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Never mind that s–t, here comes, um, Tim Conway? – Rango #1

June 5, 2013

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Of all the ad infinitum forgettable TV series that somehow, someway found their way into comic book adaptations, Rango is right at the head of the pack. Though it may lack the head-smacking cringe-worthiness of It’s About Time (an admittedly tall task), any Tim Conway Western lawman sitcom has ratings disaster written all over it. Let’s combine Gunsmoke with I Love Lucy! Those are good shows, right? If we put them together, we’ll get an even better show! Right?

Wrong.  

Rango starred comedian Tim Conway, a generally funny man who would go on to bigger and better things in the The Carol Burnett Show, a skit program that best suited his array of talents. Indeed, when Rango got started, he had already completed a run as a supporting player in the Ernest Borgnine-infused McHale’s Navy, a program that has stood the test of time, etched somewhere, wherever the annals of TV lore are housed. His turn as an inept Texas Ranger was another matter entirely. Somewhere Augustus McRae and Woodrow F. Call were turning over in their fictional graves. And Jace Pearson, a contemporary TV Texas Ranger, was surely not amused.

What’s there to be said about the show? Rango slipped a lot. He fell a lot. he fired off his gun at inopportune times a lot. He hit his head a lot. He pissed off his superior(s) a lot. It was television of the lowest physical sort, and, whatever Conway’s comedic abilities, Buster Keaton he wasn’t. His faithful companion in all of this was Pink Cloud, a very intelligent Indian who helped Rango seemingly for the sheer amusement of it. Hey, at least someone was having fun.

There was only one Rango comic produced, a fittingly low tally since the show was torpedoed before the broadcast season was out. It contained four — COUNT ‘EM FOUR (4) — senses-shattering Rango tales, all with art from Sal Trapani. And bless Trapani’s heart, he tried. He really did. His art was better in this instance than the material deserved, but there are few things that can rescue awful television hijinks transferred to the comic medium.

Here’s Rango in a typical predicament, having difficulty with a chair and almost doing a full Budd Dwyer on his head:

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Dangerous gunplay is fun!

Rango can turn a mop into a lethal weapon — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Rango!:

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Perhaps the low point of the entire book comes when Rango goes to track down a rogue Indian named Stubby Knife. If Stubby Knife had a learning disability, this may very well have earned an offensiveness anti-modern-PC hat trick:

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On the bright side, maybe Stubby Knife is where Conway got the idea for Dorf.

There you go. Tim Conway as Rango. He came. He saw. He fell down. A lot.

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