Wednesday, March 21, 2018


This is it! The Last Gunfight!

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 138h installment of my “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” columns.

The Rawhide Kid #151 [May 1979] has a new cover by Dave Cockrum and inker Bob Wiacek. The issue reprints “The Manhunters” from Rawhide Kid #99. The cover to that May 1972 issue was by Larry Lieber with George Roussos on the inks. Lieber wrote and draw the 14-page take and Roussos inked it.

For this printing, Marvel cut a panel from the story’s fourth page to make room for the annual Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation. Here’s the original page:

And here’s the reprinted page:

I wrote about “The Manhunters” on August 31, 2016. You can read my comments on it here.

The total paid circulation for the previous year was a mere 98,978 per issue with the issue nearest to the filing date coming in at a lower 96,378. According to the current year’s statement...

...the total paid circulation per issue had dropped to 89,414 with the issue nearest to the filing date dropping to 83,582. If a comic did the lower of those numbers today, it would have been the fifth best-selling direct market comic book. However, back in 1979, those numbers were a ticket to cancellation.

This issue’s paid advertisements were so-so. There were full-page ads for the Sales Leadership Club, the Fun Factory’s novelty items, Fruit Stripe Gum, Aurora’s AFX racing cars, lessons on customizing cars, 100 toy soldiers for $1.75, and the Olympic Sales Club. There were also half-page ads for drafting careers, Grit newspaper sales people, a “deluxe quality movie viewer” for $29.95 and training on becoming a police officer.

There’s the usual two-and-a-half pages of classified ads. They had 23 ads from comics sellers, down five from last issue. There was also the now-standard ad selling 3 mil comics storage bags at three bucks per hundred.

This issue’s full-page Heroes World ad was for Marvel posters. The posters were $3.25 each, including postage and handling. Ordering quantities would get you better individual prices. For example, six posters would cost $12 plus a buck for postage and handling.

A full-page ad offered a year’s subscription to Shogun Warriors and The Micronauts for nine bucks combined. If you ordered the titles, you got a free Battlestar Galactica super special.

The Fantastic Four cartoon, the one that replaced the Human Torch with a robot name of Herbie, was the subject of a half-page ad. The stories were by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas, The designers were by Jack Kirby.

This issue’s Outlaw Kid reprint is from Outlaw Kid #13 (September 1956). The cover is by Joe Maneely. This is the fourth appearance of “Bully’s Bluff” (4 pages), which also ran in Outlaw Kid #7 [August 1971] and #25 [December 1974]. The story was drawn by Doug Wildey.

This story is the by-now-incredibly-familiar morality play wherein the Kid mixes it up with some bullies. Said bullies try to ambush him, but are attacked by a cougar. The Kid rescues their asses and the bullies vow to change their ways. As I’ve said before, someone - and it may have to be me - should take this concept of a hero who seemingly specializes in reforming bullies and use it for a modern-day super-hero.

The “Bullpen Bulletins” page starts with Stan Lee using his “Stan’s Soapbox” column to encourage Marvel fans to write to the networks airing Marvel live-action and animated shows to tell those networks how much they enjoyed those shows. He also plugged his forthcoming appearance at Miamicon 2.

The rest of the page has a drawn-out item on an editorial meeting on Spider-Woman, an item plugging current issues of Daredevil, Thor and Micronauts and the revelation that Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter is the author of everything on the page not written by Stan Lee. That explains my disinterest in this era’s Bullpen Bulletins. I wasn’t a fan of Shooter’s Marvel writing or his management of the company. Somehow, I must have sensed his presence on these pages.

Iron Man was the star of this issue’s single-page Hostess thriller. “Brains over Brawn” has the hero defeating criminals breaking into Stark Industries with repulsor rays and Hostess Fruit Pies. Guess even bad guys get a big delight from every bite of these so-called treats. Maybe an occasional salad would have kept these guys from their misspent lives of crime.

The back cover is a full-page ad for Battlestar Galactica t-shirts, a steal at $4.99 each. A buck for postage and handling covered the buyers no matter how many shirts they ordered.

That was all she wrote for The Rawhide Kid series that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby rebooted almost two decades previously. No announcement of the cancellation is in the comic book itself, only that telling “The Last Gunfight!” title blurb on the cover.

With this bloggy thing, “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” rides off into the online sunset. But you’ve not seen the last of my writing about the Marvel westerns.

After I catch up on some other bloggy things I want to write, I’ll be launching either “Marvel Western Wednesday” or perhaps “Western Wednesday.” The former would feature a variety of Marvel westerns; the latter would expand that coverage to include westerns from the other comics publishers as well. Either way, I will include some of the Rawhide Kid appearances that happened outside of his own book or in the odd sequels to his own book.

Give me some time to burrow through my unsorted comics boxes and we’ll see what western comics I come across. For that matter, I’ll gladly accept donations of western comics, for which I will repay the sender with various Isabella swag.

My mailing address is:

Tony Isabella
840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

Thanks for riding this often dusty trail with me. I’ll be back on the morrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella


  1. My guess is that we should not expect coverage of Ron Zimmerman's 2003 & 2010 takes on Johnny Clay -- at least not until every other western comic is covered. And maybe not even then. As I recall, you very much disliked his over-the-top approach to making the Rawhide Kid an LGBTQ character.

    Andrew Laubacher

  2. Sorry to see you reach the end of this trail, pardner. Always enjoyed reading these recaps. (Tho I was more of a Kid Colt man, myself.) But at least I can look forward to the new western thread. I hope you do mix up the publishers. Lots of folk did westerns, after all.

  3. Thanks Tony, you give best view/overview/review 's over any other.

  4. It was years ago since I read about Zimmerman's Rawhide Kid, but if I wasn't misinformed, the worst wasn't that "his" R. Kid was gay, or the silly innuendo on the cover art, but that it was at least implied that his version was also a pedophile or pederast (attracted to underage boys). At least that was what I remember from the discussion over at the Joe Quesada message boards.

    I'm a bit bemused that the original Rawhide Kid run went as long with only re-prints, but then I remember that Agent X-9 in Sweden still re-publishes Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise, instead of replacing it with something else.

  5. I forgot to add that I too look forward to the new Western thread.