New Reviews of Old Comics
Even at a buck I might have over paid for this one, given its heavily tattered condition (the well worn cover hangs by one over-worked staple, a couple interior pages fell out and it looks like someone folded it into quarters at one point) but I’m a sucker for a western and I don’t see them all that often. Of course in 1974 almost no one was publishing new western stories so these stories are all reprints from other titles in the Marvel western milieu featuring Rawhide Kid, Matt Slade and Two-Gun Kid. Apart from the Lone Ranger I wasn’t big into westerns when I was a kid, it’s something I’ve acquired a taste for as I’ve gotten older. Maybe I secretly want to be a cowboy when I grow up.
“The Origin of the Rawhide Kid” kicks off the issue. This story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby originally appeared in Rawhide Kid #23 and as the title suggests, tells how the main character came to be. Johnny Bart lived on a ranch in Rawhide, Texas with his Uncle Ben who taught him how to use a pistol, but only for self defense. With great shooting comes great responsibility, or something like that (OK, I made that up, but his name was Uncle Ben). While Johnny is away criminals come on to the ranch and kill Uncle Ben. Johnny of course vows revenge and he’s so good it only takes two more pages to find the killers and turn them over to the law. Despite Stan’s heavy handed narration this was a decent seven page western story. Kirby’s art of course depicted the action nicely
Next up is Matt Slade, Gunfighter in “Duel in the Night” which originally appeared in Kid Slade #7. This four page story that no one takes credit for has Matt trying to arrest someone in a saloon when Indians burst in to make off with the fugitive. Matt tracks them down but is challenged to some kind of Indian jousting tournament with the prize being Matt’s fugitive. Three guesses as to the outcome and the first two don’t count.
The third story features the Two-Gun Kid in a story by Stan Lee with un-credited art that originally appeared in Gunsmoke West #58 (c’mon, that has to be a made up title). Here the Two-Gun Kid takes on the town bully, but the catch is he also promised a nice young lady that he wouldn’t shoot the bully. Of course he keeps his promise and basically bitch slaps the guy into submission before high-tailing it out of the grateful and admiring town- folk.
Finally we have another Stan Lee story from Kid Slade #7 called “The Gun-Slinger” with art by Al Williamson. Again we have another town bully bothering people in a saloon until someone with the testicular fortitude to stand up to him comes along. This story is a little different because of the manner in which the bully is bested. Of course Al Williamson’s art is the highlight of this four page story, but I have to say the story was better than the previous Two-Gun Kid story.
On a whole this was exactly what I was expecting; some cheesy stories with cowboys, Indians and some do-good gunslinger types. There are certainly worse things to read out there.
Notable Ad: I think there were more ad pages than comic stories in this issue and most of them were boring or I’ve seen them before. The one that caught my eye was from an entity called “Elton’s” out of St. Petersburg, FL who was selling the secret method that uses a TV set to hypnotize people. Naturally the ad was a woman with long legs and a tiny skirt with her arms stretched out toward the TV. Clearly she’s been hypnotized into doing something that is probably not much more than fantasy for most comic book fan boys of 1974, which quite frankly was probably just standing in front of them with her arms stretched out while wearing a tiny skirt.