Wednesday, June 7, 2017


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, honor and fighting skills - Johnny Clay speaks to me.  After rereading the Kid’s earliest adventures when Marvel 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. We’re currently in the extended twilight of the title. We’ve seen the last new Rawhide Kid story that will appear in the title, which is now a bimonthly reprint. This is the 112th installment in my “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” series.

We’re looking at The Rawhide Kid #124 [January 1975], but the cover you see at the top of today’s bloggy thing is the Joe Maneely-drawn cover of Rawhide Kid #14 [May 1957]. What you need to know here is that Johnny Bart aka Johnny Clay was not the original Rawhide Kid. The original Rawhide Kid was blonde, older and carried a whip. I’ve a vague memory that he was also a rancher, but that could just be my aging brain playing tricks on me.

The original appeared in Rawhide Kid #1-16 [March 1955-September 1957]. The title was changed to The Rawhide Kid when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created a new western hero with the same name. That was in The Rawhide Kid #17 [August 1960].

Years later, for The Rawhide Kid #42 [October 1964], the Maneely cover was reprinted with the face of the main character redrawn so it looked like Johnny Bart. The character’s hat was moved from his front to his back as well. The GCD opines the redrawing was done by Kirby and I can see why someone would think that. I’m not so sure. However, for me, the bigger mystery is why this Maneely cover was pressed into service for this issue.

Publisher Martin Goodman and editor-in-chief/art director Stan Lee knew the importance of a comic book’s cover. Did a new cover fail to win their approval? Was it a deadline issue? Was a reprint used to save a few bucks? Was it some combination of all three? We may never know for certain.

Time passes. Issue #42's “Gunfight with Yerby's Yahoos!” (18 pages) is being reprinted in issue #124. The Maneely cover has once again been altered. This time, one of the gunmen shooting at the hero has been redrawn, most likely by John Romita. This newer version of the  owlhoot is larger, sharper and has more personality. Combined with the restored white background of the earliest version of the cover, it makes for a much more striking image. If the GCD identification of Kirby as the artist who redrew the Kid’s face is accurate, this cover was a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between three of the company’s finest artists: Maneely, Kirby and Romita.

“Gunfight with Yerby’s Yahoos!” was reprinted without any cuts. The story was plotted by Stan Lee and scripted, pencilled and inked by Larry Lieber. I wrote about this story on October 31, 2012, and you can read my remarks here.

The “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” page and house ads in this issue are the same as those in Giant-Size Kid Colt #1 [January 1975], which I wrote about in a special three-part “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” last month. In addition, this issue reprints a Rawhide pin-up by Kirby (pencils) and Paul Reinman (inks) that first appeared in issue #43 [December 1964]. This pin-up would also be reprinted in issue #137 [January 1977] and #138 [March 1977].


The Rawhide Kid #125 [March 1974] reprinted the multi-paneled Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers from issue #35 [August 1963] as well as two of the three stories from that issue. “The Raven Strikes!” (13 pages) was written by Stan Lee with art by Jack Davis while “The Sheriff's Star” (5 pages), a non-series story was by Lee with Gene Colan on the art. I wrote about the cover and these tales in October, 2012, and you can read those comments here.

Comics dealers continued to advertise in the cluttered ad pages of this and other Marvel titles. This time around, those advertisers included: Passaic Book Center, Serra Comics, Comic Sales Company, David Belmont, Grand Book Inc, Richard Alf, Robert Bell, Howard M. Rogofsky, Ken Mieno, Seeley, Ken Pierce and R.M. Crestohl. If any of my readers were customers of these sellers, or if any of these sellers are around, I’d love to hear from you.

The most notable of the “classified” ads was from a young man name  of Alan L. Light. He was advertising The Comicollector’s Guide, “a newspaper just for comic book collectors.” A year’s subscription of 23 twice-a-month issues was just three dollars.

Launched in 1971, the paper was actually called The Buyer's Guide to Comics Fandom. When Krause Publications purchased the newspaper in 1983, they changed it to Comics Buyer's Guide and hired Don and Maggie Thompson to edit it. Switching from a weekly newspaper to a magazine in 2004, CBG would run until March 2013. For most of its forty-plus years, it was considered the newspaper of the comics industry. It was a great publication.

Unusually, Marvel had a half-page ad in this “classified” section. It proclaimed “Be a Mighty Marvel Salesperson! Or Maybe Just a Thrifty True Believer!” You could buy 12 comic books for the price of 8 for only two dollars. If you order ten bucks worth of comics, you got a poster drawn by John Buscema and featuring the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk.

There were two groups available. Group 1:

Kid Colt
Capt. America
Frankenstein/Dr. Strange
Marvel Super-Heroes/War is Hell
Marvel Spectacular/Marvel Tales
Marvel’s Greatest Comics/Weird Wonder Tales
Marvel Triple Action/Monsters on the Prowl
Where Monsters Dwell/Two-Gun Kid

Group 2:

Marvel Team-Up
Werewolf by Night
Fantastic Four
Master of Kung Fu
Jungle Action/Powerman
Marvel Two-In-One/Ghost Rider
Kazar/Astonishing Tales

The absence of The Rawhide Kid from either group makes me wonder if the title was being considered for cancellation. As with the comics dealers, I would love to hear from any of my readers who signed up to be a salesperson or thrifty true believer.

In the issue, Marvel also had a full-page ad pushing “Marvel Poster  Masterpieces” and “Mighty Marvel Belt Buckles.”

There were six 24" by 36" posters priced at two bucks each. If you bought five of the posters, you got the sixth one free. Here’s the line-up:

Spider-Man (probably by Steve Ditko)
The Incredible Hulk (Herb Trimpe)
Captain America (maybe Kirby and Romita)

The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 (Bruce Lee by Neal Adams)
Dracula Lives #3 (Neal Adams)
The Savage Sword of Conan #1 (Neal Adams)

The obvious question is...did the artists get compensated for the additional use of their work? My friend and sometimes mentor Neal was pretty consistent with sticking up for creator rights. I’ll ask him about this the next time I see him.

There were three belt buckles priced at $4.95 and you could order leather belts for $4 each. The belt buckles featured your choice of Spider-Man, Thor and the Hulk, though the Hulk image shown includes Sub-Mariner and Doc Strange, making it more of a Defenders buckle.

The “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” page led off with Stan Lee using his “Stan Lee’s Soapbox” to extend holiday greetings to all...slipping in plugs for Spidey Super Stories, the new Marvel Calendar and the Origins of Marvel Comics book from Simon & Shuster.

Stan also wrote the first item of the page, announcing Len Wein as the new Executive Editor of Marvel’s color comics, Marv Wolfman as Executive Editor of Marvel’s black-and-white magazines, managing editors Chris Claremont and Don McGregor and Roy Thomas becoming Editor Emeritus to devote himself full-time to writing and editing his own projects.

Len’s first item announced that Scott Edelman was moving from the British weeklies to become an assistant editor on the color comics and Dave Kraft was assuming the title of Articles Editor for the black-and-white magazines. There was a lot of talent in the Bullpen in those days.

Len’s second item was all about Bullpen folks moving from here to there in the New York City areas. The further exceptions were Rich Buckler, said to be moving back to his native Detroit (though Rich was again living in NYC by 1976) and Dan Adkins moving from Ohio to Arizona.

Len’s third and final item was about those damnable Marvel Value Stamps, best known for decreasing the value of thousands of comic books. If I were writing a book of Marvel’s biggest mistakes, those stamps were surely make the top ten.

At the bottom of the bulletins page, there was an ad for The Mighty Marvel Comicon. Run by Phil Seuling, it was scheduled for March 21-24. No location was given.

The last editorial page in the issue was a full-page advertisement for the Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag treasury edition. It was “a riotous 100 pages of full-color features” with “no ads” and said to feature “14 of Marvel’s Most Magnificent Super-Stars drawn by eight of Marvel’s most talented titans.” Naturally, the company was doing this “all for you!”

Kidding aside, this was pretty sweet reprint collection. Here’s a list of the stories:

Spider-Man and the Human Torch in “Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas!” by Roy Thomas and Ross Andru. This tale is considered to be the first Misty Knight appearance by fucking idiots. It’s not and it’s an insult to Arvell Jones and myself to claim it is. That claim is likewise insulting to Misty herself and, for good measure, arguably racist. Just because two black women had Afros, they must be the same person? The story itself is terrific. The bogus claim? Not remotely terrific or acceptable.

Daredevil “In Mortal Combat With... Sub-Mariner!” by Stan Lee and Wally Wood. The best of the early Daredevil issues.

Black Widow in “...And To All a Good Night” by Thomas, Gene Colan and Bill Everett. The best of the Widow shorts.

The Fantastic Four in “The Hulk Vs. The Thing” & “The Avengers Take Over” by Lee and Jack Kirby. Still the very best of the Thing/Hulk battles.

Whoever picked these reprints did a great job. These stories remain among Marvel’s best.

That’s all for today, my friends. “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” will be back next week. Coming up tomorrow with be more movie reviews and, on Friday, the second installment of our new Free Comic Book Friday feature. See you then! 

© 2017 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. I never bought comics from any of those mail-order dealers, but I did notice something interesting about Howard Rogofsky. His ads in Marvel comics said "Howard M. Rogofsky". In DC comics, his ad said "Howard D. Rogofsky". In the Overstreet Guide, it said "Howard G. Rogofsky". That way he could tell where you saw his ad.