Latigo in his natural element. Artist: Stan Lynde.

LATIGO

Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: Field Enterprises Syndicate
First Appeared: 1979
Creator: Stan Lynde
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Latigo is what resulted when cartoonist Stan Lynde (rhymes with "find") made a career decision to follow in the footsteps of Roy Crane (Wash Tubbs, Buz Sawyer) and Milton Caniff (Terry & the Pirates,

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Steve Canyon). He left his successful strip, Rick O'Shay, in a dispute over ownership with The Chicago Tribune Syndicate, and signed on with a distributor that promised to be more accommodating.

The new one was Field Enterprises, which had previously distributed Judge Parker, Conchy and, briefly, an Americanized version of the French-language Asterix. Field Enterprises launched Latigo on Monday, June 25, 1979.

The star was Cole Cantrell, nicknamed "Latigo" (after a saddle part), a veteran of the Union army (in contrast to his friend, Duke Sateen, who had fought for the Confederacy). He was raised among Crow Indians, where his name was the Crow equivalent of Two Trails. He had long-standing, unspecified "issues" with a railroad outfit called The Python Corporation and its ruthless CEO, Claudius Max, and clashed directly with them several times. He was an extremely good fighter, with either his fists or a gun, but tended to avoid fighting when he could.

Latigo's daily strips were taken up with fairly serious continuing stories, tho not without an element of humor. In the Sundays, which told self-contained stories, the humor was a bit more pronounced, but seldom predominated. Sober or funny, the series always represented Lynde's personal philosophy, which was strongly linked to a gentle style of Christianity — gentle not in the sense that he was shy about asserting it, but that unlike some strongly religious people, he never denigrated the beliefs of others.

The Latigo series wasn't nearly as successful as Rick O'Shay, and lasted less than four years. The final strip was dated May 7, 1983. The entire daily run was re-published in Comics Revue, the monthly anthology of newspaper comics, as the magazine's first "Classic Reprint". Later, Lynde's Cottonwood Press published it in book form. There's usually a volume or two in print from Cottonwood, but other than that, Lynde's second foray into syndicated newspaper comics has mostly faded from the scene.

— DDM

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Text ©2003-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Stan Lynde.