Wednesday, November 29, 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 129th installment of my “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” columns.

The Rawhide Kid #142 [November 1977] has yet another terrific cover by Gil Kane. Like the previous two covers, it doesn’t illustrate a scene from either of the two tales reprinted in this issue.

“Duel of the Desperadoes!” (13 pages) is written and drawn by Larry Lieber with inks by Herb Trimpe. It first appeared in Rawhide Kid #64 [June 1968] with a Lieber/Trimpe cover. I wrote about the tale on March 5, 2014. You can read my comments here.

The inside front cover of this issue announces Pizzazz, the newest Marvel magazine. From Wikipedia:

Pizzazz was a magazine published by Marvel Comics from 1977 to 1979, for a total run of 16 issues. Aimed at youth culture, Pizzazz mostly contained articles about popular movies, rock stars, et cetera, as well as comic strips and puzzles.

There were three pages of classified ads in this issue of Rawhide Kid with nineteen ads from mail-order dealers selling old comics. In addition to these, there was an ad offering 3 mil comics bags at a hundred for three dollars; an ad for George Olshevsky’s Marvel Comics Index; and an ad for The Magnificent Superheroes of Comics’ Golden Age, a “collectors bonanza” reprinting eleven stories from the Golden Age and costing five bucks.

Superhero Merchandise of Dover, New Jersey had its usual full-page ad. This time around, it offered “Super School Supplies.” The main items were theme books, portfolios, paper with free iron-ons, book covers and a loose-leaf binder. Also available: Marvel t-shirts, Marvel wrist radios and Marvel watches.

Howard the Duck was the host of this issue’s subscription ad with art that may or may not have been drawn by Mirthful Marie Severin. I think I see a lot of her in there, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Feel free to chime in with your own observations.

The second Rawhide Kid story was “The Birth of a Legend!” by Stan Lee and Jack Davis. The five-page tale was originally published in Rawhide Kid #35 [August 1963], though this reprint erroneously has it coming from issue #64. This is a vastly inferior rehash of the classic “A Legend is Born!” by Lee and Jack Kirby that appeared in issue #18 [October 1960]. Here’s what I wrote about this rehash on August 15, 2012:

In a saloon, Rawhide is enjoying a meal while unknowing barflies discuss how big and fierce the Rawhide Kid is.  Town bully Crusher Cragg storms in and takes offense at anyone thinking anyone is tougher than he is.  He attempts to bully the Kid, but, as you can imagine, ends up on the losing side of that encounter.

Our hero pays for the damage to the saloon, identifying himself as the Rawhide Kid before he rides out of town.  Having heard gunfire, the sheriff goes into the tavern and learns he’s just missed seeing the Kid.  When the barflies give him Rawhide’s descriptions, their impressions are just as outrageous as they were before they saw the real thing.  It’s truthiness...Old West style.

This issue’s Marvel Bullpen Bulletins page lists Archie Goodwin as editor; Jim Shooter as associate editor; Roger Stern, Ed Hannigan, Ralph Macchio, Jo Duffy as assistant editors; Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Steve Gerber, Jack Kirby as consulting editors; John Romita and Marie Severin as art directors; John Verpoorten as the production manager; and, of course, Irving Forbush as unindicted co-conspirator.

This issue’s “Stan Lee’s Soapbox” takes up a third of the page and talks about a variety of things. The Superhero Woman is coming out in October. Though Stan doesn’t reveal its contents, I’ll tell you it collects the first appearances of several Marvel heroines. In other news...

Stan will be a guest at “the great new Chicago Con” on August 6th and the Houston Con on August 19th.

Marvel’s 1978 calendar will be a Spider-Man calendar. It will go on sale at the end of August.

“The great new live-action CBS-TV prime-time Spider-Man made-for-television movie” should premiere in September. Stan says to watch for announcements “about the whole kaboodle of Marvel movies which Universal Pictures is working on right now!”

There’s a quick mention of the Howard the Duck newspaper strip and then a teasing plug for Pizzazz. Clearly, at the time he wrote this soapbox, Stan didn’t realize the inside front cover of this month’s  Marvel comic books would advertise the new magazine.

The rest of the Bullpen Bulletins page:

ITEM! Rick Parker joins the Bullpen to do lettering corrections. Jim Salicrup returns to Marvel to helm the American reprint comic books. One of the reasons I love reading these old Bullpen pages is to see the comings and goings of friends and other professionals.

ITEM! Congratulations are extended to Roger Stern and Jo Duffy on their promotions...with a mention of Ed Hannigan and Ralph Macchio because, everyone loves to see their name on the Bullpen Bulletins page. I know it was always a thrill for me.

ITEM! Black-and-white magazine editor Roger Slifer teamed writer Doug Moench with artist Carmine Infantino for the adaptation of The Deep. The movie was based on the best-selling novel by Jaws author Peter Benchley.

ITEM! The summer annuals are coming! Incredible Hulk by Len Wein, David Anthony Kraft and Herb Trimpe. Fantastic Four by Marv Wolfman and Keith Pollard. Avengers and Marvel Two-In-One by Jim Starlin. In addition, the item plugs the Marvel Classic Comics adaptations of Kidnapped and The Pit of the Pendulum; Hanna-Barbera comic books starring Yogi Bear and Dynomutt; and black-and-white magazines The Rampaging Hulk and The Savage Sword of Conan!

The final item discusses the increase of price on Marvel’s regular  color comics to thirty-five cents and the double-length comics to sixty cents. Those prices look real good today.

Next...Spider-Man appears in the one-page “Legal Eagle,” a Hostess cup cakes comics advertisement in which criminal lawyer Ralph G. Fake transforms himself into a winged villain who looks a lot like the Vulture. His plan is to steal the Bill of Rights and take over the Supreme Court. How prophetic of the writer of this silly page to have predicted the current administration. I’m pretty sure this ad was penciled by Sal Buscema.

The back cover is a Jack Davis-drawn ad for Spalding autographed basketballs that features then current stars Rick Barry and Dr. J. The balls have a rubber cover that allows players to get a really good grip on them. Other basketballs feature the signatures of Wilt Chamberlain, Pistol Pete and Ernie D. It’s a repeat of the ad that appeared on the back cover of issue #140 [July 1977].

That wraps up this installment of “Rawhide Kid Wednesday.” We only have nine more issues to go until we get to the end of the trail for this title. Look for the next guns-a’-blazing installment next Wednesday. In the meantime, come back tomorrow for another round of “Halloween ComicFest” reviews. See you then.

© 2017 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. It always got me that the Pizzazz ad has Daredevil saying, "Lemme see!"