Lobo was a fictional Western comic book hero who was the medium’s first African-American character to headline his own series. He starred in Dell Comic’s little-known two-issue series Lobo (Dec. 1965 & Sept. 1966), was co-created by writer D. J. Arneson and artist Tony Tallarico.
In the series, Lobo is a former Union soldier who heads west after the the Civil War. Upon being wrongfully accused of murder, Lobo sets out on a mission to fight injustice and to clear his name.
Lobo’s importance to comic history stems not only from being the first black comic hero to star in his own series, but also in that he is free from the racist stereotypes that plague other early black heroes like Whitewash Jones or Waku, Prince of the Bantu. In fact, the comic doesn’t even make reference to the fact that Lobo is black.
Unfortunately, racist attitudes would ensure that Lobo would be a very short-lived series. Although 200,000 copies of the first issue were printed, only about 10,000 – 15,000 copies were sold. This was largely due to many retailers refusing to carry a comic book about a black hero. What’s more, many of these retailers not only returned Lobo, but also every other comic shipped with it. The return of so many unopened shipments was a huge loss for Dell Comics and caused Lobo to be canceled after only two issues.