Wednesday, July 19, 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 117th installment of my “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” columns.  

The Rawhide Kid #130 [November 1975] has a cover penciled and maybe even inked by Larry Lieber with alterations by John Romita. It’s a reprint of the cover of The Rawhide Kid #58 [June 1967]. As you can see, Romita did considerable work on the figure of the Kid, on the orange-clad bad hombre on the balcony and on several other figures. I’ve included the cover to issue #58 here so that you can compare the two covers.

“When a Gunfighter Faces...the Enforcers” [17 pages] was written by  Gary Friedrich, penciled by Lieber and inked by Vince Colletta. I  wrote about this issue in June of 2013 and you can read my comments on the story here.

As with the previous few issues, the story was reprinted in order. It was the standard length tale for Marvel comic books of that era and that meant no pages had to be cut to make it fit. In the place of what would’ve been a letters page in Marvel comics featuring new  material, we got “A Marvel Masterworks Pin-Up” of the Rawhide Kid being punched by an Apache warrior. It was taken from the cover of issue #74 [February 1970] and had previously been used as a pin-up in issue #126 [May 1975].

There are a dozen “classified” ads from mail-order comics dealers with none of them particularly noteworthy. There are three pages of Marvel house ads, a Bullpen Bulletins page and a comic-book style ad for Hostess Fruit Pies that stars the Hulk.

The first Marvel house ad is the full-page “Poster Pandemonium” ad we’ve seen before. Including 25 cents for postage and handling, you could get any of the six posters - Spider-Man, Conan, Dracula, the Hulk, Captain America or Deadly Hands of Kung Fu - for a buck and a quarter and any three for two bucks and a quarter. Residents of New York and New Jersey also had to add 8% for sales tax.

The second Marvel house ad was a full-page announcing and offering MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz. Written and edited by Roy Thomas with art by John Buscema, Tony DeZuniga and the Tribe, the 10 by 14-inch treasury edition was a joint venture by Marvel and DC.

Legend has it that DC publisher Carmine Infantino out-foxed Marvel by claiming DC was working on an adaptation of the L. Frank Baum novel on which the movie was based when, in fact, DC hadn’t begun such a project. DC agreed to shelve its project and share costs and profits on the Marvel version. I don’t know if I believe “legend” in this case, but I don’t entirely disbelieve it either.

“Stan Lee’s Soapbox” led off this issue’s Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page. Our fearless leader announced Marv Wolfman would be the new editor-in-chief of the color comics with Len Wein writing several titles and serving as consulting editor. Archie Goodwin would take over as editor of the black-and-white magazines. Additionally, Stan plugged the Marvel-designed Slurpee cups (60 in all) that would be available at 7-Eleven stores in the summer...and a visit from Terry Gilliam of Monty Python’s Flying Circus...and a surprise that was being cooked up by Angela Bowie and husband David...and the coming of Marvel’s Celebrity, a publication not unlike the smash hit that was People Magazine. As I recall, the Bowie surprise had something to do with Angela wanted to star in a Black Widow movie.

Sidebar. I would move back to Cleveland for several months before returning to New York to take a staff job with DC Comics. My idea was that leaving New York would ease my problems with Marv and Len who seemed to think of me as a rival instead of an asset. Anyway, during that summer, Barb and I would go to 7-11 often and collect those Marvel cups. I don’t think we got all 60, but we got a lot of them. One of these days, they might turn up in my Vast Accumulation of Stuff. End of sidebar.

The lead news item reported that Marvel’s softball team got beaten by teams from Sports Illustrated and Time, but defeated John Wiley and Sons by a score of 18-7.

The next item plugged the Marvel Special Edition treasury editions which would reprint stories of Marvel super-heroes titles...and the Queen-Size Millie the Model special, which I’m pretty sure was not a treasury edition.

Several quick notes comprised the third, final and long item. They were:

Marvel staffers crowding around production chief John Verpoorten’s office to get a look at Jack Kirby’s new Captain America pages.

Letterer Irv Watanabe returning to the comics business.

Don McGregor appeared on WHBI-FM’s “The Big Sim Power Hour” to talk about comics in general and “Night Figure,” his own upcoming weekly radio drama series.

Jim Mooney and wife Anne announced the arrival of their “bouncing baby girl” Nolle.

Steve Gerber was said to be in hiding after he finished editing the special “Paranoia” issue of Crazy Magazine.

Len Wein would be writing Iron Man and Thor in addition to Spider-Man and Hulk.

Herb Trimpe was moving from Hulk to Iron Man.

The new editors of the seven-title British weeklies line were Duffy Vohland and Michele Brand.

Bonnie Smith was taking over the managing of the Marvel’s fan mail from Michelle Wolfman who was pursuing a career as Marvel’s newest colorist.

An item about some fellow named Tony Isabella combined three items into one with a small degree of accuracy. I didn’t break my leg in the softball game with Wiley and Sons. I broke my ankle. I didn’t return to a staff position. At the request of Stan Lee, Sol Brodsky and John Verpoorten, I took an office at Marvel so I would be near at hand for emergency copy writing and other projects. However, I did get engaged to future wife Barb Kepke, even if that very first engagement didn’t take. About a decade later, we did get married. Best day of my life.

This Bullpen page ended with shout-outs to Irene Vartanoff, Scott Edelman and Roger Slifer who were said to have threatened to attack if they weren’t mentioned. Though I never saw this with my limited connection to the Bullpen staff, I have since been told that said staff became quite territorial in demanding freelance assignments go to their own favorites and fellows. I’m not sure I believe this, but, as I didn’t have much contact with the staff outside of Stan, Sol and John, I wouldn’t have noticed this.

Next to the Bullpen page was “The Incredible Hulk and the Twins of Evil,” a Hostess Fruit Pies ad by artist John Romita and an unknown (for now) writer, though said writer was likely one of the Marvel editors or staffers. In the one-page ad, the Hulk gets a beat down at the hands of the Abomination and the Wendigo. Two hikers revive the Hulk with delicious Hostess Fruit Pies. The Hulk then punches out trees on his way to settle the score with his foes. Beware of fruit pie rage, my friends.

The afore-mentioned Rawhide Kid pin-up appeared on the second last interior page of the issue. That was followed by the half-page FOOM ad we’ve seen and a half-page ad for Marvel sweat and tee shirts. The Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man and Hulk tee shirts came in man sizes for $4.45 each (included postage and handling) and boy sizes for $3 each. Sorry, girls, no tee shirts for you. The Captain America and Spider-Man sweat shirts were $5 each.

“Rawhide Kid Wednesday” will be back next Wednesday. For tomorrow, I’ll have something else for you.

© 2017 Tony Isabella


  1. Hi Tony,

    If you compare the reprint to the original you'll notice background art was added to many pages. An unusual occurrence: somebody (Len? Irene?) was obviously bothered by what they felt was missing details in the art.

    1. I'll keep an eye out for that as this series continues. Thanks.