Published November 30, 2020

How Red Wolf Became a Legend Throughout History

The five Red Wolves belonged to the Cheyenne Nation and have a shared family heritage, but each one became a hero in their own right. Read on to see how each generation takes up the mantle of Red Wolf!

Many have carried the name and honorable tradition of the Red Wolf, but who are they and how are they related?

Red Wolf is the champion of the hunting god and wolf spirit Owayodata worshipped by the Cheyenne nation. Owayodata would manifest to the Cheyenne as a wolf-headed man and, in the 1700s, the god chose the warrior Wildrun to become the first Red Wolf. But he wasn’t the last.

Take a look at the lineage and shared history of all those chosen by the god of the hunt to become the Red Wolf!


As the first Red Wolf, chosen in the 1700s by Owayodata, Wildrun drove the Sioux from their territories. He was such a renowned warrior that the time-traveler Kang sought him out to face him in combat. When Wildrun lost, Kang forced his allegiance and brought him to the city of Chronopolis, a place that existed outside of time.

Wildrun then became one of Kang’s time-crossed warriors known as the Anachronauts. With them, he fought the Avengers and Fantastic Four during their invasion of Chronopolis. He died defending Chronopolis against Kang’s alternate self, Immortus, and was laid to rest within a hidden tomb with his weapons and headdress in his own era. See Wildrun battle the first family in AVENGERS ANNUAL (1967) #21 and fight alongside the Anachronauts in AVENGERS ANNUAL (1967) #22!

Johnny Wakely

Circa the mid-1800s and descending from Wildrun came the Cheyenne-born boy who would one day become known as Johnny Wakely. After losing his biological and white adoptive parents, facing prejudice from white folk and Cheyenne alike, he ultimately takes up the Red Wolf mantle after being pushed over a cliff and discovering the long-forgotten tomb of the historic hero. He battled injustice as Red Wolf, opposed the U.S. Calvary who killed his parents, and sided with his fellow Native Americans as well as other outlaws, like the Rawhide Kid.


[Related: See Johnny Wakely's adventures in THE RAWHIDE KID (2010) #2-4


William Talltrees

As the alleged descendant of Johnny Wakely, William Talltrees was a Cheyenne boy raised in Montana on a reservation. While he honored his family’s beliefs that they were descendants of Red Wolf, he departed from his tribe’s faith and joined the U.S. army.

AVENGERS (1963) #80
AVENGERS (1963) #80

After the criminal businessman Cornelius van Lunt, AKA Taurus, had his henchmen Jason Birch slay William’s parents to take their land, William summoned Owayodata, became his champion as the Red Wolf mantel to avenge them, and gained a trusty young wolf he named Lobo to his cause. Endowed with superhuman abilities, he sought his vengeance, had adventures with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and became a licensed Super Hero.

[Related: See William’s history as Red Wolf and his first run-in with the Avengers in AVENGERS (1963) #80-81]

Thomas Thunderhead

RED WOLF (1973) #8
RED WOLF (1973) #8

As the next ordained rescuer of the Cheyenne nation, as well as an alleged descendant of Johnny Wakely, Thomas Thunderhead initially rejected his heritage. When the wolf god Owayodata confronted him in a dream, he chose Thomas as the next Red Wolf. Upon waking, Thomas found the signature costume and weapons along with a mystical wolf named Lobo. He donned the traditional garb and protected his people against a motorcycle gangster who sought to sell Cheyenne land to obtain hidden oil.

Red Wolf (Earth-51920)


This Red Wolf was the Cheyenne water protector from Earth-51920 who became the sheriff of a town called Timely on Battleworld. His singular mission was to fix the river that had been damned up and stolen from his people. While he hailed from another Earth and timeline, there seems to be no apparent connection to the Red Wolf lineage. However, his background shared parallel characteristics to the other Red Wolves: he comes from his Earth’s Cheyenne nation and the Red Wolf tradition he carried on shared similarities to the Red Wolves of Earth-616. See his adventures as a vigilante sheriff in 1872 (2015) #1-4 and what happened when a time-traveler sent him into the future to Earth-616 in RED WOLF (2015) #1-6!

With the Red Wolf from another Earth, these five Cheyenne warriors are connected by their heritage and sense of righting injustice. It also seems that no matter who dons the mantle of Red Wolf, their passion for their people drives them to be the best earthly reincarnation of their Cheyenne hunting god, Owayodata.


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