Friday, March 16, 2012

Ghosts of FCBD Past: The Lone Ranger (2007)

Now this is the Ranger and Tonto I wanted to see on film...
Once again culling from my long boxes, I have come up with another thrilling issue from yesteryear for Western comic book fans and collectibles completionists alike. In fact, not just one, but TWO new series starring one (or two) time stars of the small screen were introduced by the 2007 Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) flip-book from Dynamite Publishing: The Lone Ranger and Battlestar Galactica.

A John Cassaday cover, natch.
Though I came into possession of a copy of this issue after having already completed collection of the entire 25 issue run of the series which followed it, this FCBD Ranger story is a wonderful way to reintroduce the philosophy of the character. The FCBD issue came out shortly after the first issues of what was to be a wildly successful run "scripted" by Brett Matthews with illustrations by Sergio Cariello, as it, in effect, much like the origin story stylings of the books first arc, reframes the Lone Ranger Code of Conduct for a new generation of readers.

Set against a story in which Tonto and the Ranger stop a wrong doer from holding up and attacking a rural country school, the short scene unfolds as the Ranger reflects on his purpose and, suitably, recalls the creed ("not exactly a prayer") his father had taught him in his youth and further invited him to improve upon if he could. Of course, the Ranger could (or would) not.

The Lone Ranger's Creed, in it's entirety, is as follows:
I believe…..
That to have a friend, a man must be one.
That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make  this a better world.
That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
That ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always.
That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
That sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.
Tremendous stuff and definitely words to live by. To me this type of FCBD issue is perfect in it's execution: it adds to the existing character without being required for narrative continuity, while appropriately capturing the spirit and tone of the title it is intended to promote.

Here's to hoping that future Free Comic Book Day giveaways prove as worthwhile...

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