New Reviews of Old Comics
Now that’s a cover; it’s like he’s shooting right at you and the sound effects really make it great! Yeah, not really. In all fairness, without the sound effects, I would actually think that’s a pretty cool cover. This was another of the giant stack of western comics I bought a while back for $2, and there are plenty more where this came from! This time the old west reprints cover 1960, 1961 and 1962. Which story is from which year is anyone’s guess. Heck, the identity of who wrote or drew any of these as much of a mystery as anything.
Kid Montana stars in the lead off story “Geronimo’s Attack” which defies the long standing tradition of placing an exclamation point in the title of comic book stories. This ten page story, heavy on the text tells the story of Kid Montana’s being ambushed by Apaches and surviving. Being a little kid, the chief adopts the boy and raises him along with his own son Geronimo. All of that is told in one page. The rest of the story is about Apache raids and the Federals, with Kid Montana, trying to catch them. It culminates in a fairly big battle where the Apaches suddenly withdraw giving the win to the Federals. While the art was nice looking, it didn’t really drive the story. It was more like a text story with some pictures, and the story was just OK. Some of the panels were nicely drawn though.
Wild Bill Hickok takes over for the next five pages in “Blast Out” another title with an ominous lack of the ubiquitous exclamation point; what is the comic world coming to? Whatever town Bill happens to be Marshall of has some infrastructure issues, like poor jail facilities. So bad in fact some jailbirds with a couple sticks of dynamite are able to blow themselves out. How prisoners got dynamite is not explained. No one cares. Anyway, they escape and go on the lam with Wild Bill in hot pursuit. Although the ex-cons have the high falutin’ technology, like dynamite, Wild Bill is able to capture them using bees. Yes, you read that right, bees. Hey, it’s a five page story, what do you want? Actually, I thought this was a better read than the first story.
Cheyenne Kid stars in “A Nice Peaceful Town” (still no exclamation point), a five page story about some fancy Chicago guy visiting the Kid’s town searching out a new railroad stop. Naturally everyone wants a railroad stop so they want the Chicagoan to think it’s a nice town. That’s tough to do when there is a bank robbery going on and a hillbilly crawling out of the woodwork to cause problems in the local saloon. Try as he might, Cheyenne Kid can’t hide the warts, but that’s OK, because Chicago is a tough town and Mr. Fancy Pants can hold his own. In fact he respects the town more knowing Cheyenne Kid is around. Yee-haw! This was a decent story for five pages, and the art was the best of the issue, which isn’t exactly setting the bar high, but you take what you can get for 16 cents. Let’s keep it in perspective, folks.
Could anything top that story? Well, the next three page story “Gold Rush,” billed as “A Kid Montana Special Feature From the Old West Scrapbook” isn’t going to do it. Like the previous Kid Montana story this one is heavy on text, but with worse art. It tells an abbreviated version of the California gold rush that started at Sutter’s Mill, or Sutter’s Fort as this story calls in. OK, I’ll admit the story was kind of interesting, but it fails in the execution. The art was a lot on the bad side.
The whole thing wraps up with a one pager called “Three Sheriff’s In One” that is just totally pointless, bordering on incomprehensible. The one redeeming quality here is that I found the art to be quite good actually.
For what it is Gunfighters really isn’t a bad comic. OK, if you generally hate Western stories with cowboys and Indians, this comic would truly suck. If you’re like me and have an affinity for Westerns this isn’t half bad, better than expected actually. And it’s good I feel this way because I have like a dozen more issues of Gunfighters to read.