Monday, July 15, 2013


“Zane Grey's RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE, No. 372." is what you will
find in the indicia of this Dell comic which hit the newsstands in
my December 1951 birth month.  However, most comics collectors and
historians would refer to it as Four Color #372 [February-April,
1952].  It’s just one of hundreds of one-shots released under that
umbrella designation.  The cover painting is by Sam Savitt.

“Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage” runs 32 pages and is drawn
by Bob Jenney.  The Grand Comics Database says that the comic book
is “Adapted from the 1912 novel "Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane
Grey. The adaptation is fairly faithful to the original, but all
references to Mormons and religious conflict have been removed.”

Can you imagine what Faux News would make of something like that in
today’s contentious society?

The GCD also offers this synopsis:

“Widow Jane Withersteen is being harassed by an unwanted suitor.
She is protected when the gunfighter Lassiter shows up. Bern
Venters, one of Withersteen's men, tracks a rustled herd into a
canyon and shoots a masked rider, who turns out to be a young
woman. Beset by guilt for shooting a woman, Venters takes the
wounded woman, Bess, to a remote valley to recuperate. Eventually
Venters returns to the ranch, only to find that Withersteen's
enemies are planning an attack. Withersteen, Venters, and Lassiter
escape, but the gang follows them. Venters and Bess lead the gang
on a false trail, but the gang eventually tracks Lassiter and
Withersteen into the valley and Lassiter has to make a last-ditch
stand against the gunmen.”

The inside front and back covers and the back cover have editorial
material on them.  The inside front cover has “Fast on the Draw”.
Drawn by Jenney, the GCD describes it as:

Facts about "quick-draw holsters" and a description of the action
of "fanning the Colt."

On the inside back cover is a single illustration (artist unknown)
and the lyrics to the traditional cowboy song "The Old Chisholm
Trail."  The back cover has a larger version of the illustration.
For one thin dime, the readers of 1951 received 36 pages of comics
and related material.

That’s a pretty good deal, I says.


It was in January of 2012 I started writing about the comic books
released during my birth month.  Here’s what I wrote in the first
installment of that ongoing bloggy thing feature:

Mike’s Amazing World of Comics is one of the coolest comics sites
online and one of its coolest features is a search engine that lets
you see comic-book covers from any given month.  I recently checked
out the comics published in the month of my birth: December, 1951.
I could’ve gone with comics cover-dated the month of my birth, but
went this way instead.

The covers can be displayed in alphabetical order or by publication
date.  I went with the former.

After those simple steps, there were 153 comic-book covers shown.
From time to time, I’ll post one of the covers and share whatever
information I have on it.  I’m not sure if anyone other than myself
will be interested in this, but it is my name in the title of the
blog.  Yes, I’m pulling rank on you.

As it turned out, many of you enjoyed seeing those vintage comics
covers and reading whatever information and commentary I could add
to those covers.  It was a win-win, but that particular series has
reached its conclusion.

Starting in early August, I’ll be presenting comic-book covers from
another key month in the life of Tony Isabella.  It’s the month in
1963 when I bought and read Fantastic Four Annual #1, the greatest
comic book ever published.  It was that comic that made me want to
make comic books when I grew up.

You might recall that I’ve already written about some of the comic
books from that month.  I’ll be writing about them again, but, in
most cases, with additional information and commentary.  I’ve even
managed to score some comic books from the month that I’d not read
previous to my recent acquisitions of them.  If you got a kick out
of my writing about the comics of my birth month, I think you will
enjoy this new series just as much.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my last bloggy thing before I head off
to San Diego and Comic-Con International.  When I return, I should
have all sorts of great convention stories for.

See you tomorrow.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

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