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Leonard Pine

Leonard Pine is one of the titular characters in Joe R Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series of novels. Several of the Hap and Leonard novels have been adapted for television and the first novel, Savage Season was adapted as a graphic novel by Jussi Piironen. The novels are set in east Texas during the Reagan Bush years of the late 1980s. Their friendship dates back to their childhood and as adults they’re sometimes business associates.

Hap Collins is straight, white, and liberal. As a college student in the 1960s, Collins was on the front lines of protest for women’s rights, civil rights, and ending the Vietnam War. Leonard was raised by his uncle and would enlist in the Army to serve during the Vietnam war and believes in conservative politics. Leonard also has a short fuse and isn’t averse to resorting to using guns or violence if he thinks a situation warrants it such as torching the local crack house. Being openly gay in east Texas isn’t easy and Leonard’s uncle shunned him when he learned this fact about his nephew. Because of such a negative reaction, Leonard was shocked to learn he’d inherited his uncle’s house and all assets after his death.

To no one’s surprise, Pine does not suffer racists and homophobic bigots. This zero tolerance attitude is on display in different scenes in this adaptation involving two unsavory men who belong to a small group calling themselves the Revolutionaries. The name is a thinly veiled conceit since they’re basically criminals. There is use of the N word to underscore the despicable and irredeemable nature of a sociopath of a man nicknamed Soldier, who deservedly suffers bad consequences delivered by Pine. While it’s quite clear to me the word’s usage, first by Lansdale and then by Piironen, is not intended to dehumanize black people I wonder if its usage was necessary.

While Pine deeply appreciates his decades long friendship, he’s also comfortable being his own company and is usually single. Leonard and Hap are best friends and there is no sexual or romantic interest between them. Besides, Hap thinks the hats Leonard wears are ugly.

This profile is based on my reading of the graphic novel Hap and Leonard: Savage Season, an adaptation of Lansdale’s novel of the same name by Jussi Piironen and other sources (Happy Birthday to Leonard Pine, the Ultimate Bad Ass and this piece at The Thrilling Detective Web Site).

Leonard Pine and Hap Collins created by Joe R Lansdale.

All rights reserved Joe R Lansdale and SST Publications

The above photo is of actor Michael Kenneth Williams who portrayed Leonard Pine for three seasons of the TV series. Unfortunately, there were no images in the graphic novel that were either of a good size or uncluttered by word balloons.

September 10, 2020
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