Wednesday, October 31, 2012
RAWHIDE WEDNESDAYS 26
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.
The Rawhide Kid #42 [October 1964] was the second issue of the book
I bought off the newsstands. Even then, something about the cover
looked odd to me, but I just recently learned why. It’s a reprint
of the Joe Maneely-drawn cover of Rawhide Kid #14 [May 1957), which
featured the earlier western hero with that name. The Kid’s face
was redrawn to be the new Rawhide Kid.
The Grand Comics Database says the face was redrawn by Jack Kirby,
but that’s clearly not accurate. My guess would be it was redrawn
by someone who worked in the Marvel offices. If Marie Severin was
on staff at that time, she’d be my first guess and a guess it would
be. Sol Brodsky would be my second guess.
“Gunfight with Yerby’s Yahoos!” (18 pages) is a momentous occasion
in the history of the Rawhide Kid. With this issue, Larry Lieber
takes over the scripting and the art chores on the feature. Editor
Stan Lee is still doing the plotting, just as he did with the giant
monster stories Lieber scripted for Strange Tales and other titles,
but my pal Larry would also take over the Rawhide Kid plotting just
a few more issues down the trail.
Lieber might not have been as showy as either Lee or Kirby, but he
was a fine storyteller in both his writing and art. The very first
caption tells the readers most of what they need to know about the
You are looking at a man who seeks no trouble–-who harbors no
grudge–-who desires only to be left in peace! But, alas, that is
never to be the destiny of...the Rawhide Kid!
By midway through the second page, the readers also know Rawhide is
a wanted fugitive and accused of crimes he didn’t commit. I wish
today’s comics writers knew how to introduce characters so smoothly
and completely. I hate when I have to go online just to figure out
a character’s name and story.
The Rawhide Kid is enjoying a meal when he’s recognized. The local
lawman tries to arrest him, but the Kid escapes. A posse follows
him, but is attacked by “an Apache war party.” Thanks to the Kid,
the posse escapes, but, during his hand-to-hand fight with one of
the Apaches, our hero is struck in the head with a rock. Because
of this, his vision goes blurry from time to time.
The Rawhide Kid stops in another town, hoping to get some food and
get back on the trail without incident. He’s recognized, but these
folks aren’t looking to arrest him. They need his help.
The vicious Yerby’s Yahoos gang is heading their way and their new
lawman won’t arrive in time to face them. The Kid can’t stand by
and do nothing. His vision clears in time for him to drive off the
Yerby gang. But he knows Yerby will be back and decides to stick
around until the marshal arrives.
Rawhide’s vision problems continue. Two of Yerby’s men watch the
Kid try to shoot tin cans off a fence and miss all but one of them.
Learning this, Yerby comes to town to face the Kid in a shootout.
Though Rawhide can barely see, he still out-draws the outlaw and is
tracks Yerby by the sound of the outlaw’s taunts. Once again, the
Kid has saved the town.
The new marshal arrives and recognizes Rawhide as our hero gallops
away. The lawman tries to form a posse, but the townspeople isn’t
having any of it: “Marshal, before you expect this town to start
chasing that dangerous criminal...there’s something you ought to
know about him!”
Lieber would use the impaired vision bit again in the 1970s, but he
would do it differently. I was working at Marvel when that later
story appeared and complimented him on it. He was quite pleased.
Not too many people in the office paid attention to The Rawhide Kid
and didn’t recognize/realize the hard work and skill Larry brought
to every issue.
This issue’s non-series story was “The Tall Man” (5 pages) and it
was another Lee (plot) and Lieber (script and art) collaboration.
The GCD says an uncredited George Tuska inked the story, but that’s
another credit with which I take issue. While I do see some clear
evidence of Tuska inking or redrawing some faces, I’m not sure he
inked the entire story.
Comics historian Nick Caputo thinks Tuska did ink the entire story.
Asked about it on a mailing list, he wrote “I would also note that
Tuska’s Watcher story appeared the same month in Tales of Suspense
#59. Compare the inking to Lieber’s story and I think you’ll notice
I don’t have a copy of that story at hand, so, for now, my judgment
is Tuska did retouching on Lieber’s art but did not necessarily ink
the entire job. Fee; free to weigh in with your thoughts.
Getting back to the story...
A tall stranger rides through a lonely wooded area. He’s ambushed
by outlaws fixing to rob a gold-laded stagecoach. They think he’s
Marshal Shorty Dancer, the top lawman in the territory. However,
now that they see the stranger up close, they figure he’s too tall
to be the marshal. They recruit him into their gang.
The stagecoach comes. The outlaws ride towards it. The tall men
starts taking them down one by one with acrobatics and astonishing
gunplay. The outlaws are baffled by his turning on them.
The not-so-surprising surprise ending. The tall man is...Marshal
Shorty Dancer. He got his nickname when joking friends started to
Okay, not one of the best of these non-series stories and nowhere
near as good as Lee and Lieber’s previous efforts in the back pages
of The Rawhide Kid. But it’s a fun little tale.
That’s all for today, amigos. I’m getting back on the bloggy thing
trail in search of new adventures. But I’ll be back here tomorrow
with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella