Monday, February 13, 2012

Apache Chief

Apache Chief is a fictional Native American superhero from the various Super Friends cartoons created by Hanna-Barbera and based on the comic book series of same name developed by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the creators of The Joker. He was one of the new heroes added (along with Black Vulcan, Rima the Jungle Girl, El Dorado and Samurai) to increase the number of non-white characters in the Super Friends ranks. He was voiced by Michael Rye.

In the Challenge of the Super Friends series, Apache Chief was seen in every episode except one, but had spoken lines in only nine out of the sixteen episodes of the series. His arch enemy from the Legion of Doom was Giganta, who also happens to be an original arch enemy of Wonder Woman.

By speaking the word "Eh-neeek-chock" ("Big Man"), Apache Chief could grow to unlimited sizes. In an episode titled "Colossus", Apache Chief shouts " Eh-neeek-chock" to grow to super size, making himself able to battle the Colossus, a titanic space creature that plucked Earth from its orbit and placed it in a small (relative to him) glass bottle. Originally his tribal powers limited his growth to only 50 feet tall. However in one episode, "Man in the Moon", he used the Atom's knowledge of atomic size and was able to increase his growing to unlimited size. He was then able to grow to 1/5 the size of the earth, stepping on most of North America, and defeated the creature, sending it back inside the moon. He also spoke in stereotypical "Native American English" and recited vaguely Native American philosophy. In the 1978 episodes, "Revenge on Gorilla City" and "The Time Trap", and the 1984 short episode entitled "The Village of Lost Souls", it was shown that Apache Chief also had exceptional tracking ability.

Apache Chief's origin, shown as a recording in the episode "History of Doom", was thus: while still a young brave, he went for a walk with the chief of his tribe. The two men are quickly attacked by a bear, but the chief, recognizing that the young brave might be ready for a test such as this, gives the younger man a pouch of a special magic powder which will amplify the user's thoughts and abilities a hundredfold. The young man resolves to be strong and brave (heeding the chief's advice that whatever is in his mind at the time will be amplified by the dust), and upon sprinkling himself with the powder and invoking the magic phrase "Eh-neeek-chock", grows to fifty feet in size, stronger and braver. He disposes of the bear without violence, proving that he has passed the test. Unfortunately, a passerby witnesses the entire affair and steals the dust with a lasso. Despite the chief telling her her mind was evil, she uses it on herself and becomes the evil Giganta, proclaiming "Your fifty feet of good are now matched by my fifty feet of evil!" The extent of his power is unknown.

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