COVER STORIES for 02/04/2007
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #91
Welcome, faithful readers (and those of you joining us for the first time) to the 91st installment of Cover Stories, the weekly column in which I, Jon B. Knutson, present a group of covers with a common theme!
Guess what, friends? It's time for another edition of...
Yes, 1-10 time again, and this month, the focus is on The Mighty Marvel Western, featuring most (if not all) of Marvel's mightiest western heroes, natch!
Now, I have to admit that I really dig the Marvel Western comics. Yeah, they're completely unrealistic as all get-out (even before they kind of superhero-ized them, to be honest), but dang it, they're fun reading, and that's a high priority for me when it comes to comics reading! And isn't it about time for Marvel to do some Essential Marvel Western volumes?
This series was all reprints (at least, so far as I know), which means you'd think they'd be fairly easy to find, but for whatever reason, I've always found the non-reprint Silver Age western books easier to track down! Strange, isn't it?
Anyway, I digress... let's start with the 1-10 already!
If you're one of those comics fans (like, I admit, me) who thinks of Herb Trimpe as being an Incredible Hulk artist, this cover should show you he could handle the gunslingers as well as the greenskins with aplomb! Too bad none of the stories featured the trio teamed up, but at least they're together on the cover (making it almost a throw-back to some of the Golden Age books, eh?).
It is rather bizarre on issue one's cover that blurb about "Now, bigger than ever!" Was there a previous western anthology book I'm just completely oblivious to?
Issue one's features were Rawhide Kid in "A Place to Hide" by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (with Dick Ayers inks) reprinted from Rawhide Kid #23; Two-Gun Kid in "The Killer and the Kid" by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, reprinted from Two-Gun Kid #61; Kid Colt in "When the Witch Doctor Strikes" by Lee and Jack Keller, reprinted from Kid Colt, Outlaw #100; Two-Gun Kid in "The Man Who Changed" by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, reprinted from Two-Gun Kid #62; and Rawhide Kid in "The Prisoner of Outlaw Town" by Lee and Ayers, reprinted from Rawhide Kid #36.
Issue #2's cover is also by Trimpe, this time inked by Vince Colletta (the first one was inked by Frank Giacoia), and rather than featuring the lead characters together, this is more in the standard reprint-book cover format, as you can see, complete with arrow-shaped blurbs!
Inside, the reprinted tales were: Rawhide Kid in "Beware of the Barker Brothers" b Lee, Kirby and Ayers, reprinted from Rawhide Kid #32; Two-Gun Kid in "Nothing Can Save Fort Henry" by Lee and Ayers, reprinted from Two-Gun Kid #65; Kid Colt in "Circus of Crime" by Lee and Keller, reprinted from Kid Colt, Outlaw #106; Two-Gun Kid in "When the Apaches Strike" by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, reprinted from Two-Gun Kid #61, and Rawhide Kid in "Shoot-Out in Scragg's Saloon," by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, reprinted from Rawhide Kid #26.
Have those been enough to whet your appetite for western wonderfulness yet? Let's continue...
So, after two issues, they changed the logo... and I'm not entirely certain I can blame them, either! This one definitely gets the word "Western" right in your face, doesn't it? And it does look like the Rawhide Kid is considered a big draw, given that he's all over the place on this cover... he has the main cover image, plus a floating head on the side (reminiscent of the old JLA issues from around the same time, isn't it?), plus he's got a full figure in the corner box and another floating head there!
This cover was, again, penciled by Trimpe, and inked this time by John Verpoorten. Inside, the reprints were: "Beware!! The Terrible Totem!" by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, from Rawhide Kid #22 (later reprinted in Gunslingers #1); "Trapped by Grizzly Grogan" by Lee and Ayers, reprinted from Two-Gun Kid #64 (and also reprinted again in Gunslingers #1); "The Giant Monster of Midnight Valley" by Lee and Keller, reprinted from Kid Colt, Outlaw #107; "I Hate the Two-Gun Kid" by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, reprinted from Two-Gun Kid #60 (and yes, also reprinted in Gunslingers #1... I wonder why one of these tales wasn't included in that book?); and "The Eyes of Orville Jones" by Lee and Keller, reprinted in Kid Colt, Outlaw #102, and reprinted in Gunslingers #1.
In case you were curious, Gunslingers #1 also featured Caleb Hammer in "The Devil's Starry Anvil!", reprinted from Marvel Premiere #54... apparently as the replacement for the "Giant Monster of Midnight Valley" tale.
And isn't is also curious that while the Rawhide Kid had the cover spot, he only had one story in this issue, while Kid Colt and Two-Gun Kid each had two?
Issue 4's cover is Trimpe inking Trimpe, and it's a pretty cool cover, if you ask me, featuring the two co-stars in separate bursts! This issue featured the following tales: "The River Boat Raiders" by Larry Lieber, reprinted from Rawhide Kid #47 (I remember transcribing an interview with Larry some years ago, in which he mentioned the westerns were his favorite books to work on); "Tombstone Target" by Lieber, Ayers and Carl Hubbell, apparently a new story for this issue, because the GCD doesn't mention it being reprinted from anywhere; "The Kid Goes East" by Lee and Keller, reprinted from Kid Colt, Outlaw #108; "Gunman's Gamble" by Lee and Ayers, reprinted from Two-Gun Kid #64.
Issue 5 is another Trimpe-on-Trimpe effort, and would be reminiscent of some of the DC war book covers if the Rawhide Kid was saying something about how he's safe now, wouldn't it?
This issue's stories were: "The Masked Maverick" by Lee and Lieber, reprinted from Rawhide Kid #44; "The Guns of the Galloway Gang" by Lee, Ayers, and Frank Giacoia, reprinted from Two-Gun Kid #73; and "The Guns of Wes Hardin," by Lieber, Steve Skeates, and Keller, reprinted from Kid Colt, Outlaw #126. Only three tales this time around, but longer ones than usual!
Issue 6's cover is Trimpe inking Trimpe again, as the logo is changed once more... or rather, it's gone back to the original logo! Inside, the stories are: "Doom in the Desert" by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, from Rawhide Kid #28; "The Saga of Sam Hawk, the Manhunter" by Lee and Keller, from Kid Colt, Outlaw #111; "Trapped by Ringo's Raiders" by Lee and Ayers, from Two-Gun Kid #66; and "Shoot-Out with Rock Rorick" by Lee, Kirby and Ayers from Rawhide Kid #31.
Issue 7's cover, featuring an Evil Twin, is Trimpe inking Trimpe, and the stories were: "The Menacing Masquerader" by Lieber and Hubbell, reprinted from Rawhide Kid #60; "The Unbeatable Mr. Brown" by Lee and Keller, from Kid Colt #112; "Draw on Sight" by Lee and Keller, from Kid Colt #72; and "Showdown with Billy the Kid" by Lieber, Skeates, Ayers and Mike Esposito, from Two-Gun Kid #80.
Issue 8's cover (Trimpe again) features a pretty nasty situation for the Rawhide Kid to be in... backed up against a cliff, almost out of ammo (interesting that the ammo is the thing the Kid's most worried about, isn't it? Although given how bad a shot everyone seems to be at that range, I'd think the cliff was a bigger concern). Inside this issue: "Revenge at Rustler's Roost" by Lieber and Carl Hubbell, from Rawhide Kid #52; "The Fearsome Fat Man" by Lee and Keller from Kid Colt, Outlaw #117; and "The Hidden Gun" by Skeates, Lieber, Ayers and Bill Everett from Two-Gun Kid #81.
Just about done now! Issue 9 has a cover that's by... great googly moogly, that's not a Trimpe cover, that's John Severin doing the art chores! And quite an exciting cover it is, too! This issue featured: "The Last Showdown" by Lieber and Colletta, from Rawhide Kid #54; "The Wild One," apparently with artwork by Alfonso Greene, from Kid Colt, Outlaw #78; "The Chain Gang of Pecos Pass" by Lee and Keller from Kid Colt, Outlaw #118; and "Moose Morgan, Gunman at Large" by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, from Two-Gun Kid #62!
Issue 10's cover is apparently by Lieber and Everett, although the GCD had originally credited it to Trimpe (if I'd had to guess, that's what I would've guessed, too). Inside: "The Plunderers" by Lieber and Colletta, from Rawhide Kid #55; "On the Trail of the Border Hawk" by Raymond Marais and Ogden Whitney from Two-Gun Kid #91; "The Passenger" by Denny O'Neil, Don Heck and Everett from Rawhide Kid #54; and "The Saga of Bassett the Badman" by Lee and Keller from Kid Colt, Outlaw #119!
Mighty Marvel Western lasted until issue 46, September 1976. Starting with issue 17, it changed from a giant-sized book to a standard page count. For the most part, it continued to have all-new cover art, but there were exceptions, such as issue 25, where the cover art was also a reprint! But this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. It was a pretty good run for a non-superhero reprint title (it certainly lasted longer than any of their horror reprint books of the 1970s)!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !