The Violence and Villains of Little Orphan Annie

Axel's Escape

Axel is able to make his escape fromboth of these characters who possess supernatural abilities. Either Punjab or the Asp have been enough to defeat hordes of villains, but against Axel, both of them fail. This makes the cold power of Axel seem even greater.

Axel makes a re-appearance six months later, in one of Gray's most interesting stories, dealing with an organized crime leader. Little by little, Gray uses the bad guys as good guys. Fed up with the government, Gray wants to show that at least the gangsters will take care of the people. Enter Nick Gatt. Nick Gatt becomes Annie's guardian angel, although she's not allowed to tell anyone about him. Like all of Gray's true heroes, Gatt doesn't want his good deeds known to anyone. Gatt is the gruff gangster who possesses a type of "honesty among thieves." He admits to being a killer, but only when the other guy deserved it. He is the vigilante sort who becomes a surrogate "Daddy" Warbucks to Annie. He is tough, independent, generous and likes to remain in the background; traits that must've appealed greatly to Gray.

No Hornblower

In February of 1940, Nick Gatt and Axel "meet" for the first time. It is the precursor for a classic Harold Gray showdown between the gangster hero and the unscrupulous villain.

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