Wednesday, July 5, 2017


RESOLVED: The Rawhide Kid is my favorite western comics character and one of my favorite comics characters period.  This is why I’ve written over a hundred columns about him. Something about his short stature, but large courage, honor and fighting skills 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 decide to reacquire every Rawhide Kid comic, reread them and write about them. We’ve reached the title’s extended twilight.  We’ve seen the last new Rawhide Kid story that will appear in the now-bimonthly reprint series. This is the 115th installment of my “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” columns.

The Rawhide Kid #128 [September 1975] has a spiffy cover penciled and inked by Gil Kane. A master of western action, Kane excelled at these covers. From the few times I worked with him on them, I can tell you they came easy to him.

This issue reprints the 17-page “Fall of a Hero” from Rawhide Kid #56 [February 1967]. The story was written and drawn by the great Larry Lieber and inked by Vince Colletta. The Rawhide Kid figure on the original cover was penciled by Lieber and inked by Sol Brodsky.  The vignettes surrounding that figure come from the interior art. I wrote about this story in May 2013 and you can read my comments on it here.

There are a dozen comics-related “classified” ads in the issue, but only two are notable. Collectors Showcase of Hollywood, California sold “Original Comic Art” featuring “100s of full color paintings and drawings by famous artists.” The 72-page catalogue costs $4.95. Did any of my bloggy readers ever order from them? I’d love to find out what art they had and what happened to the company.

The more notable of the two ads was Marvel superstar artist John Buscema announcing he was accepting a limited number of students for his course in comic book art with the workshop located in New York City. I know this has been written about and, if any of those articles are online, I would love to share links to them with the readers of this blog.

With a mere 17 pages of actual story in its comics and a dwindling number of paying advertisers, Marvel started running a whole lot of house ads in its comics. This issue had a full-page ad for Marvel Treasury Editions across from another full-page ad for “The Hulk on the Rampage” Treasury Edition.

The Marvel Comic Con was held earlier that year. Working with the late Phil Seuling, the company put on its on comics convention. I remember Stan Lee being taken aback when some artists and writers wanted to be compensated for their appearances at the event. Stan  didn’t see the convention as any different from the fan conventions we attended.

Stan had a point. The fan-ran conventions were profitable or, at least, intended to be profitable. How was that different from the Marvel-run convention?

While I can’t remember how much we were paid for our participation in the Marvel Comic Con, we did get paid for it. I never knew how much Marvel made from the event or even if it made a profit at all. But there was convention swag to be had and a full-page ad to let true believers know about it.

The program book cost $2.25 (including postage). The event poster also cost $2.25. A button was seventy-five cents. Bumper stickers were two for a buck and a quarter. A convention tee-shirt cost $3 for boys sizes and $4.45 for man sizes. You could order all of the above for $7.74 and get a free Marvel Con shopping bag and events list in the deal.

The Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page was almost all plugs. “Stan Lee’s Soapbox” plugged the Marvel-Ous Wizard of Oz treasury edition, the sequel to Origins of Marvel Comics, and the forthcoming Nostalgia Illustrated Magazine.

The rest of the Bullpen page plugged forgettable and mostly short-lived new features and titles with the notable exceptions being the Invaders and the X-Men. The former got close to fifty issues before it was cancelled, the latter has published hundreds and maybe even thousands of issues in various incarnations.

There were also items about writers and artists switching over to new assignments. Roy Thomas was writing Thor. Len Wein was taking over Spider-Man and Marvel Team-Up. Marv Wolfman was the new writer on Daredevil, replacing yours truly. Doug Moench was writing Ka-Zar and George Tuska was returning to Iron Man. Inker Mike Esposito was reuniting with long-time friend and partner Ross Andru on the main Spider-Man title.

Amazing Spider-Man #149 would be revealing the startling secret of the Jackal. Spoiler alert. The Jackal was a crazy college professor with a crush on the dead Gwen Stacy. The startling part is that the character would come back time and time again and that the clones he created would change the Marvel Universe forever.

The final news item was the launching of the new, black-and-white Marvel Movie Premiere. The first issue would feature The Land That Time Forgot as adapted by Marv Wolfman and Steve Gan.

The final item was the sad news that ace letterer Artie Simek had passed away on February 20, 1975. He was one of the best letterers in comics and someone I had worked with from time to time. He was not the first comics pro I’d worked with to pass, but that didn’t make it any easier. It hasn’t gotten any easier since.

The last editorial page in the issue had two half-page house ads. The first was for the FOOM fan club, which would cost a fan $2.50 to join. The second was for the upcoming Doctor Strange Treasury. It ran on the last interior page of the issue.

That’s all for today and for the next several days. I’m leaving in the wee hours of Thursday morning to fly to...well, that would be telling. But it’s a pretty exciting trip and I’ll tell you as much about it as I can when the bloggy thing resumes on Monday or maybe Tuesday of next week. See you then.

© 2017 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. I trust you had a good time with Mark Evanier (who spilled the beans in his own blog)