On History: Dell's Lobo #1

By | Tuesday, February 03, 2015 4 comments
Lobo is somewhat famously the first Black character to headline his own comic book title. It was published by Dell in 1966 (the same year Marvel debuted the Black Panther in Fantastic Four and Lt. Uhura showed up in the new TV show Star Trek) but only lasted two issues. The stories were written by Don Arneson and illustrated by Tony Tallarico. You might be vaguely familiar with Lobo but I suspect you haven't read it. So here are scans of the entire first issue. (Scans come from a series of posts over at Hero Histories.)

A couple of interesting items of note. First, no one in this issue (or the next, as I'm told) references the fact that Lobo is a person of color. He's just written as any other character might be. Second, Arneson is surprisingly judicious with his dialogue; there are a number of panels that are completely wordless. A testement to both Tallarico's storytelling ability, and Arneson's restraint.

Evidently, later on, Arneson and Tallarico couldn't agree on how exactly the character and/or book came together originally, but it would be more than a few years before another Black character headlined his own title. Arneson claimed sales were the only reason for the book's discontinuation, but I'm a little skeptical of that. There were ten months between the first and second issues. Plenty of time for sales of #1 to come in. Why produce a second book if sales were that bad?
Lobo #1, cover Lobo #1, page 1 Lobo #1, page 2 Lobo #1, page 3 Lobo #1, page 4 Lobo #1, page 5 Lobo #1, page 6 Lobo #1, page 7 Lobo #1, page 8 Lobo #1, page 9 Lobo #1, page 10 Lobo #1, page 11 Lobo #1, page 12 Lobo #1, page 13 Lobo #1, page 14 Lobo #1, page 15 Lobo #1, page 16 Lobo #1, page 17 Lobo #1, page 18 Lobo #1, page 19 Lobo #1, page 20 Lobo #1, page 21 Lobo #1, page 22 Lobo #1, page 24 Lobo #1, page 25 Lobo #1, page 26 Lobo #1, page 27 Lobo #1, page 28 Lobo #1, page 29 Lobo #1, page 30 Lobo #1, page 31
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Britt Reid said...

"There were ten months between the first and second issues. Plenty of time for sales of #1 to come in. Why produce a second book if sales were that bad?"

Because, while they were printed 10 months apart, they were produced back-to-back as is standard procedure.
Work had apparently begun on a third issue when the word came down to stop due to unusually-poor sales.
As to why the second issue appeared 10 months later...it's likely another book on the schedule was late and, since press time was already paid for, and #2 was paid for, prepped and ready to go, it was a case of use the press time or lose it.

Britt Reid said...

BTW, noticed you used the scans from my blog Hero Histories...
Would've been nice if you linked or at least credited it, or mentioned the fact the second issue is also there...

Sorry, Brit. Very bad form on my part. I've got it corrected in the main body of the post now.

Unknown said...

Thanks for making this scan available. I purchased this book slabbed but wanted to read it. Thanks.