Comic Book / Tomahawk

Tomahawk is a comic book character whose adventures were published by DC Comics during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s as a backup feature in Star Spangled Comics and World's Finest Comics and in his own eponymous series. He was created by writer Joe Samachson and artist Edmund Good, and first appeared in Star-Spangled Comics #69.

Tomahawk was a backup feature in Star Spangled Comics from his first appearance (June 1947) to issue #130 (July 1952), and in World's Finest Comics from issue #33 (Mar. 1948) until issue #101 (May 1959). The Tomahawk series lasted 140 issues, from 1950 to 1972.

Known as either Tom Hawk or Thomas Haukins, depending on which of two versions of his published history the reader prefers, "Tomahawk" was a soldier who served under George Washington in the warfare between the British, French and Iroquois forces during the decades prior to the American Revolutionary War and acquired his nickname due to its resemblance to a trademark weapon of the Iroquois Confederacy's warriors, and to the skill he developed with that weapon.

He subsequently achieved further fame as one of Washington's most capable operatives during the Revolution itself, leading a band of soldiers under the informal nickname of "Tomahawk's Rangers".

Tomahawk provide examples of:

  • Arch-Enemy: Lord Shilling was Tomahawk's arch-enemy, though he was dead by the time the Rangers came into play.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Tomahawk's arch-enemy was the British spy Lord Shilling.
  • Army of the Ages: Tomahawk is dragged through time to become part of one in the 2008 The War That Time Forgot mini-series.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: In Tomahawk #138, Moon Fawn and Small Eagle get kidnapped and tortured by Indian renegades for celebrating Christmas, and it's up to Hawk and Tomahawk to rescue them.
  • An Axe to Grind: Tomahawk's preferred weapon is his namesake axe.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The first time Tomahawk meets his future wife Moon Fawn, he has to save her from a bear attack as she is bathing in a creek. He succeeds in killing the bear using only his tomahawk.
  • The Berserker: Wildcat. Although originally a member of a pacifist sect, he became a wild man in combat and is the most enthusiastic member when it comes to charging into battle.
  • The Blacksmith: Big Anvil was one before the war, and still sometimes performs smithing duties in the Rangers.
  • Calling Card: Lord Shilling's trademark was leaving a single shilling with a hole in the middle after a successful mission.
  • Captain Ethnic: Frenchie, a non-superhero example. His thing is that he is French, and it is impossible to forget this — he even starts wearing a beret after a while.
  • Captain Patriotic: Miss Liberty
  • Cattle Drive: In Tomahawk #119, Tomahawk and the Rangers have to drive a herd of steers to besieged Yankee fort that is starving.
  • The Chief's Daughter: Moon Fawn
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After the Re Tool that introduced the Rangers, Tomahawk's sidekick Dan Hunter popped up less and less frequently until he disappeared entirely without explanation.
  • Combat Medic: Healer Randolph
  • Darker and Edgier: Received a pretty good Vertigo reimagining in Vertigo Visions: Tomahawk.
  • Dawn of the Wild West: When the book became Hawk, Son of Tomahawk, it focussed on Tomahawk's half-Indian son and was set in the early years of the 19th Century in the American midwest.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Cannonball served this role in training the Rangers, and even in the field he's always barking at them like mad.
  • Evil Brit: Lord Shilling, along with numerous one-off villains. Hey, it was the Revolutionary War and the heroes were from the Colonies — the British were the bad guys to them.
  • Hunter Trapper: Tomahawk and Dan Hunter
  • Indian Maiden: Moon Fawn, Tomahawk's eventual wife. He first comes across her when she is bathing in a river and saves her from a bear attack. She falls in love with him and he has to prove his worthiness to her father, Chief Grey Elk.
  • Just a Kid: One issue's backup feature was about Brass Buttons, Stovepipe, and Dan Hunter (none of them even 20 yet) embittered by the other Rangers looking down on them because of their youth. Naturally they end up saving the day later.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Most of the members of the Rangers.
  • Master of Disguise: Lord Shilling
  • Mixed Ancestry: Hawk, Son of Tomahawk was the son of the Caucasian Tomahawk and the Apache Moon Fawn.
  • Nice Hat: Stovepipe's silk hat is his most prized possession, as it was a gift from the Rangers after the one he previously wore was damaged beyond repair.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: Tomahawk first comes across Moon Fawn when she is bathing in a creek. He then saves her from a bear attack.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Tomahawk's Rangers, who were essentially a Revolutionary War version of Sgt. Rock's Easy Company. The members included the immensely strong Big Anvil; the dandy Brass Buttons; Cannonball, who was Tomahawk's 2IC; acrobatic French sailor Frenchie; black Combat Medic Healer Randolph; sniper Long Rifle; Stovepipe who was the son of a general and carried a small arsenal in his stovepipe hat; and Wildcat, a Quaker pacifist who turned into a berserker in combat.
  • Ranger: Tomahawk's Rangers
  • Real Fake Wedding: In Tomahawk #31, a woman attempts to trick Tomahawk into marrying her by staging the wedding in a play about his life (where she has talked him into playing himself). It fails when the preacher she sent for from Boston turns out to be a bandit in disguise and has no authority to marry anyone.
  • Repetitive Name: Hawk, son of Tomahawk. Especially if his given name really is Hawk, as his father's surname is Hawk.
  • Retool: Tomahawk had two retools towards the end of its run. First, the comic was changed from "hey kids isn't Davy Crockett cool?" to "the Howling Commandos in the Revolutionary War", with Tomahawk gaining a colorful supporting cast and a direct affiliation with the Continental Army. After about five years of that, the book (retaining the same title and numbering) jumped forward some 40 years and focused on Tomahawk's son Hawk, with the still-living Tomahawk being Hawk's mentor/sidekick. "Hawk, son of Tomahawk" didn't last too long, as the book was canceled within a year of Hawk's introduction.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker:
    • Tomahawk has this ability, unerringly following a trail invisible to everyone else across a dinosaur-infested jungle in The War That Time Forgot mini-series.
    • Supposedly the Rangers all have similar abilities due to Tomahawk's training, but this proves an Informed Ability that none of them ever really shows off.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax:
    • In Tomahawk #106, the Royalist forces take advantage of Tomahawk's supposed death to create a "ghost" Tomahawk which they use to attempt to lure the Rangers into an ambush.
    • The Amish or Quaker or whatever community that Wildcat was once part of built a giant man-powered stone robot to scare both sides of the Revolutionary War away from their land. Yes, you read all that correctly.
  • Sergeant Rock: Tomahawk was this to the Rangers.
  • Sidekick: Dan Hunter to Tomahawk, very much in the tradition of a superhero sidekick
  • Southern-Fried Private: Kaintuck Jones. He's from the Kentucky backwoods and that's about it.
  • The Squad: Tomahawk's Rangers
  • They Call Him "Sword": They call him Tomahawk!
  • Tipis And Totem Poles: Tomahawk is set in the original 13 colonies during the American War of Independence, yet many of the tribes shown have totem poles, a Pacific West Coat tradition.
  • To Catch Heroes Hire Villains: One of the Crown's more successful plots against Tomahawk and the Rangers involved pardoning notorious criminals — giant strongman Bull, agile thief the Fly, a Native tracker called "the Indian", vicious pirate Captain Salt, and peerless gunman the Highwayman. They easily capture all the Rangers, including Tomahawk himself, though Tomahawk manages to lead an escape as their execution looms.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: An issue of Tomahawk saw the title character assigned to lead a six-man team of infamous criminals pressed into service for the Continental Army. At first, each plotted to kill Tomahawk and escape (and two of them actually tried it). Three of them died on the ensuing mission, each in such a heroic fashion that the remaining three vowed to be good guys from that point on.
  • Weaponized Headgear: Stovepipe kept a small arsenal of weapons, explosives and other items inside his hat.
  • Weapon Tombstone: In Tomahawk #106, the Rangers think Tomahawk is killed in an avalanche. They mark his resting place with his tomahawk and coonskin cap.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Miss Liberty was a Revolutionary War heroine who wore a costume modeled after the Star and Stripes, making her (in-universe) the earliest flag-based costumed adventurer.