Wednesday, September 3, 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 61st installment of that series.

The Rawhide Kid #76 [May 1970] has another solo Larry Lieber cover. Inside the issue, “The Guns of the Bandoleros” is written and drawn by Lieber with inks by John Tartaglione. Regular Rawhide Wednesday readers know Tartaglione is one of my favorite inkers for Lieber. The Grand Comics Database says the story is 20 pages long, but it really isn’t. Pages 12 and 13 are half-pages on the centerfold with the bottom halves of those pages occupied by cheesy “Shop by Mail” and “Collect Coins” ads which made up the bulk of Marvel’s paid ads at the time.

Lieber’s story is straight-forward without any real surprises, but  it has a character-revealing moment for the Kid and a villain who is both gorgeous and ruthless. The tale opens with a knock on the door of Rawhide’s hotel room. It’s Captain Carlson of the Calvary with a request for our young hero:

For months, a bunch of bandoleros have been crossing the Rio Grande and raiding our small border towns! The bandits are led by a cunning and ruthless female called the Lynx! The bandoleros strike without warning and, by the time we get there, they’ve high-tailed it back across the border!

The Captain wants the Kid to lure the Lynx and her gang across the border and into a trap. The Kid asks why he should risk his neck. Carlson knows why:

I know your rep, Kid! You’re a wanted gunhawk! But you’re also a man who hates to see innocent folks get pushed around!

The Kid may have a reputation as an outlaw, but he’s also known as a hero. Rawhide agrees to the plan.

Lots of action follows. Rawhide crosses the border into Mexico and starts asking questions about the Lynx. That gets him attacked in a bar. With his fists, he mops up the floor with the half-dozen or so men who try to bring him down.
Jose, a member of the gang, held back from the brawl and offers to take Rawhide to the Lynx. Hesays if the gang sees them together, they will not harm the Kid. That’s mostly accurate.

Juan Madero, the Lynx’s lover, wants to fill Rawhide full of lead.The Lynx puts Juan in his place with a kiss and a slap across the face. Only she makes the decisions in this gang.

Maria, the Lynx, is intrigued by Rawhide. She partially buys into his story that things had gotten too hot for him across the border.He wants to run with a crew known for its slick operation. He has an offering: his fists, his guns and the location of a shipment of army gold worth a fortune.

The Lynx will let the Kid join her band...conditionally.  He must turn over his guns to her. Once they have the gold and know he can be trusted, he’ll get his guns back.

The Lynx is cautious and smart. He sends Juan ahead of her gang tomake certain they aren’t riding into a trap. Juan spots soldiers on the rooftops. He hides back to tell the Lynx of Rawhide’s betrayal.

The Kid moves fast. He knocks out a gang member and takes his gun. He holds off the gang from behind the cover of some boulders, butJuan sneaks up above and behind him.

Juan raises his gun to shoot Rawhide in the back, but dislodges a stone and alerts the Kid. Our young gunhawk whirls and shoots the gun out of Juan’s hand.

Juan tries to escape in the river, probably because Lieber draws water so well. Rawhide beats the carp out of him - an old joke for Comics Buyer’s Guide readers - and drags him to the shore.

With most of her men wounded, the Lynx concedes defeat and tries toseduce Rawhide...if only long enough to stab him with a concealed knife. The Kid doesn’t fall for that.

The Lynx is furious:

Shooting is too good for one who deceives the Lynx! I want you to feel more than death! I want you to know the pain of betrayal, too!

Rawhide isn’t impressed:

Is that pain any worse than the agony you’ve inflicted on helpless border towns?

Carlson and his troops arrive. When the bandoleros didn’t show, he figured the Kid might be in trouble. As the raiders are taken into custody, there’s time for one more Lynx/Rawhide exchange:

This is not the end for us! We will meet again...and I will have my revenge!

The Kid is still not impressed:

Don’t bet on it, honey! I’ve put tougher owlhoots than you out of business...and I’m still around to tell of it!

The Lynx was what makes this story great. She was as evil a villain as any the Kid faced. I was sure she’d be back within a matter of months, but she never appeared in another story.

“Guns of the Bandoleros” was reprinted in Rawhide Kid #127 [July, 1975], but with pages 12 and 13 combined into one page and another page cut from the page count. Cutting pages from stories was always the worst part of working on Marvel’s color reprints. I preferred working on multiple-story reprint titles because we didn’t have to do that for those comics.

One more note before I start in on the house ads, the paid ads and the letters page. As of the previous issue, The Rawhide Kid was now a monthly title. I was pretty happy about that.


The Mighty Marvel Checklist takes up half a page with the rest of the page being the now-familiar ad for the Marvelmania fan club. On sale right now: Fantastic Four #98, Spider-Man #84, Silver Surfer #15 (guest-starring the Human Torch), Avengers #75 (the return of Quicksilver), Thor #175, Captain America #125 (Vietnam), Daredevil #63 (Gladiator), Hulk #127, Iron Man #25 (guest-starring the Sub-Mariner), Sgt. Fury #77, Tower of Shadows #6 (Wally Wood), Marvel Super-Heroes #26 (reprints of Daredevil, the X-Men and the Hulk), Marvel Tales #26 (reprints of Spider-Man, Human Torch and Thor), Where Monsters Dwell #3, Rawhide Kid #76, Ringo Kid #3, Kid Colt Outlaw #145, Millie the Model #182, Chili #13, Mad About Millie #11, Peter the Little Pest #4, Homer the Happy Ghost #4, My Love #5, Chamber of Darkness #4 (Jack Kirby, Tom Sutton, Barry Smith), Marvel’s Greatest Comics #5 (reprints of Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Doc Strange), X-Men #66 (guest-starring the Hulk and the last new issue for a while) and Captain Savage #19. Whew!

There was also a full-page house ad for Ringo Kid #3 and Kid Colt Outlaw #145. Both issues featured reprints of stories from the late 1950s. By early 1970, I had dropped out of college and was working for a rare book seller. Which, since I was living at home, earned me enough money to keep me in comic books. I probably bought every comic on the checklist with the exception of the humor and romance titles.

Most of the comics-related classified ads were repeats of ads that appeared in the previous issue. The one new one was for a fanzine called The Comiccollector, published by G.B. Love. Each issue was said to run around 75 pages and contain articles, art and columns in addition to ads from fans around the country. A sample issue was$1. A four-issue subscription was only $2.50, a eight-issue sub was $4 and a twelve-issue sub was $6.



I suspect “garglin’ hamfat” isn’t actually a thing, but Marvel did kick off the page with the news the company had pretty much swept the fan-based 1969 Alley Awards. Best Comic Mag went to Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. Best War Comic: Sgt. Fury. Best Editor: Stan Lee. Best Writer: Stan Lee with Roy Thomas coming in second. Best Pencil Artist: Jim Steranko followed by Jack Kirby, who had won the 1968 award. Best Inker: Joe Sinnott with Wally Wood grabbing second place.

The above were actually the 1968 results, which would announced in 1969. DC wasn’t entirely shut out that year.  From Wikipedia, here are the complete results:

Comic Magazine Section

Best Adventure Title - Winner: Fantastic Four; 2nd place: The Amazing Spider-Man  (Marvel)

Best Fantasy/SF/Supernatural Title - Doctor Strange  (Marvel)

Best Western Title - Bat Lash  (DC)

Best War Title - Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos  (Marvel)

Best Humor Title - Not Brand Ecch  (Marvel)

Best Romance Title - Millie the Model  (Marvel)

Best Reprint Title - Marvel Super-Heroes  (Marvel)

Professional Work

Best Editor - Stan Lee

Best Writer - Winner: Stan Lee; 2nd place: Roy Thomas

Best Pencil Artist - Winner: Jim Steranko; 2nd place: Jack Kirby

Best Inking Artist - Winner: Joe Sinnott; 2nd place: Wally Wood

Best Cover - Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6, by Jim Steranko  (Marvel)

Best Full-Length Story - (tie) "Track of the Hook", by Bob Haney & Neal Adams, The Brave and the Bold #79  (DC); "Origin of the Silver Surfer", by Stan Lee & John Buscema, The Silver Surfer #1  (Marvel)

Best Feature Story - "Today Earth Died", by Jim Steranko, Strange Tales #168  (Marvel)

Best Regular Short Feature - "Tales of the Inhumans", by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, in The Mighty Thor (Marvel)

Hall of Fame - Fantastic Four, by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby; Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., by Jim Steranko  (Marvel)

Getting back to the Bullpen Bulletins...

It’s reported that Barry Smith has returned to the United States to work on a new top-secret project for Marvel. I’m guessing this was Conan the Barbarian.

It’s also reported that Marvel will be bringing out two new comics around May:

They’re sure to remind you of some of Marvel’s greatest experiments of the past, although they’ll be done in the latest, greatest dynamic styles of today, by none other than KIRBY, ROMITA, KANE and HECK!

I’m guessing this item refers to Amazing Adventures #1 starring the Inhumans by Jack Kirby and Black Widow by Gary Friedrich and John Buscema...and Astonishing Tales #1 featuring Ka-Zar by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and Dr. Doom by Roy Thomas and Wally Wood. Clearly, the creative line-ups changed between the writing of the above item and the actual publication of these titles.

“Stan’s Soapbox” discusses the back-breaking schedules Marvel must keep to produce its “merry masterworks” each month.  He promises to discuss the schedules for writers, artists and letterers in future soapboxes.

The next item touts Marvel’s “new policy of guest-star appearances”in its super-hero titles and, apparently, just the super-hero mags.So, if you were holding out for the big Sgt. Fury, Millie the Model and Peter the Little Pest crossover, you were doomed to be sorely disappointed.

The penultimate item corrects Stan Lee referring to the University of California at Santa Cruz as the University Of California at Vera Cruz. From the university’s drama department, Shel Feldner reports his use of Marvel comics as tryout material for the latest show he was directing.

The final item is a plug for the Marvelmania Fan Club, which needed all the help it could get. You can read more about this doomed fan club at Wikipedia.


Four lucky fans got their letters published in this issue’s “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” page. Vic Wise of the Bronx loved Rawhide Kid #74, but poked gentle fun at Marvel for the line “Is Crazy Wolf MAD?” Oops.

Sean Connerly of Ottawa didn’t like issue #72 because he found the “Mystery Valley” concept unbelievable. He thought Marvel westerns should be about real people in real situations. Because I think we can all believe in Rawhide’s ability to shoot the firing pins out of outlaw guns.

George Samways of North Surrey, British Columbia loves the series and requests guest-stars. He also asks that, if a series is coming to an end, that it feature an actual finale. Marvel responds that it doesn’t always know it advance that a series is ending.

Roger Schoolcraft of Rollansbee, West Virginia is another Rawhide Kid fan. He praises recent issues. He praises Kid Colt Outlaw #140. He asks for information on the Rawhide Kid’s brothers. The unidentified column writer directs him to Rawhide Kid #45.

“Rawhide Kid Wednesday” will appear most Wednesdays. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2014 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. "Cutting pages from stories was always the worst part of working on Marvel’s color reprints."

    Can you recall any basic strategy to how material was axed - was it always a single page or did you ever cut individual panels and resize the rest? Some of the Essential books seem to have used the 1970s reprints as their basis and Iron Man 2 displays odd pages where some panels seem to be remastered b&w material and others are rather poorer with the greyscale effect of being scanned from colour material.

    "Best Romance Title - Millie the Model (Marvel)"

    An odd choice - surely late 1960s Millie is more humour than anything else? Or were the categories broader than their names suggest?