New Reviews of Old Comics
Purchase price: $0.16
No, that’s not a typo, but it is an estimate. We were in an antique store that was closing down and were told everything was priced to move. She had a big stack of western comics wrapped in plastic for pretty cheap, and when I brought it up she charged me $2, which came to about sixteen cents per issue. Good price, but most of them were Charlton westerns underneath the Marvel western. Far be it from me to complain about cheap comic books though. A deal’s a deal.
The indicia notes this was published in July 1980, but it also says they are reprints from 1956, 1958 and 1961, so considering I love old comics that at least makes the content mildly interesting to start off. In true form the original publication dates, none of the stories have story or art credits; they probably got sixteen cents per page back in the day too.
Kid Montana stars in the first and longest story of the issue, which in addition to be un-credited is also un-titled. This is a pretty generic western story where Kid Montana is about to hang up his irons and start a new life as a farmer with a friend and the friend’s wife. Now that sounds like the beginning of an adult western comic, but this isn’t that kind of title, unfortunately. No, the friend is killed when a group of bandits robs their stagecoach, but the wife makes it to town to explain the whole story. Kid Montana straps his guns back on and heads out for justice. In a surprising twist, one of the bandits actually plugs our hero, but it’s not enough to outrun justice as the wounded Kid Montana gets him to walk off a cliff. Lastly the wounded Kid must face off against the Mexican ring leader, who gets in a sucker punch on the gunfighter before the friend’s wife gets to avenge her husband’s killing. Apart the overly heavy handed narrative bits, this wasn’t a bad western story. The art was a notch above typical late 50’s early 60’s western comic style.
Wild Bill Hickok and his sidekick Jingles drive the next story “Stolen Range” about a shady character who swindles people out of their land by creating phony land deeds. Obviously Wild Bill was a real person and when I saw Jingles in the title I assumed it was his horse, however it was some goofball who doesn’t do much except eat and follow Wild Bill around. This five page story reminded me a lot of a Bonanza episode, which probably aired long after this was published. Mildly entertaining.
“Lobo” is another five page story, and stars the Masked Raider who looks a hell of a lot like the Lone Ranger. Some criminal has trained a wolf to help with his nefarious deeds. It’s four pages of build-up leading the Lone Ra…er…Masked Raider knocking out the wolf in one panel and shooting the criminal in the second to last panel. The gentle downhill slope of story quality for this issue begins to accelerate.
Wyatt Earp is the hero of a two page story called “The King’s Ransom” where a cattle crew rolls into town fixin’ to whip up a heap o’ trouble. Wyatt uses some skullduggery instead of his guns to get the boss to bring his men under control and save the town. This story is very definition of “filler” in the world of comic books.
Lash LaRue headlines “Trigger Proud” a totally worthless two page story about a mean gunfighter who comes to town to cause trouble, but everyone is afraid because he’s so good. Lash LaRue sets the big meanie on his heals in two panels; once with his whip, the other with his fist, and then the story is over. I think the worst part was Lash LaRue looked like he was about to cry in three of the six panels he appeared in.
Generally speaking I do like western stories and these are about as generic as western stories come. The biggest redeeming quality of the issue is reading something from 50 plus years ago, which shouldn’t be discounted too heavily.