DC Database

Johnny Thunder was a cowboy vigilante in Mesa City, Arizona, in the 19th Century.

John Tane was the son of a sheriff and a schoolteacher living in the Mormon settlement of Mesa City, Arizona. While growing up in Mesa City, Johnny's mother made him promise never to use guns and to instead follow in her footsteps. Johnny became a schoolteacher, but he soon found himself in a situation where violence was required. In order to keep his vow, Johnny created the identity of Johnny Thunder by changing clothes and darkening his hair to black.

Johnny eventually retired from action, married the similarly-retired outlaw Jeanne Walker (also known as Madame .44), and raised a family.[2]



  • Black Lightning: Throughout his career as Johnny Thunder, Tane rode a white stallion named Black Lightnin'.


  • Colt Revolver: Johnny Thunder used two Colt six-shooters.

  • Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
  • Schoolmaster John Tane kept his gunfighter outfit in a hidden room in the tiny schoolhouse outside of Mesa.[3]
  • John Tane dated Miss Kathy, of the Hi-Kathy Ranch, but only in his Johnny Thunder identity.
  • Sheriff Tane attempted several times to deputize Johnny Thunder, who always declined. At one point he deputized Thunder's horse, Black Lightnin'.[4]