Published on July 6, 2012 by Amy
Ohiyesa “Pow Wow” Smith is a fictional Western hero published by DC Comics. Created by writer Don Cameron and penciler Carmine Infantino, he is a Sioux who is the sheriff of the small Western town of Elkhorn, where he is known as a master detective. He prefers to be addressed by his proper name, Ohiyesa, but the white citizenry take to calling him “Pow Wow” so stubbornly that he eventually gives up and accepts the nickname among them.
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Originally, the Pow Wow Smith character was located in the modern West. Later stories were set in the 19th-century. It was eventually retconned that the Old West character was the ancestor of the modern-day character. Since then, Smith has remained a generation legacy, and a historical figure in the DC Universe, meeting other heroes in their occasional time travel stories.
Smith first appeared in Detective Comics #151, the only Western feature in the book. After four years as a regular feature in Detective Comics, his strip became the lead feature of Western Comics, which ran until 1961. Much of the art during the Detective period was by Leonard Starr, and when Smith found a home in Western Comics, his original illustrator Infantino returned. Stories were by France Herron and later Gardner Fox.
Smith also starred in the premiere issue of All-Star Western’s second volume.
Ohiyesa left his native Red Deer Valley to learn more about the white man’s world. His tracking and expert gun skills won him employment as a deputy sheriff, and eventually the job of sheriff of Elkhorn. Ohiyesa’s deputy is Hank Brown. Once sheriff, Pow Wow spends most of his time in Elkhorn, only rarely returning to Red Deer Valley.
For most of his adventures, Pow Wow’s girlfriend (and later fiancée) is the Native American maiden Fleetfoot, daughter of Chief Thundercloud. Fleetfloot aids Pow Wow in a number of adventures.
U.S. Marshal Ohiyesa Smith, a present-day descendant of the original Pow Wow Smith, appears in Robin Annual #6, a Western pastiche that also featured a modern day version of Nighthawk. This Ohiyesa attended college in the East, then returned to Red Deer Valley, seeking to modernize his tribe. As a U.S. Marshall, he too takes the name Pow Wow Smith, but continues to live in Red Deer Valley. The modern-day Pow Wow Smith works with Robin and other heroes to take down the modern-day Trigger Twins, who unlike their 19th-century antecedents are homicidal criminals. Much of the adventure takes place in a tourist-spot recreation of an Old West town, which is located near Gotham City.
Smith appeared in a time travel episode of Justice League Unlimited, “The Once and Future Thing,” as a sheriff of a western town. He was run out of Town by Manning who used technology he got from Chronos (David Clinton). With the aide of Bat Lash, El Diablo, Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Batman, he defeated Manning. He was voiced by Jonathan Joss. In this version, Smith still objects to the name “Pow-Wow”, which is only used by the villain Tobias Manning.