Wednesday, February 15, 2012
RAWHIDE WEDNESDAYS: PART TWO
The Rawhide Kid is one of my favorite comics characters. Inspired
by Essential Rawhide Kid Vol. 1, which reprints Rawhide Kid
#17-35, I plan to write about the Kid every other Wednesday.
In the first part of this ongoing series, I wrote about the Kid’s
debut/origin. We continue...
Rawhide Kid #18 [October, 1960} finds the Kid “At the Mercy of Wolf
Waco” with cover and interior art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers and
writing/editing by Stan Lee. As this Rawhide Kid discussion moves
forward in this and other installments, I won't speculate on who did
what as far as the original story concepts and plots unless something
screams out at me as uniquely Kirby or uniquely Lee. I love both of
those guys - and Dick Ayers as well - and I don’t feel I must denigrate
either Jack or Stan to express that love. Anyway...
The Kid fled the scene of a crime last issue and became an outlaw
in the eyes of a nearsighted lawman. However, as we will see, the
Kid will continue to make bad choices, sometimes for the noblest of
reasons, that add more weight to his “outlaw” status. In this 13-
page story, tired from being on the run, the Kid reluctantly joins
Waco’s gang. Outnumbered, he knows they’ll kill him if he doesn’t
join them and he also believes there is no place else he can go.
But, when ordered to dynamite a train during a robbery, he instead
turns the tables on Waco and his killers. In a typical last panel,
the Kid doesn’t seek a reward or even thanks from the men he just
saved. He rides off, his body language expressing the weariness of
his outlaw life.
“The Midnight Raiders” is the non-series story of the issue. It’s
drawn by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito and written by Stan Lee.
The five-pager falls neatly into another standard western plot often
used by Lee. Four raiders think a town will be easy pickings because
its sheriff is an elderly man. Unfortunately for these bad guys, the
SPOILER WARNING...Wild Bill Hickok. The thugs end up
behind bars, bemoaning their lousy luck.
“Hundreds of towns in the West and you haveta pick on the one
with Bill Hickok for sheriff!”
Hickok was gunned down in a saloon in Deadwood in what is now South
Dakota. It was 1876 and he was only 39 years old, hardly the old
man shown in this story. But Stan clearly loved stories in which
the surprise ending was that some character was a famous historical
figure and would go there often. His history was shaky, but it was
all in good fun. SPOILER ENDS.
Of all the great stories featuring the Rawhide Kid, the second Kid
tale in this issue is my favorite. “A Legend is Born!” is also one
of my favorite Lee/Kirby collaborations. In five masterful pages,
Stan and Jack show their understanding of human nature, delivering
action and one of the best “punch lines” ever.
The Kid is trying to have a peaceful meal when a bully, not knowing
the identity of the young man, tries to push the Kid around. Five
panels is all it takes for Rawhide to show that bully and everyone
else in the bar the folly of such behavior.
Rawhide escapes before the sheriff arrives. The witnesses proceed
to describe the Kid to the lawman. They claim he was a giant with
four guns the size of cannons and fists the size of sledgehammers.
They say his voice was like the growl of a caged lion. The sheriff
is thrilled to have such a good description.
The last panel captions make the story...
For the record: The Rawhide Kid had an unusually low, mild voice!
He was five feet, three inches, in his stocking feet, and had never
in his life weighed more than one hundred and twenty-five pounds!
His hands were normal size, a mite on the small side, maybe, and he
carried no more than two regulation Colt .45's!
But human nature is what it is, and men will always color what they
say! That is why none of the records really agree about the
Rawhide Kid – that is how legends are born!
Comments to this blog are moderated because I simply don’t have the
time or inclination to spar with trolls. Such sparring matches may
give their lives meaning, but they do nothing for the quality of my
life or the lives of my readers. You don’t like what I’ve written?
Ignore it. For the most part, I ignore you - I speak only of the
trolls here and not my beloved readers - except on the exceedingly
rare instances when I feel there may be benefit from my discussing
something a troll has sent me.
On this occasion, the troll in question asked what my problem was
people who like Jack Kirby, but don’t like Stan Lee. He blathered
on a bit more, but, basically, he wanted me to defend his right to
hate on Stan Lee. Which I think it already pretty much covered by
the First Amendment. Which also doesn’t require me to give him a
forum for his nonsense.
On my end, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t love both Jack Kirby
and Stan Lee, two of the greatest comics creators there have ever
been. I know there are some fans who feel the full expression of
their love for Jack must include hatred and vile statements about
Stan. That I do have a problem with.
The current troll seems to think there are Stan Lee fans who hate
on Jack Kirby. The law of averages tells me there likely are some
Stan fans who have behaved in such churlish manner, but I certainly
haven’t come across any that I can recall.
The bottom line for me is that I love Stan and Jack. My world has
been much richer because of them. I think Stan deserves everything
he’s gained from his work in comics and I wish Jack had received as
much. I’ll never criticize either the Kirby family or Kirby’s fans
for seeking to get Jack the recognition he deserves, save for when
they, and I speak here of a tiny but vocal group of so-called fans,
denigrate those who worked with Jack.
I support the Kirby family’s quest to get those financial rewards
which, no matter what Marvel claims or any court rules, Jack Kirby
deserves. So what if Jack and Roz aren’t still around to benefit
from those rewards? Jack worked for his family and his art. He’d
want his family to benefit.
When I see trolls bitching about how the heirs of Jack Kirby, Jerry
Siegel, and others don’t deserve to get compensated for the great
creativity and hard work of such creators, I get pissed off at the
trolls. I want to smack them around until they cower in a corner
wetting their pants.
Not one of those online creeps would have had the nerve to go up to
Jack at a convention and tell him his family didn’t deserve to get
paid by Marvel. Okay, Jack would have probably shrugged and just
walked away from them. Roz would've knocked their heads off and
kicked them across the convention. At least that’s how I like to imagine
it would play out.
You don’t love Jack Kirby? You’re an idiot.
You don’t love Stan Lee? You’re an idiot.
Take your crap somewhere else.
For the record: Tony Isabella has an unusually low, mild voice! He
is five feet, three inches, and hasn’t weighed 125 pounds since he
was a teen! His hands are normal size, maybe a mite on the small
side, and he has never carried a firearm! Yet!
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella