Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The Rawhide Kid is my favorite western comics character and one of my favorite comics characters period.  Something about the short of stature (but big on courage and fighting skills) Johnny Clay spoke to the short of stature (but big on comics-reading skills) teenage Tony Isabella.  After rereading the Kid’s earliest adventures when Marvel Comics reprinted them in a pair of Marvel Masterworks and an Essential Rawhide Kid volume, I wanted to reacquire every Rawhide Kid comic, reread them and write about them in this bloggy thing of mine. This is the 52nd installment of that series.

The Rawhide Kid #67 [December 1968] has a terrific cover by Larry Lieber with inks by Syd Shores. It has a Rawhide Kid lead story and a shorter Kid Colt story that was probably intended for Kid Colt Outlaw #140 before that book was cancelled and then brought back as a reprint title. Because the two tales add up to 23 pages, one more than the usual-for-this-time 22 pages, there is no Marvel Bullpen Bulletins in this issue.

“The Hostage of Hungry Hills” (15 pages) is drawn by Larry Lieber and inked by John Tartaglione, but the writing is credited to Larry Lieber and Roy Thomas. Lieber plotted the story and Roy dialogued roughly the last half of it. This “bronc-bustin’ bullpen bombshell” was lettered by Artie Simek.

Three mountain men waylay the Rawhide Kid while he slumbers.  The Kid fights back, but they knock him unconscious. When he wakes, he is in chains and being brought food by the sister of the mountain men. The girl tells Rawhide her brothers captured him to do all the chores around their homestead.

The Kid fights back against the brutish Moose, but the family gets the drop on him. When the brothers find out their prisoner is an infamous outlaw, one of them dresses up in Rawhide’s clothes and rides into town.

The faux Rawhide Kid robs the town express office. No one dares to challenge him because they think he’s the real Rawhide.

The brothers give Rawhide back his clothes - but not his guns - and set him free.  It’s not long before a posse is chasing the Kid. He escapes, heads back to the homestead and tears into the brothers. In a little over two pages of two-fisted and fast-shooting action, he defeats the mountain men and brings them into town to clear his name. The ending of the tale is a little strange.

POSSE MEMBER: it looks like we was wrong about yuh, friend!

RAWHIDE: Folks usually are, mister! But, as for Moose and his brothers...

RAWHIDE: I got a hunch they’re not bad at heart...and I hope things won’t go too hard on ‘em!

MOOSE: Whuddya know, Rafe...Lem! The Kid’s asking ‘em to go easy on us!

RAFE: Looks like...we owe yuh a vote of thanks, Kid!

RAWHIDE: No...not to me, your sister!

RAWHIDE: ...seems like I read somethin’ somewhere...about everybody being his brother’s keeper!

RAWHIDE: And the world might just be a mite better off...if a few more folks remembered the same thing!

If you’ll turn to page 17 in your hymnal...


There was no Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page in this issue, but there was the usual ad for Marvel merchandise.  This time around, Marvel was offering a new item...

MARVEL’S SWINGING’ INFLATABLE PLASTIC PILLOWS! Introducing the latest, most original Marvel merchandising masterpiece ever...three dimensional super-hero plastic pillows that can hold more weight than you can shake a Forbush at! You can bang ‘em! Toss ‘em! Even let ‘em hang loose on the wall! Either Spider-Man or Thor, in full color yet!

The plastic pillows cost $1.50 each plus fifteen cents for postage and handling. By 1968, I was buying as many comic books as I could afford via my allowance, a couple of part-time jobs, and skipping lunch every now and then. I never bought the plastic pillows!


Following the Rawhide Kid story, Kid Colt appeared in “Dixie-–or Die!!” (8 pages) by L.A. Fite with art by Werner Roth (pencils) and Herb Trimpe (inks). It’s a strange story that doesn’t really hold together.

Colt comes upon soldiers being slaughtered by an unseen enemy.  He doesn’t reach the troopers in time to save them. For his concern, he gets a rifle butt to the back of his head.

Colt has been taken prisoner by Confederate soldiers who, led by a charismatic, delusional stereotype of a Confederate officer, think the Civil War is still going on. Their Colonel plan to capture a train and ride it into the South, gathering a great force along the way.

Colt escapes and reaches a nearby fort. When the train rolls into the “ambush,” it’s filled with American soldiers. Between Colt and the soldiers, the Confederates are turned away. But they come back for more and are wiped out. Except for the Colonel.

The Colonel tries to take the train single-handed, waving the rebel flag as he does so. He is quickly gunned down.

Colt refuses a reward:

You can keep your reward, Major! Somehow I just wouldn’t feel right takin’ it! I know those old fellers were wrong, but I just can’t help admirin’ their bravery and dedication!

Colt buries the Colonel, plants the flag at the gravesite and “pays his respect to the last of the brave soldiers of the Confederacy.

Rereading this story from my 2014 perspective, I think it’s a load of crap. The Confederacy was a monstrous confederation of slavers. I abhor this misguided worship of that confederation.


The “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” letters page ends this issue. There are four letters and no responses. I have a vague memory of Marvel deciding to run reader letters sans editorial comment...and that this policy lasted for several months.  Can anyone confirm my memory as accurate?

Lawrence DiMattco of Little Falls, Minnesota thinks there are a few things wrong with Rawhide Kid. He would like improved accuracy in the art, citing the way Lieber draws saddles in particular.  He’d also like to see only one story in each issue.

George Weaver of Upper Derby, Pennsylvania loves Larry Lieber and John Tartaglione’s art, is unhappy about the cancellations of Kid Colt Outlaw and Two Gun Kid, and asks about a coverless issue that he owns. Well, George, if you happen to be reading this bloggy so many years after your letter was published, “The Prisoner of Outlaw Town” appeared in The Rawhide Kid #36 [October 1963].

Eric Rydell of Minneapolis, Minnesota points out an error in issue #62. A sheriff gets shot in the right arm on the first page of the story, but, on the second page, it’s shown that he was hit in the left arm. Good eye, Eric!

Finally, Thomas Detoro of Newburgh, New York wants the Rawhide Kid stories to run a full 20 pages and also for the Kid to settle down with Lucy Tanner from issue #65 [August 1968]. It seems to me that Marvel ran a lot of letters from fans wanting Rawhide to be cleared of his outlaw past and become a lawman or a rancher.  I would have liked to see what Larry Lieber would have done with such a change in direction. I think he would have nailed it.

Come back next Wednesday for another Rawhide Kid adventure. Come back tomorrow for other cool stuff.

© 2014 Tony Isabella


  1. You asked: "I have a vague memory of Marvel deciding to run reader letters sans editorial comment...and that this policy lasted for several months. Can anyone confirm my memory as accurate?"

    I can confirm that your memory is accurate as to Marvel deciding to run letters of comment without any editorial responses. I remember that distinctly. (Especially a letter shortly after Marvel began that policy which said something to the effect: What a coincidence! You've stopped answering our letters and I've stopped buying your comics.)

    My recollection is that this happened in 1968, which lines up well with the date of the Rawhide Kid issue in today's Bloggy Thing.

    As I recall, the reason Marvel gave for the change was that less space devoted to editorial response would allow them to print more fan letters. Marvel may have thought that would please readers (more chance of getting letter printed) and make readers more likely to buy Marvel comics. Didn't work that way, so Marvel dropped the policy soon afterwards.

  2. Tony,
    Re: " “Dixie-–or Die!!” (8 pages) by L.A. Fite"

    That's Linda Fite, and I believe this is her very first credit.

    I subscribe completely to your puzzlement about the glorification of the Confederacy. I've been amazed at the phenomenon from back when Hollywood praised "Birth of a Nation" and books like "Gone With the Wind" were popular. Perhaps some day someone will explain it?