Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Tabor, Sonny. Sonny Tabor was created by “Ward M. Stevens,” the pseudonym of Paul S. Powers (Johnny Forty-Five, Kid Wolf, King Kolt, Freckles Malone), and appeared 126 stories in Wild West Weekly from 1929 to 1943, beginning with “The Eleventh Notch” (Wild West Weekly, July 6, 1929).
Sonny Tabor is a Wanted Man. He is a wandering cowboy adventurer in Arizona and environs in the years after the Civil War. At age fourteen he was forced to kill a man. After that he became a desperado and outlaw, and gained some infamy, especially for his skill at escaping from jails. (At one time he switched places with a corpse and was taken out of jail in a coffin). As an adult he is Arizona’s number one outlaw, with a $6000 reward on his head and many bounty hunters out to collect the money. Eventually he is given a pardon and becomes a Texas Ranger, but as a Ranger he works undercover as an outlaw. He is twenty years old and boyish-looking, but he has a “bullet scar on one bronzed cheek that had more than once been taken for a babyish dimple.” He’s not a bad man, but in the words of one witness, “I don’t care what they say, outlaw or not, devil or an angel, that Kid is plumb full of vinegar and hell smoke.” In various stories Tabor encounters Kid Wolf, Pete Rice, Billy West, and the White Wolf.
* I'm including the Sonny Tabor stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because he's an archetype and because of his historical importance. Over the course of fifteen years and 126 stories, Sonny Tabor became the archetypal pulp cowboy, in part because of the quality of his stories--Paul S. Powers was an above-average writer for the Western pulps, and the Tabor stories are good examples of his writing skill--and because of his lifespan. 15 years is around four generations of time in pulp years, and 126 stories is around 15x the average number of stories for a pulp hero. A character around for that many stories and that many years gains a certain prominence in the pulp firmament, and if the stories are at all good they become standbys and the character becomes iconic. This is what happened to Tabor.
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