The Daltons (cartoon characters)

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The Daltons: Joe, William, Jack and Averell (from left)

The Daltons are characters from the Lucky Luke comic book series by Maurice de Bevere (Morris) and René Goscinny . The criminal gang consisting of the four brothers Joe, William, Jack and Averell Dalton is modeled after the historical Dalton brothers . In the Lucky Luke album nepotism (Les Cousins ​​Dalton) the Daltons are introduced as cousins ​​of the historic Bob, Grat, Bill and Emmett Dalton.

History of the characters

The Daltons first appeared in nepotism in a Lucky Luke comic in 1952 . In volume 81 of the series called The Outlaws , Morris tells of the encounter between the historic Daltons and the later adversary of their cousins. Visually, these Daltons did not differ in the slightest from their later successors. Luke is involved when they appear to perish during the historic Coffeyville heist. Later, however, he has to deal with her cousins. The Daltons are still represented in the series to this day, which did not change after Achdé took over the drawings after Morris' death.

Role and appearance of the Daltons

The Daltons act as typical villains in the Lucky Luke series and often carry out the main conflict with the cowboy. This is clearly superior to them, so that the crooks also take on the role of the humorous clumsy. Another aspect of their characters is the constant conflict among the brothers, especially between Joe and the goofy Averell. This often results in the Daltons defeating themselves in the first place. A running gag is Joe's constant attempt to make Lucky Luke his servant instead of killing him or forcing him to rob a bank or the like.

Often times, the stories begin with the four of them breaking out of prison and having Luke put them behind bars.

The Dalton brothers are of different sizes, with the difference being about one head each. Most of the time they appear in a row according to size, next to one another or one behind the other, regardless of whether they are running, riding or moving around. They mostly wear the same clothes, either black and yellow striped convict clothes or black pants and green or blue shirts with cowboy hats. Their faces are identical. As children, they were blue and bald, save for one large curl of lard. Sometimes they also make the same movements.

The texts, such as quotes from the Daltons themselves or other characters, show that they are dangerous, notorious criminals. Often their name is enough to spread fear and terror or to drive people to flight in droves (Daisy Town). Nevertheless, in the stories they hardly succeed in a more serious crime in which they enrich themselves significantly or harm people. This is only reported in narrative texts or often in newspaper articles (nepotism, The Daltons break out). After outbreaks, they can usually successfully provide for themselves through criminal means only with the necessary equipment such as clothing, weapons, horses and the like.

Characterization of persons

Joe Dalton

Joe, the smallest and oldest (except for nepotism ; here he is the youngest) of the Daltons, is the leader of the gang. He's a choleric and prone to tantrums , often triggered by the mere thought of Lucky Luke or stupid comments from his brother Averell. Joe hates Rantanplan, the stupid and voracious prison dog, to which he is occasionally chained so that Rantanplan can "guard" him. The guard then tends to mistake Joe's tantrums for affection, which infuriates the bandits even more. If he then takes out his anger on the dog, it usually comes to a fight with the prison guards. Joe's greatest weakness is his mother. He can't stand the fact that she prefers the baby Averell to him and doesn't hesitate to put Joe, the “most feared bandit in the West”, over his knee.

The author Goscinny has always called Joe the dumbest of the brothers, although he now forges almost all the plans in the series and seems to be the most intelligent of the brothers. In the brothers' first album, nepotism , you can see this even more precisely: While his brothers each have a skill that makes them at least equal to Lucky Luke, Joe is only guided by "pure hatred". In this first volume he is also clearly rash, naive and gullible, so that Goscinny's statement can be better understood. Joe's transformation into a choleric leader did not follow until later volumes.

William and Jack Dalton

William and Jack, who are between Joe and Averell in size, age, and intelligence, play less important roles. With a few exceptions, they don't have such clearly defined personalities and so only follow Joe's instructions or prevent Joe from strangling Averell. They became stopgaps, which can go quite a long way: When the Daltons split up in the last volume that Morris completed, A Wild West Legend , they split not into four groups, but into three: Joe, Averell - and Jack / William.

William is usually the smaller of the two characters. Every now and then, however, they change their sizes - interestingly, when, as in the second part of Nepotism or in Dalton City , they act as independent characters instead of stopgaps.

William Dalton

The second smallest Dalton is usually called William. He is shown in nepotism (where he is the second largest here) as a master of cunning and disguise, which at least doesn't work with Lucky Luke. In Dalton City (where he is again the second largest) it turns out that he is the only one of the brothers who has something to counter Joe's outbursts of anger and is more or less equal to the older brother. In the story, jealousy, jealousy and also taunts come to light between the two. His prison number is 27 and he has been to 35 prisons.

Jack Dalton

Jack is the second tallest of the Daltons. According to nepotism , he is the brothers' best shooter, but he is also not averse to gambling - especially Russian roulette . Furthermore, he is not very drinkable, which is his undoing as Lucky Luke's bodyguard in Dalton City . He is passionate about playing the banjo , which is why he likes to let it go with train robberies ( The Daltons take the train ).

Averell Dalton

Averell, the greatest Dalton, is also the dumbest of the brothers. His voracity connects him with Rantanplan, the prison dog. Averell's favorite phrase is “When is there something to eat?”, Which he often uses to drive his brother Joe to white heat. He knows that he is stupid (or a "dork"; see The Daltons in the Blizzard [Les Dalton dans le Blizzard] ), but considers himself the most beautiful of the Daltons. Basically, Averell is very good-natured and is not a desperado of his own will , but he cannot escape the influence of his brothers.

As the youngest he is the darling of Ma Dalton, and in contrast to his brothers, he has an honest side, which always becomes the doom of the Daltons when Lucky Luke manages to play this fact skillfully. In Amnesia (L'amnésie des Dalton), for example, the Daltons stage a trial against Lucky Luke and give him Averell as defense attorney, who delivers a brilliant defense speech. In The Daltons and the Psycho-Doc (La guérison des Dalton) , Averell, spurred on by Lucky Luke, no longer wants to be a bandit and tries to convert his brothers too. Occasionally, the other brothers get into trouble because they don't listen to Averell. In The Daltons in the Blizzard, it is he who wants to tell the brothers that they left the guns in a sleigh. In Tortillas for the Daltons (Tortillas pour les Dalton) , Joe made a mistake with Averell, so that he does not tell the rest of the brothers that an alleged large landowner who was kidnapped is Lucky Luke.

In the first volume of the Daltons, nepotism , Averell is still portrayed as bumbling, but quite competent. So he is equal to Lucky Luke in strength and willpower, the two fight each other extensively and devastate a saloon without one of the two emerging as the winner in the end. It is only in later volumes that Averell becomes the fool he is known as. But he remains a very good boxer , for example in The Daltons in the Blizzard .

Dalton relationship

Relatives of the Daltons appear in some stories:

  • The original Daltons are modeled after the historic Dalton Brothers . Bob, Grat, Bill and Emmett appear in the early story The Outlaws (Hors-la-loi) and die at the end. In the published version first drawn by Morris, Bob is shot and killed by Luke, but this was too brutal for the album publisher Dupuis. The events in the regular album version towards the end of the story have been changed so that the four crosses of the brothers can simply be seen at the end. Due to their popularity - the different sizes were visually striking from the start - after a brief appearance on the eleventh album Lucky Luke versus Joss Jamon , Morris and Goscinny finally performed in the following band Nepotism as cousins ​​of the late Daltons Joe, William (in Lucky Luke versus Joss Jamon was called he still "Bill"), Jack and Averell.
Since it is no longer the historical Daltons, draftsmen and copywriters were given significantly more leeway for creating the stories. So they don't have to follow historical time sequences. Play some stories with the cousins ​​before the real Dalton brothers were born. In addition, in the story Oklahoma Jim , they meet the adversary Lucky Luke in their childhood.
  • Ma Dalton appears for the first time in Ma Dalton , later she is mainly responsible for sending the Dalton's parcels to prison, which usually contain a cake in which a file is hidden. She appears a total of six times ( Ma Dalton , Amnesia , Belle Starr , The Daltons in the Sling , On Your Own , My Uncle, the Daltons ), but is mentioned a few more times. She lives up to the family name and had often dragged the Dalton's father, known as a safe cracker, out of prison until one day he switched to dynamite and died in an accident. As the youngest of the brothers, Averell is her baby boy whom she shamelessly prefers. However, she later admits that she has a weakness for Joe because he is most similar to his father (due to the similarity of all family members, it can be assumed that she is referring to the character here).
  • Marcel Dalton, uncle , a highly decent Swiss banker , appears only once in the album of the same name. As tall as Averell, but much more intelligent, not to be distinguished from his nephews on the outside, he is considered the black sheep of the family because he is honest and tries to make bankers and honest people out of the Daltons - where he fails miserably. He is the brother of Ma Dalton and also goes by the family name Dalton.
  • Nephew "Junior" Emmet Dalton appears in the volume My Uncle, the Daltons and emerged from a fictional relationship between old Emmet Dalton and a saloon dancer. She hides her name from the Daltons, to whom she entrusts the upbringing because she is now making a career with Buffalo Bill. Averell becomes the godfather because he is the "nicest" of the brothers, even if Joe would have liked to play this role. Junior Dalton is also very hungry and has found his companion in Averell. At the end of the said volume, however, Lucky Luke can convince Junior to be honest, and the Daltons who tried to steal Junior's fortune are relieved of responsibility. The new "uncle" is butler Bobby.
  • Uncle Henry Dalton never appears personally, but his death gives rise to an act of revenge by the Daltons on the jury and the judge who sentenced him to death in The Dalton Ballade ( La ballade des Dalton ). According to Joe, he looks very much like the Dalton's father and has always been set as a shining example to them. A statue at the end of the ribbon shows him under the gallows; one can deduce from it that he must have been about the size of Joe. Both the surname and the alleged resemblance to the Dalton's father suggest that he must have been a brother of the father.
  • Jim Dalton does not appear in person, but in The Daltons and the Psychodoc he is mentioned or that he was hanged. This execution was an occasion for Ma Dalton to bake a cake (to the great delight of Averell).
  • The wives only appear in The Daltons in the noose . In order to avoid the gallows , the four brothers are forced to marry. Since Ma Dalton pissed off all the virgins in the city through this mission , the choice ultimately fell on an Indian tribe of flat heads:
    • Joe gets Small Moon ,
    • William and Jack get paired with Hissing Viper and Clairvoyant Mole ,
    • and Averell gets the chief's adopted daughter, prairie flower .
With the exception of Averell, all three Dalton brothers are dissatisfied with their better half and abandon them at the end of the adventure.


The Dalton brothers appear in the following Lucky Luke albums (numbering after publication by Ehapa Verlag):

  1. The Lawless (81): actually the 6th comic in the series; the "real" Dalton brothers Bob, Grat, Bill and Emmett still perform here
  2. The Daltons break out (17): the Daltons first mention their mother, who sent them a cake with a file inside
  3. Nepotism (21): first appearance by cousins ​​Dalton Joe, William, Jack and Averell
  4. On the trail of the Daltons (23)
  5. Lucky Luke versus Joss Jamon (24): Short appearance by cousins ​​Joe, Bill , Jack and Averell; originally published before nepotism , the story probably takes place afterwards anyway
  6. The Daltons in the Blizzard (25)
  7. The Daltons on a treasure hunt (27)
  8. Tortillas for the Daltons (28)
  9. The Daltons prove their worth (30)
  10. Dalton City (36)
  11. Billy the Kid (37): Short appearance
  12. Daisy Town (40)
  13. Fingers (41)
  14. The Gallows Rope and Other Stories (42): in the storyThe Daltons take the train
  15. Ma Dalton (47): Ma Dalton's first appearance
  16. Lucky Luke's fiancée (48)
  17. The Dalton Ballad (49): here the death of an uncle Henri Dalton plays a central role
  18. Nitroglycerin (52)
  19. The legacy of Rantanplan (53)
  20. The Daltons and the Psycho-Doc (54): an "Uncle Jim" of the Daltons is mentioned here
  21. The alibi and other stories (55): in the stories Olé Daltonitos and A horse disappears
  22. The Daltons on the Warpath (60)
  23. Amnesia (63): Ma Dalton's second appearance
  24. High Noon in Haldey City (67)
  25. Belle Starr (69): Ma Dalton's third appearance
  26. Marcel Dalton (72): appearance of the uncle Marcel Dalton
  27. Oklahoma Jim (73): Appearance of the Daltons as children
  28. The Prophet (74)
  29. A Wild West Legend (76)
  30. The Daltons in the Noose (80): includes the marriage of the Dalton brothers and the fourth appearance of Ma Dalton
  31. Lucky Luke versus Pinkerton (88): the Daltons are caught here for the first time by Allan Pinkerton, the "successor" of Lucky Luke after President Lincoln has put him into retirement
  32. On their own (90): the Daltons no longer want to accept Joe as head of the gang and go their separate ways, they decide that the one who has been the first to earn 1 million dollars will be the new head of the gang, fifth appearance by Ma Dalton
  33. My uncles, the Daltons (93): the Daltons are supposed to raise "Junior" Dalton, sixth appearance by Ma Dalton

The Daltons in the movie

The Daltons appeared in the animated series from 1983 to 1992 as well as in the three cartoons Lucky Luke - Daisy Town , Lucky Luke - His greatest trick and Lucky Luke - The great adventure .

The Daltons appeared regularly in the following cartoon series, which was still strongly based on the actions of the comic books. Notably, The Outlaws story was rewritten to be about the cousins, not the "real" Daltons.

In the first feature film, Lucky Luke , they are portrayed by Ron Carey (Joe), Dominic Barto (William), Bo Greigh (Jack) and Fritz Sperberg (Averell, consistently written as "Averill"), as well as in the following television series , where they appear in four Episodes show up. Since it is a feature film with four actors, both the same appearance and the different sizes could hardly be implemented.

The main roles play the Daltons in the movie The Daltons against Lucky Luke ; here they are played by Éric Judor (Joe), Romain Berger (William), Saïd Serrari (Jack) and Ramzy Bédia (Averell). Jack is the bigger of the middle brothers.

The television series Lucky Luke - The New Adventures also shows the Daltons regularly. Both the sizes and the voices of Jack and William (originally the same speaker) are regularly mixed up.

In the animated film On to the West , the Daltons appear, although they are California or Death! do not occur.

The latest film to date, Lucky Luke by James Huth, is the only film adaptation of the comic book adventure without the Daltons.

Xilam Animations , who have already produced The New Adventures and Off to the West , announced a Les Dalton animation series in 2009 . This ran on Canal + and France 3 from autumn 2010 and contains 78 episodes of 7 minutes each. Lucky Luke does not appear. Again, the order of the brothers is Joe, Jack, William, Averell.

Other comments and inconsistencies

  • In nepotism , the Daltons only get to know Lucky Luke as adults, while they meet in the Lucky Kid magazines as children. However, in the French original, when they first met Lucky Luke in nepotism , Joe says “Tu nous reconnais, Cowboy?” (“Do you recognize us again?”), In contrast to the German versions (including: “Do you know us, Cowboy?” ).
  • In addition, in the comic book nepotism, the Daltons are initially insignificant petty crooks and only become the dreaded criminals after they meet Lucky Luke. In the story of Daisy Town , which was initially conceived for the cinema and was released in 1971 as the cartoon Lucky Luke - Daisy Town , various profiles suggest that the Daltons were already being sought in their childhood and youth. That was carried over to the comic book version of the film in 1983.

Individual evidence

  1. Xilam Animations website., 2015, accessed on July 17, 2016 (French).