I was a kid because of the appearance of the gun-toting, motorcycle-riding, country-music singing cowboy superhero.
The comic I was looking for is World's Finest Comics 247 (1977), a Dollar Comic containing an 8-page Vigilante short story written by Bill Kunkel and drawn by the great Gray Morrow. My copy of this comic is beat to shit, mainly because it was one of the most frequently read comics in my collection, though I haven't looked at in years.
The story is continued from the previous issue, where the Vigilante is in Gotham City seeking revenge against his arch nemesis, The Dummy, for the murder of his long-time partner, Stuff. I've never read the surrounding chapters of this story, but I'm definitely going to be hunting them down when I'm at HeroesCon the weekend after next.
Vigilante--who in real life is country music sensation Greg Saunders--ends up killing a whole bunch of the Dummy's goons, attracting the attention of Gotham's finest along with Commissioner Gordon. Gordon, well-known for his pro-vigilante stance, allows the cowboy hero to continue his mission of vengeance, even giving him a permit to use his guns in the city.
Here's just a few moments from the story that clearly had a profound impact on the young 8-year-old Dr. K:
You took the words right out of my mouth, Lieutenant.
Vigilante gets prepared to go out, Travis Bickle-style.
Seriously, the guy carries 50 guns, wears an awesome costume, rides a cool motorcycle, and shoots giant rabbits in the face--why isn't the Vigilante the most popular character in history?
And that last sentence is the entire content of my Vigilante pitch to DC Comics.