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Comic Book / Judge Colt

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Judge Colt was a western comic book published by Gold Key Comics that ran 4 issues in 1969-70/

Judge Colt represented a new breed of western hero when he first appeared in the late 1960s. Lawman Mark Colt, a Civil War veteran, is sent west as a district court judge in the lawless frontier territories. On the job, he balances his respect for the law with the need to sometimes act as police and executioner in order to keep the peace. An uncommonly thoughtful and well-rounded character, Judge Colt uses violence reluctantly as a solution of last resort, and his landscape is filled with more moral ambiguity than was customary in the shoot-em-up world of the Western.

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Tropes:

  • Animal Assassin: In #4, Colt hunts a killer who is making his murders appear to be accidents. One his victims is trampled by a horse, while another is pushed into a stock pen filled with half-wild longhorn cattle.
  • Animal Stampede: In #2, an Indian tribe stampedes a herd of cattle through Buffalo City.
  • Apparently Unrelated Murders: In #4, a series of murders occur in a Cheyenne City with seemingly no connection between the victims, but with the killer leaving a Civil War medal pinned to the chest of each. Colt eventually learns that the men all served on a firing squad that executed a soldier for dereliction of duty during the Civil War. The killer is the soldier's son extracting revenge.
  • Army Scout: Tall Bear is a Cheyenne who served as a scout under General Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh and Chickamauga and is Still Wearing the Old Colors.
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  • Bad Habits: In #3, a Preacher Man raising funds for a church relief fund is revealed to be a Con Man who has been pulling the same scam in towns along the frontier.
  • The Barber: Jesse Smith, the barber in Fort Smith, also acts as the part-time bailiff for Colt's courtroom.
  • Book Safe: In #1, an outlaw attempts to escape from Colt's courtroom by grabbing a revolver hidden inside the hollowed out bible he was swearing on.
  • Calling Card: Despite going to some effort to make his murders look like accidents, the killer in #4 also leaves an American Civil War medal pinned to the chest of each of his victims.
  • Circuit Judge: Judge Colt is a circuit judge for the District Court.
  • Crusading Widower: One of the reasons Mark Colt became a Circuit Judge is because he is looking for members of the gang that killed his wife during a bank robbery 10 years earlier. He managed to bring one of them to justice before the series ended.
  • Handy Cuffs: In #4, a prisoner being transported for trial with his hands shackled in front of him grabs the marshal's gun from his holster and attempts to shoot his way free.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Colt has this reputation. In #1, he has six men hanged at the same time on the same gallows (something Real Life Hanging Judge Isaac parker once did).
  • Historical Domain Character: General William Tecumseh Sherman appears in #2, where it is revealed that Mark served under him during the Vicksburg campaign, and earned a battlefield promotion.
  • Kill Tally: In #1, Mark Colt fights an outlaw called 'the Tattoo Kid' who, instead of carving a notch on his gun for each man he's killed, gets a tattoo instead.
  • Knows the Ropes: Colt's part-time bailiff and travelling hangman Jesse Stone knows his way around a rope. In #2, after emptying his gun during an ambush, he pulls out his hangman's rope and uses it like a lasso: dropping the noose around the neck of one his attackers and choking him into submission.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: In #4, a killer commits a string of murders designed to look like accidents: a railway engineer run over by a runaway locomotive, a miner killed in a mine explosion, a wrangler trampled by a horse, a gunsmith shot while repairing a gun, an engineer killed in a bridge collapse, and a stock agent gored by longhorn cattle. But despite this, the killer leaves behind a Calling Card: a medal pinned to the chest of each victim.
  • Shoot the Rope: In #2, Colt saves an Indian who is being lynched by a rancher by shooting out the rope around his neck.
  • So Much for Stealth: In #3, an assassin sneaking up on Judge Colt to kill him gives himself away when he steps on a dry branch and it snaps.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Tall Bear, a former Army Scout who served under General Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh and Chickamauga, still wears his Union army tunic and kepi.
  • Tap on the Head: Averted. In #3, Jesse gets hit over the head with a club after being mistaken for Colt. He winds up with a bad concussion that requires several days bedrest, and Colt remarks that he is lucky he wasn't killed.
  • Throw the Book at Them: In #1, Colt captures a gang of outlaws by tipping a bookshelf full of law books on top of them.
  • Train Job: In #2, Colt deputises a band of Cheyenne warriors and leads them on a raid to stop a train and free a group of Cheyenne chiefs who are being shipped off without trial.
  • The Trope Kid: In #1, Mark Colt fights an outlaw called 'the Tattoo Kid' whose nickname derives from his habit of getting a tattoo to mark each man he has killed instead of carving a notch on his gun.


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