|Cover art by Gene Fawcette|
But despite these failures, the book does give us an effective and fairly accurate outline (as far as my inexpert knowledge is concerned) of Crazy Horse's life. And some of the individual panels are quite good.
The first of the three chapters recounts Crazy Horse's early life, when he was known as Curley and proved his courage in battle against rival tribes, building up his reputation as a warrior and a leader. The second chapter jumps ahead to the Fetterman Fight (1866), in which the Sioux attacked some men cutting wood outside Fort Phil Kearny, luring a relief force led by Captain William Fetterman out of the fort. Fetterman and all his men were ambushed and killed.
In real life, Crazy Horse was a part of the battle, though I believe the comic book makes him a more prominent leader than he actually was at the time. Also, the comic shows the Sioux attacking Fort Kearny right after the Fetterman fight and burning it to the ground. What actually happened was the U.S. eventually capitulated to Sioux demands and abandoned the fort.
The last chapter jumps ahead to Little Big Horn and the aftermath. It's here more than any other chapter that I wish the page count had been higher. We literally rush past Custer's defeat in just two panels.
In real life, he was bayoneted. In the comic book, he's shot in the back. This was before the panic over violence in comic books, but perhaps the editors at Avon still thought a bayonet in the back was too gruesome. Or perhaps the writer had one of his facts wrong. In the end, that's actually just a detail. Showing us how Crazy Horse was lured to his death is the important part.
So what we have is a reasonably accurate if very broad biography of the Sioux warrior. Yes, the art could have been better and a little more space to tell the story would have been nice. (There is a nine-page back-up story in the issue that could have been dropped to give the biography more space.) But the comic does give us a sense of how awesome a man Crazy Horse was.
This issue is in the public domain and you can read it HERE.
Next week, we have the second half of Comics Meet Real Life when we land with the Allies at Normandy.