The Lone Ranger’s origin is a story of vengeance. Captain Dan Reid of the Texas Rangers leads a squad to pursue legendary outlaw Butch Cavendish. A double-crossing guide leads the Rangers into a trap at Bryant’s Gap.
Cavendish’s gang then ambushes Reid’s squad, slaughtering the Rangers. A “lone” Ranger miraculously survives, though — John Reid, Dan Reid’s brother.
Tonto, an Indian of the Potwawatomie tribe, comes across the site, notices John Reid barely alive, and tends to Reid’s wounds. The Lone Ranger television series (1949-1957) reveals that Reid and Tonto knew each other as children.
Reid makes a mask from his brother’s vest to hide his identity from outlaws as he and Tonto begin a quest to avenge the deaths of Dan Reid and the other Rangers by capturing Cavendish.
John Reid made another vow besides bringing Cavendish and other outlaws to justice. He vowed to take care of Dan’s wife and baby son when they arrive from the East. Fourteen years later, the Lone Ranger and Tonto meet Grandma Frisby. Frisby tells them that she “adopted” a baby boy after the mother died in a wagon massacre. She names the boy “Dan” — the name of the man whose picture was inside a locket along with a photo of his bride. The couple was none other than Dan and Linda Reid — John Reid’s brother and sister-in-law.
When Grandma Frisby dies, the Lone Ranger and Tonto take responsibility for Dan Reid, Jr. He accompanies the duo on adventures, rides a horse named Victor, and learns his uncle’s code of compassion, justice, and fairness.
Dan Reid, Jr. is also the beneficiary of the Reid family wealth rooted in a silver mine, the source for the Lone Ranger’s famous silver bullets.
We can safely presume that Dan Reid, Jr. parlayed the mine into a larger fortune — at least large enough to buy a major metropolitan newspaper, The Daily Sentinel. Dan’s son, Britt, later becomes the newspaper’s publisher. He also takes up the family crime fighting legacy as The Green Hornet.
NOW Comics’ early 1990s version of the Green Hornet depicted three Reid generations battling the criminal element as the stinging superhero. Britt was the first incarnation in 1936. His nephew, Britt II, followed thirty years later. After his heart attack, Britt II passed the mantle to his nephew, Alan, who met with an untimely death as the Green Hornet. Alan’s brother, Paul — a classical pianist — becomes the current Green Hornet.
NOW re-distributed the first twelve issues of this Green Hornet version as a coffee table book. NOW’s version reinforces the link between the Lone Ranger and his grand-nephew. In Part 1, My Last Case, Britt Reid recalled creating his alter ego out of frustration concerning the criminal element dominating society.
“The solution came to me one evening over brandy with Dad. I looked up at the portrait of our illustrious ancestor and realized he had faced a similar dilemma in his time. His answer had been to fight fire with fire. By donning a mask, he met the enemy on their own grounds. Mysterious and elusive, he could operate outside the law in bringing criminals to justice. This was our goal, as Kato and I worked feverishly to create a new persona that would strike fear in the hearts of evil doers everywhere.”
The Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet share a corporate connection as well. WXYZ, a Detroit radio station under the aegis of the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company, originated the radio shows featuring both characters. The Lone Ranger radio show debuted in 1933 and The Green Hornet radio show followed three years later, in 1936.