Charlie “Deadeye” Dalton takes the trope of “loyal native sidekick” and turns it on its head. A three-dimensional character with agency, Deadeye is of Cherokee extraction, an ace shot with most small and long arms, as well as a capable turret gunner. Although plenty of “trick shooter” archetypes exist in pulp westerns and western comics, Deadeye is more an amalgam of characters like Sergeant York, Barry Pepper’s Pvt. Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, Woody Strode’s Jake in The Professionals, and Canadian Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow, a real life Anishnabe of the Deer Clan, and the most lethal sniper on the Western Front.
Charlie was raised in North Carolina, where he perfected stalking and hunting game to supplement his family’s subsistence. Like many indigenous Americans in reality, Charlie volunteered to serve in France during the Great War. After being assigned to the Western Front along with some Choctaw soldiers as a code talker, his value as a tracker and sniper came to the attention of his commanders.
He and Jack McGraw drifted through postwar Europe for a few years, encountering the fledgling fascist movement in Italy. After several adventures, the two war buddies returned to the US and parted ways. They were reunited in 1925 when Jack recruited him to serve as the primary gunner aboard the airship Daedalus.
An adopted brother to Jack and Doc, and an uncle to their daughter Ellen, Charlie Dalton is a lynchpin of the crew and a game-changer in a fight.