Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The Rawhide Kid - the one created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, then
continued by Larry Lieber - is my favorite western character.  So,
inspired by Essential Rawhide Kid Volume 1, which reprinted all the
Lee/Kirby issues and then some, I’ve been writing about the Rawhide
Kid most every Wednesday.  When I ran out of the issues reprinted
in the book, I tracked down some owlhoots, brought them in and used
the reward money to buy the next ten issues of the title.  Because
that’s what the Kid would have done.

Our young hero faces his second costumed villain in as many issues
and this one actually has super-powers of a sort.   The Rawhide Kid
#38 [February 1964} has an exciting cover by Jack Kirby (pencils)
and Sol Brodsky (inks).


“Revenge of the Red Raven” (18 pages) is written by editor Stan Lee
and drawn by Dick Ayers.  It opens with the Kid busting up a bank
robbery by Red Raven and his gang.  Since there’s only three of the
outlaws, it only takes three pages for Rawhide to capture them and
leave them tied up for the sheriff. 

In prison, Red’s cell mate is an elderly Navajo medicine man who
offers Raven a dangerous secret.  The medicine man is old and sick,
but is determined this secret will not die with him.  The secret is
a costume with wings, woven by the Navajo.  With this suit, a man
can actually fly. 

The medicine man tells Red the wings have near magical powers, but
that, to use them, Raven must strengthen his arms through special
exercises.  It takes long weeks of training, but Raven is finally
able to fly.  As the medicine man breathes his last, Red makes his
escape from prison.

It takes but days for the new Red Raven to track down the Rawhide
Kid.  He ambushes the Kid and guns him down from the sky.  The
outlaw doesn’t realize Rawhide is still alive.

Nightwind, the Kid’s horse, gallops off looking for help because he
is the Lassie of horses.  The valiant steed catches the attention
of a Navajo warrior and leads him to the fallen Rawhide.  The young
brave takes the Kid back to his village to recover from his injury.

Now I wasn’t going to say anything about the coincidence of a bad
guy named Red Raven gaining the power of flight.  I’ll give almost
any story one coincidence.  But it also turns out that the brave is
the son of the medicine man who created the winged suit and, going
for the Trifecta, the brave also has a winged suit and knows how to
train the Rawhide Kid how to use.

Weeks pass, Rawhide learns how to fly.  Red Raven robs anything and
everything at will.  The Kid goes after the winged outlaw and narrowly
misses being gunned down from above a second time.  The Kid takes
to the air, but the more experienced Red still has the advantage of
experience in using his wings.  The three-page aerial battle that
follows features terrific Ayers-drawn action.  The deciding factor
is the Kid’s greater skill with a gun. 

The Kid and the young brave burn both winged suits.  There is too
much evil in the badlands of the Old West and they can’t risk the
suits falling into the young hands.

The brave takes Red Raven to the sheriff while the Kid rides off,
musing on this most recent adventure:

“It’s too bad it hadda end like this! The secret of flight could be
a great thing for men! But, maybe some day in the future when we’re
really ready for it...! Who knows??!”

This issue’s non-series story is “This Is a Stickup” (5 pages) by
Lee and Gene Colan.  They also teamed for last issue’s non-series
tale, which, you may recall, was not to my liking.  They certainly
redeem themselves this time around with an action-packed, humorous

Three outlaws are getting ready to rob a bank.  Inside, a young man
is applying for a job as a teller.  The outlaws charge in with guns
drawn and demand the banker open the safe and hand over the money
in it.  The banker refuses because the townspeople have all their
life’s savings in the bank.  Not surprisingly, this argument does
not dissuade the robbers.

The job applicant tries to reason with the outlaws.  The leader of
the gang knocks him down.  As the banker starts to open the safe,
the young man attacks the gang with his bare fists.  What follows
is a fast-paced fight scene with the teller taking down all three
of the crooks.  It’s the sort of action that would serve Colan well
when he started drawing actual super-heroes for Marvel.

The story is already great fun, but Lee and Colan put the icing on
the cake with the final exchange between the banker and the young
man who wants to be a teller.

BANKER: Now then, son, before we were interrupted, you were about
to tell me why you wanted to work in a bank!

MAN: Oh yes! As I said, it’s a simple reason...I’m a very mild-
mannered man and I hate violence! So I feel a bank is the safest,
quietest place for me to work!


I’m not sure how one pronounces “!!” but I know I chuckled out loud
when I first read this story and again when I reread it for today’s
bloggy thing.  I love this little gem of a story.

Come back next Wednesday for more Rawhide Kid and, of course, I’ll
be back tomorrow with other stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. I have a copy of this. I think it was the first western comic that I read. The silliness of all the coincidence turn me off western comics for years. Funny how the same kind of coincidences did not bother me at all in superhero books (i.e. superman and Lex Lutor grown up in the same small town). Not sure this was the best introduction to western comics. Funny I don't remember the second story, but I got the book years ago.

  2. So I take it that this version of Red Raven had no ties to the Red Raven character of WWII?? The one that was later retconned into the team known as Liberty Legion???

    ---Tom Hunter