Wednesday, August 7, 2013


If you’re new to the bloggy thing...

The Rawhide Kid - the one created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, then
continued by Larry Lieber - is my favorite western character.  Most
every Wednesday, I dive into my ever-growing collection of Rawhide
Kid to write about Johnny Clay and his adventures.  So, saddle up,
pardner, we got some hard riding to do if we want to catch up with
the greatest gunslinging hero of them all!


Larrupin’ Larry Lieber had been drawing a Spider-Man annual, but he
was back to pencil the cover of Rawhide Kid #62 [February 1968].
Bill Everett was the inker, Artie Simek was the letterer and Tony
Isabella, then in his junior year at St. Edward High School in
Lakewood, Ohio, was the avid reader.  My younger brothers Ernie and
Ray were no longer buying Sgt. Fury and the Marvel western titles,
so I had added those mags to my comics buying. It took all my
allowance, my income from part-time jobs and my extra income from
selling comic books to classmates, but I was managing to buy all of
Marvel’s releases, most of the DC’s and a smattering of titles from
other publishers.  I was hooked but good.

My pal Larry’s absence is keenly felt in the first of this issue’s
two Rawhide Kid stories. Writer Denny O’Neil’s “Gun Town” (9 pages)
is a mediocre effort in which the Kid is but a shadow of his usual
capable and feisty self.  The villains get the best of him on two
separate occasions.  They steal his horse, his money and his guns,
then leave him to die in the desert.  The beautiful daughter of one
of the villains saves his ass twice, but her romantic interest in
the Kid is never convincing.

Paul Reinman penciled both of the Rawhide Kid stories in the issue.
He put forth a good effort, but Vince Colletta’s inking undid that
effort.  As in previous issues, Colletta’s inking style is utterly
incompatible with western comics. 

“The Return of Drako” (8 pages) is the second appearance of a foe
who seemed to have fallen to his death in Rawhide Kid #59 [August
1967].  As with the Kid in the first story, this Drako is far less
than his original self.  Then...he wore a burnoose and affected an
Arabian sensibility.  Having killed a mine owner and claimed the
mine for himself, he fired workers with families and made slaves of
those who didn’t. Now...he shaved his beard, wears regular clothes
and hangs around the scene of his past crimes hoping to rebuild the
great western empire that existed only in his mind.

The Kid’s curiosity and need for a job takes him back to the mine
in search of work.  He doesn’t recognize Drako and gets lured into
a trap.  Unfortunately, when Drako checks to see if his trap killed
his old foe, he finds a Rawhide Kid who is far more formidable than
the Rawhide Kid in the first story.

Plotted by O’Neil and written by Gary Friedrich, this story is far
better than the first one.  However, the cost is dismantling one of
the more unusual villains the Kid had faced.  Reinman’s pencils are
good, but are once again undone by the inks of an uncredited Vince
Colletta.  Sigh.

The “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” pages in these old comics are always
a delight for me.  This time around, the big announcements are the
launch of Captain Savage and His Leatherneck Raiders by Friedrich,
Dick Ayers and Syd Shores...a plug for the debut of Captain Marvel
in Marvel Super-Heroes...Tales to Astonish #100 with an issue-long
battle between Sub-Mariner and the Hulk...George Tuska’s return to
Marvel...and the hiring of Archie Goodwin.

Another rank of “Marveldom” is announced.  If a Marvel fan has ever
won “a noteworthy, non-negotiable No-Prize,” then the fan now holds
the rank of TTB (Titanic True Believer).  Sadly, even with all the
letters I had printed in Marvel comic books, I never won that most
coveted of all honors.  Though, about a decade or so after I last
worked in the Marvel offices, one sarcastic editor responded to my
query letter with a No-Prize. Oddly enough, I was pleased to have
finally received one of those.

In his “Stan’s Soapbox” feature, the Man tips his hat to the Comics
Code Authority.  In 1968, I agreed with him.  Within a couple years
of getting into the industry, I didn’t agree with him.  Of course,
by then, not even Stan felt as he did in 1968.

From “The Mighty Marvel Checklist”...the Thing is rampaging, Spidey
is with Ka-Zar in the Savage Land, the new Black Knight appears in
Avengers, the X-Men get new outfits, Daredevil fights the Trapster,
Thor faces the Wrecker, Iron Man battles Whiplash, Captain America
teams up with the Black Panther. Nick Fury takes on the Yellow Claw
and Doctor Strange has a “Nightmare!”  Good times.

“Siege at Silver Creek” (5 pages) is a new non-series story by Ron
Whyte with art by Herb Trimpe.  In the late 1960s, Whyte wrote a
handful of western yarns for Marvel and horror stories for Creepy
and Eerie.

This one is a muddled story of a bandit chief holding a silver mine
and its workers under siege.  To end the stalemate, El Grande - Not
too stuck on himself, is he? - challenges the owner of the mine to
a duel.  One of the mine’s scouts secretly prevents the bandits
from ambushing the owner.  Beaten, El Grande shows the honor that
he hadn’t shown previously.  The bandits leave the miners in peace.

Trimpe’s art shows his relative inexperience, but there are panels
that really sing here.  I remember liking his work and wondering if
he would get a chance to work on super-heroes before long.

The “Ridin’ the Trail with Rawhide” letters column finally expands
to a full page with the MMMS ad now getting its own half-page spot
elsewhere.  There are four letters this issue.

Davren Burger of South Africa likes the Rawhide Kid’s current duds
and his red hair...because Davren has red hair, too!

Robert Kowalski of Detroit praises Rawhide Kid #60.  He would like
“to see more of your western characters in stories relating to real
incidents in the lives of...historical characters.”

Bob Pax of Marengo, Illinois wonders how the Kid can fire one shot
from each of his guns and then be out of bullets in the next panel.
The Marvel answer: “You didn’t think ol’ Rawhide waited until panel
three to start shootin’, did you?”

Finally, Albert Francis of New York tells how he first bought The
Rawhide Kid
because it was the only Marvel comic at a neighborhood
candy store...and now he’s a regular reader.  It’s a familiar tale
we’ve heard from other readers.

That’s it for this edition of “Rawhide Kid Wednesday,” my rannies.
I’ll be back tomorrow with other stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

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