Wednesday, October 18, 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 125th installment of my “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” columns.

The Rawhide Kid #138 [March 1977] has a new cover by Ernie Chan. It illustrates “Legion of the Lost!” from The Rawhide Kid #79 [August 1970]. The original cover was by Larry Lieber while the 17-page story was written by Archie Goodwin, penciled by Werner Roth and inked by John Tartaglione. I wrote about on April 15, 2015. You can read my comments here.

An advertisement for the Dino De Laurentiis remake of King Kong is on the inside front cover of this issue. It’s the highest profile of the paid ads this time around. The other full-page or half-page paid ads are mostly typical comics ads: Slim Jim, Grit, Joe Weider body-building, LaSalle Extension University, Customizing Center (to learn how to customize cars and other vehicles), 204 Revolutionary War soldiers, the Johnson Smith Company novelties and the American Seed Company.

There’s a half-page ad for The Buyer’s Guide for Comics Fandom, the every other week newspaper published by Alan Light from his home in East Moline, Illinois. For only five bucks, you could get 26 “big” issues. Under the ownership of Krause Publications and editorship of Don and Maggie Thompson, the paper would become Comics Buyer’s Guide and establish itself as the paper of record for the industry. In a sea of unsatisfying online comics news sites, I miss CBG more than ever.

Superhero Merchandise was back with another full-page ad for Marvel stuff. Puzzles featuring the Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four were $2.08 each and that price, like the others quoted here, included postage and handling. The Comic Book Savers binders which held up 12 to 24 comic books and came with a free set of superhero stick-ons were $1.99 or $3.19 with savings depending on how many you ordered. Marvel Mood Rings featuring Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man and Thor were $3.99 each.

Laser Books had a full-page ad for its Laser Readers Service. With three free science fiction novels for starters, subscribers would get three new books every month for only $2.85 plus shipping and handling. From Wikipedia:

Laser Books was a line of 58 paperback science fiction (SF) novels published from 1975 to 1977 by Canadian romance powerhouse Harlequin Books. Laser published three titles per month, available by subscription as well as in stores. The books were limited to 50,000-60,000 words. They were numbered as a series, though each was a standalone novel. All the covers were painted by Hugo Award winning artist Kelly Freas.

The usual pitch for FOOM (Friends of Old Marvel) came in the form of a half-page ad. The bottom half of the page advertised the Holo-Man Adventure Kit. For five bucks, including postage and handling, you would get The Holo-Disc (“a real laser-produced 3-dimensional pendant”), the first issue of The Amazing Adventures of Holo-Man, a 45 rpm Holo-Man action record and a Holo-Squad membership card good for dozens of offers from Atomic Comics. For more information, check out Holo-Man’s Wikipedia page.

The Marvel subscription ad got a makeover. Only twenty-one titles were offered this time around. With one exception, all prices were 12 issues for $4 on the first subscription and $3.50 on additional subscriptions. Spidey Super Stories was the 21st title at a price of $4.50 for twelve issues.

There were three pages of classified ads with 21 ads for mail-order comics dealers, up six from the previous issue.

That brings us to this issue’s Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page. “Stan Lee’s Soapbox” announced three new newspaper features from the Man. The Amazing Spider-Man was by Lee and John Romita. With art by Frank Springer, The Virtue of Vera Valiant was a satirical soap opera in the same vein as TV’s Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Finally, there was Says Who, a combination of celebrity photos and gags ala Monsters to Laugh With. He might not have been writing comic books, but Stan was as prolific as ever.

Sidebar. I have only seen a few Vera Valiant strips and have never seen Says Who. Which is my way of saying I’d likely buy collections of both. Take my money. Please.

The first news item announced The Rampaging Hulk, a black-and-white comics magazine featuring novel-length Hulk stories by writer Doug Moench with artists Walt Simonson and Alfredo Alcala.

Item the second was about Gene Colan’s “fabulous fiftieth birthday” party. Guests included John Verpoorten, Marv Wolfman, Marie Severin and Flo Steinberg. The item concluded with plugs for Colan’s work on Howard the Duck and Tomb of Dracula.

The third item congratulated Chris Claremont and Bonnie Wilford, and Irene Vartanoff and Scott Edelman on their recent weddings.

The fourth item: Red Sonja getting her own title by Roy Thomas and Frank Thorne...and inspiring a song by Mike and Sal Caputo that was premiered at Lily Langtry’s, a popular New Jersey nightspot. Plans to record the song were said to be underway. Did that ever happen?

The penultimate item on the page announced Master of Kung Fu #50 by Moench and Paul Gulacy.

The final item was a catch-all. Following the final issues of their own titles, Warlock and Deathlok would appear in Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-In-One and Marvel Spotlight. The last title would also feature the Tolkien-esque “Tyndall’s Quest!”

This month’s Hostess one-page ad starred Spider-Man in “The Champ” with art by George Tuska and an inker I can’t identify because I’m not very good on that sort of thing. The plot of a phony referee is foiled when Spidey tosses a delicious fudgy Hostess Cup Cake into the villain’s mouth.

Remember that spiffy Jack Kirby/Paul Reinman pin-up of the Rawhide Kid that originally appeared in Rawhide Kid #43 [December 1964] and which was reprinted in issue #137 [January 1977]? It shows up again in this issue. Oops!

That’s it for this installment of “Rawhide Kid Wednesday.” We have thirteen more installments to come before we get to the end of the title’s run. After that, I’ll do occasional installments to cover any Rawhide Kid guest appearances I may have missed as well as his later appearances.

Just a quick reminder. I’ll be a guest at the Grand Rapids Comic-Con on Friday through Sunday, October 20-22. For more information, visit the convention website.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more comments on my television viewing. See you then.

© 2017 Tony Isabella


  1. KING KONG (1976) "The most exciting original motion picture event of all time."

    Well, it was original forty-three years earlier. Did someone forget to tell the publicist that it was a remake?

    - Andrew Laubacher

  2. Someone on recently suggested that the villain on horseback on the new Chan cover was intentionally drawn and colored to resemble DC's Jonah Hex.

  3. Rob, the resemblance is so close that on first glance, I thought this was one of homemade crossover covers people are always making. Now I want a Hex/Rawhide team up! story!