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Superhero Origins: The Lone Ranger

VO: Dan
This superhero first appeared on Radio in 1933, before spawning a successful comic strip, comic book, television series and several films. While the height of the character’s popularity took place during the 1940s and 50s, he's back in his own big budget blockbuster starring Arnie Hammer and Johnny Depp. Join as we explore the comic book origins of The Lone Ranger.

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Superhero Origins: The Lone Ranger

This Texas Ranger got a second chance at life to claim vengeance and fight injustice in the Old West. Welcome to and today we’ll be taking a look at the origins of John Reid, otherwise known as The Lone Ranger.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline which unfolded in 2006’s “Lone Ranger Omnibus” Vol. 1.

A superhero that first appeared on Radio in 1933, The Lone Ranger eventually spawned a successful comic strip, comic book, television series and several films. In fact, the height of the character’s popularity took place during the 1940s and 50s. Interestingly, it was half a century later in 2006 when he received his most in-depth and best-received origin story.

In this gritty and graphic comic series, The Lone Ranger was introduced as being the youngest of a family of Texas Rangers.

Growing up to be just like his father and brother, he worked alongside them and three other Texas Rangers. Together, on one fateful afternoon, the group was chasing down a small time thief named Collins when they were led into a narrow canyon.

Getting caught in the middle of an ambush, the group was shot to death. When one of the masked gang members came into the canyon to loot the bodies, he was surprised to discover that John had somehow survived. Before the job could be finished, a Native American appeared from nowhere and flung an arrow through the bandit’s neck. Approaching John, the mysterious Native puzzled over how the Ranger had survived such extensive wounds.

Passing out, John soon awoke believing that the ambush a nightmare. Instead, he soon realized that it had in fact happened, and that his new Native friend had patched him up and removed all the bullets.

When John’s fever finally broke, new took him to the freshly dug graves of his family and friends and introduced himself as Tonto.

At this point, John made clear his intention to get revenge his by finding those responsible.

As it turned out, a hit man named Julius had already executed Collins to keep him quiet about the assassination, as they had the same boss.

Tying up loose ends, Julius tracked down the site of the shooting, where he found Tonto’s graves. Digging them up to make sure the job was done, he discovered that John’s grave had been left empty.

Meanwhile, Tonto pledged to help the ranger claim his vengeance, and provided him with items he had salvaged from the shooting.

With John and Tonto returning to his family home and the grave of his mother, John dawned his new mask. Wishing to work alone, he knocked Tonto unconscious before burning down his childhood home and rode off to Collins’ farm on Tonto’s horse.

There, he found Collins’ dead body. Tonto soon caught up with him and voiced his displeasure at being betrayed, and suggested that they would need to buy John his own horse.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that a man named Butch Cavendish had been the man behind the scheme. He had ordered the rangers killed to facilitate his plan of ruling the criminal underworld, controlling the railroad, running for public office, and eventually becoming the most powerful man in Texas. The only loose end in his way was the lone ranger that had survived the massacre.

Soon enough, John and Tonto faced off against his assassin Julius atop a train. Defeating the killer, they found out who was truly responsible and set out to finish what they had started.

Making a pact with Tonto, the two decided on a single rule that would keep them from becoming like their enemies, they pledged to not kill. At the same time, Tonto gave John the new name Kemosabe, meaning faithful friend.

Following this successful and rather graphic reintroduction, the story was adapted as an action film in 2013. This project aimed to reintroduce the tale to a mainstream audience, and starred Arnie Hammer as John Reid, and Johnny Depp as his friend and spirit warrior partner, Tonto.

Are you a fan of this revenant force for western justice? For more informative top 10s, be sure to subscribe to

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