Wednesday, June 12, 2013
RAWHIDE WEDNESDAY 43
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 more issues of the title. Because that’s
what the Kid would have done.
Hang on to your bandana, cowpoke...and get set for...ROUGH RIDIN’,
SHARP-SHOOTIN’ and FAST ACTION...straight outta the Marvel corral!
That cover copy notwithstanding, The Rawhide Kid #58 [June, 1967]
is the first issue of the title that truly disappointed me. Larry
Lieber’s cover is first-rate, but the Rawhide adventure it heralds
comes up short.
Lieber penciled “When a Gunfighter Faces the Enforcers” (17 pages),
but Gary Friedrich wrote it. Though I’m a fan of Friedrich’s work,
this story never clicked with me. Making things even worse, Vince
Colletta inked Lieber’s pencils and that’s a real letdown after the
outstanding John Tartaglione’s inks of the previous issue. Though
this is mere speculation on my part, I’m wondering if there was a
deadline problem going on here. We know from the previous issue’s
Bullpen Bulletins that Lieber had sprained his sacroiliac recently.
That would’ve certainly slowed him down and, as a result, Colletta
might have had to do a rush job on the inks. I’ll try to get the
straight scoop on this the next time I talk with Larry.
A criminal gang called the Enforcers, said to be the same owlhoots
who tangled with Kid Colt recently, though that link is tenuous, is
ruling the tiny town of Buzzard’s Roost. They lock Grey Wolf, the
son of the chief of the neighboring Comanches in a cage until the
tribe turns over its gold.
The cage is in the town saloon. The Rawhide Kid is in the saloon.
What’s going on in the saloon doesn’t sit right with the Kid. He
takes down the gang with fists and six-shooters, frees Grey Wolf,
then escapes into the hills with him.
The Comanches are divided with the hothead faction wanting to ride
into town and slaughter all white men, starting with Rawhide. The
Enforcers have blocked the tribe’s water supply, so the braves are
understandably testy. The wise chief gives the Kid until sundown
to take care of the Enforcers for good.
Meanwhile, the Enforces have hired Patch Cooley, a gunfighter with
a fast draw and a sure aim, to fight the Kid. When Rawhide first
gets back to the town, he tries to recruit the townspeople to stand
up to the outlaws. The townspeople are too scared to do so.
Left to his own resources, Rawhide goes after the gang and acquits
himself well. But he’s outnumbered and soon captured. Grey Wolf
sneaks into the saloon and frees the Kid. The two get back to the
job of beating down the Enforces. Unfortunately, the tribal hawks
have launched a war party.
Grey Wolf calms the war party, pointing out that he and the Rawhide
Kid have captured the Enforcers. The nearly forgotten Cooley draws
down on the Kid. Rawhide disarms him easily.
Grey Wolf thanks Rawhide for his service. The Kid says he did what
he had to do and rides out of town.
There goes a man, my brothers–-the likes of which we will not soon
It’s not a bad story, just not a very good one. The Comanches are
treated in a mostly respectful manner, though I would guess there
are historical inaccuracies in their depictions. No one, with the
possible exceptions of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, wrote the Rawhide
Kid’s adventures as well as Larry Lieber or matched the layers of
my pal Larry’s characters.
Here’s an oddity about my copy of this issue. The splash page has
two stamps on it for the Library of Congress. One is dated “Mar 17
1967" and the other “May 21 1967.” I don’t believe I’ve ever seen
that in any other comic book in my collection.
The “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” page is next, leading off with the
announcement of the first Merry Marvel Messenger. The newsletter
will be sent free to members of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.
At least one issue was published.
There’s an item on the 1967 annuals: Millie the Model, Sgt. Fury,
Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and, taking the place of Thor,
Daredevil. That’s followed by welcomes to Dan Adkins, Herb Trimpe
and the returning Ogden Whitney and George Bell. As you probably
know, “George Bell” was a pseudonym for George Roussos.
In his debut “Stan’s Soapbox” feature, Stan writes about the Marvel
Philosophy. That philosophy is to entertain readers by doing the
kind of comics the Marvel crew would like to read. Sounds crazy.
Maybe just crazy enough to work. Wrapping up this Bullpen page, we
get “The Mighty Marvel Checklist” and a list of 26 more members of
This issue’s non-series story is a reprint of “The Judge” from The
Rawhide Kid #32 [February 1963]. Here’s what I wrote about it when
I covered that issue:
Stan Lee teamed with Al Hartley for “The Judge,” the issue’s non-
series story. Judge Harper Bates comes to Tornado, a town so wild
the sheriff takes prisoners to the next town to be tried. Bates is
determined to change that. The local owlhoots disrupt the Judge’s
makeshift courtroom, but Bates is packing under his black robe and,
with the sheriff’s help, he quickly restores order to his court and
“For that was the breed of man who tamed the west...Judge Harper
Bates and the countless others like him! Dedicated men –- honest
men –- courageous men –- who proved that a steady gun hand and a
fighting heart are also weapons on justice!”
Hartley isn’t known for his work on adventure comics, but he does
a nice job with this one. I especially like the shocked expression
on an owlhoot’s face when the Judge shoots the gun right out of the
Next is a page of Marvel merchandise for sale. The top half of the
page is the usual t-shirts, sweat shirts and stationary kit. The
bottom half is for something called the “Super Heroes Club” with a
different address. For a buck plus a quarter’s postage, fans could
get a set of eight Marvel heroes posters. Printed in full-color on
heavy stock, these 12" by 16" posters featured Captain America, the
Sub-Mariner, Thor, Dr. Strange, the Human Torch, Spider-Man, Iron
Man and the Incredible Hulk. Such a deal!
The “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” letters page has four letters
from readers and, alas, a repeat of the insensitivity toward native
Americans that I mentioned last issue. In the letters:
Julio Hernandez of Los Angeles is new to the Rawhide Kid and loves
the title. Make his Marvel.
Pam Abeny of Gadsolen, Alabama wants the Kid to wear black instead
Eric Hollander of New York City thinks the Kid is beating foes too
easily. He wants to see more of Nightwind, the kid’s trusty horse.
Finally, Larry Hrywhak of Rochester, New York wants to see villains
Red Raven and the Rattler return to challenge the Kid once again.
He also wants to see Rawhide team up with Kid Colt and the Two-Gun
Kid to fight a team of western baddies.
That’s it for this week’s Rawhide Kid Wednesday. Come back on the
morrow for the mercifully brief return of Grumpy Old Tony.
© 2013 Tony Isabella