Wednesday, April 3, 2013
RAWHIDE WEDNESDAY 38
The Rawhide Kid - the one created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, then
continued by Larry Lieber - is my favorite western character. So,
inspired by Essential Rawhide Kid Volume 1, which reprinted all the
Lee/Kirby issues and then some, I’ve been writing about the Rawhide
Kid most every Wednesday. When I ran out of the issues reprinted
in the book, I tracked down some owlhoots, brought them in and used
the reward money to buy more issues of the title. Because that’s
what the Kid would have done.
The Rawhide Kid #53 [August 1966] has one of my favorite covers of
the title. Penciled by Larry Lieber, the figure of a just-wounded
Kid being shot as he escapes from bounty hunters is dramatic as all
get out. You can see the pain on Johnny Clay’s face. The cover’s
inker has not yet been definitively identified, but I see something
of George Tuska’s style in Rawhide’s face. As always, I invite the
art detectives among you to weigh in on this.
“Guns of the Wild North!” (17 pages) is written and drawn by Lieber
with inks by Carl Hubbell. It opens with our exhausted young hero
trying to escape from his pursues. When he and his horse Nightwind
cross a river border into Canada, one of the bounty hunters fires
and hits the Kid, knocking Johnny into the river.
The hunters ride away. They believe they have killed their quarry
and sent him to the bottom of the river where they won’t be able to
recover his body. They are more bereft about the reward money they
have lost than the life they think has ended. But, even wounded,
the Rawhide Kid has outsmarted them. He’s been hanging on to his
horse’s stirrup while underwater and safely reaches the other side
of the river.
Cut to Joe Clanton, who will soon to be known as the Acrobat. He’s
a lumberjack and he’s not okay. When his rope breaks while he’s
high up in a tree, Clanton uses his incredible acrobatic ability to
reach the ground without injury. He then quits his job for his new
career as a masked outlaw.
Feeling much better, the Rawhide Kid rides to the camping site and
asks for a hand. Though the men are suspicious of this stranger -
“That jasper comin’ down the hill wears his hardware likes he knows
how to use it.” - the foreman hires him to make up for the loss of
For his debut heist, the Acrobat plans to rob the camp’s payroll.
The ever-wary Rawhide Kid hears something and confronts the crook.
What follows is a three-page battle that includes some logrolling
action. The Acrobat escapes. Johnny gets dunked.
The lumberjacks blame Rawhide for the theft, even though he doesn’t
have the payroll. His guns wet and useless, the Kid is tied up and
delivered to Sergeant Jonah of the Mounties. Riding to the nearest
town, Johnny escapes. He realizes he can only clear his name if he
brings in the Acrobat.
The Acrobat commits a string of robberies. A disguised Rawhide Kid
poses as a traveler with a valuable jewel and checks into a hotel.
He figures - rightly - the Acrobat won’t be able to resist such an
easy score. The plan works, but the Acrobat makes his way out the
window just as Sergeant Jonah shows up. Exposed, the Acrobat draws
on Johnny. Do I have to tell you how that works out?
The Acrobat confesses. The sergeant tells the Kid he’s a free man
and asks if Johnny will be returning to the lumber camp.
I’ve learned that no matter where he goes, no man with a past like
mine is ever truly free! So, as long as I’m destined for a troubled
trail anyway, I’m returning to my own land.
Maybe, somehow...someway...back there I’ll find a new day...and a
“Guns of the Wild North” doesn’t have the great characterization of
supporting players we’ve seen in most Lieber scripts for Rawhide.
But it’s an action-packed adventure with one of the few costumed
villains Lieber created and used in his years on the series.
It also has the Rawhide Kid’s trademarked lack of logic. Why not
stay in Canada? It’s a big country with good beer and, if he lives
long enough, free health care. But what do I know?
The Rawhide Kid story is followed by the Marvel Bullpen Bulletins.
In this month’s news...Peter Asher of the Peter and Gordon singing
duo visited the Marvel offices...inker ”Frankie Ray” is revealed to
be Frank Giacoia...John Romita is doing a great job on the Amazing
Spider-Man...and six Marvel annuals are announced for the summer.
They are Millie the Model, Sgt. Fury, Thor, Marvel Super-Heroes,
Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.
Continuing the news...Marvel gives a shout-out to newspapers and
radio personalities who have been spreading the word about Marvel.
Roy Thomas quotes William Butler Years’ “To a Poet Who Would Have
Me Praise Certain Bad Poets, Imitators of His and Mind” to explain
why Marvel’s taking a hard line on its imitators. And, in a testy
exchange, Marvel responds to a reader who complains the company’s
high standard of artwork is going down the drain.
The Mighty Marvel Checklist plugs the origin of the Black Panther
in Fantastic Four, the revelation of the Green Goblin’s identity in
Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner having at it in Tales
of Suspense and Tales to Astonish and, in the annual-size Fantasy
Masterpieces, Captain America reprints from Marvel’s Golden Age of
Comics. Like the 26 MMMS (Mighty Marvel Marching Society) members
whose names are listed on this page, the young Tony Isabella found
it easy to say...Make Mine Marvel!
This issue’s non-series story is “The Schoolma'arm Was a Gent!!!”
(five pages) by Stan Lee and Sol Brodsky. Reprinted from Kid Colt
Outlaw #111 [July 1963], the story opens with the aptly-named town
of Roughshod getting a new schoolteacher. Self-appointed Sheriff
Shaggy Shelton gives the well-dressed scholar a crude and muddy
welcome. At the school, the pretty Miss McGuire explains that no
one in the town has the courage to face Shaggy.
The next day, no students show up at the school because the Sheriff
doesn’t like men teachers. A few minutes later, outside of town,
the teacher changes into an outfit not unlike that of the Ringo Kid
and straps on his guns. He pays a visit to Shaggy and mops up the
phony lawman and his gang in just under two pages. You see, this
teacher forgot to mention one little thing:
I’m not only a school teacher! The governor sent me here because he
heard you needed a sheriff, too! A real one, that is!
The school was back in session that very day. All the pupils are
in their seats and one extra pupil - Shaggy - is also seated. He
tells the sheriff/teacher: Teacher, whatever you’re teachin’, I’m
fixin’ to learn it! Then mebbe some day I can get to be a real
The sheriff/teacher offers encouragement and says he thinks things
will be mighty pleasant around Roughshod from now on. The lovely
Miss McGuire thinks the same as she makes goo-goo eyes at the new
Next up is a full-page Marvel Merchandise advertisement. You can
buy a two-sided Thing or Hulk sweatshirt for only $3.15 plus a mere
quarter for postage and handling. The six-foot Spider-Man poster
is still a buck plus a quarter. The super-hero stationery kit is
also a dollar or two for $1.60 plus a quarter. Finally, a Spider-
Man t-shirt is only $1.60 plus a quarter. I had them all and just
found the small notepad that came with the stationery kit. I was,
indeed, the coolest Marvel kid on my block.
Last up is the “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” letters page. There
is much praise for Rawhide Kid #51. One reader requests reprints
of the western heroes be added to Marvel Collectors Item Classics
while another wants origin stories for their horses. While I don’t
recall Marvel running any horse origin stories, I do remember such
tales appearing at DC and other comics companies.
That’s all for now, my amigos. Happy trails to you until our next
exciting edition of “Rawhide Kid Wednesday.” I’ll be back tomorrow
with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella