Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Comics: BULL'S-EYE BILL

Yes, they celebrated the Yuletide in the Old West...
...although technically, this was the contemporary (1940s) West!
Though the series started with a standard 1800s Old West setting, after creator Bill Everett left, the new writer, Bea Holmes, and artist L. Kennerly, began inserting contemporary references and technology.
By the time of this tale from Target Comics #12, the series was firmly-set in the present-day.
In fact, Bull's-Eye was recruited by the Army for special duty to prevent sabotage at Western bases in the very next issue!

We're taking next week off, so we'll see you in 2012!
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Billy the Kid"

There are many theories as to how the legendary gunfighter Billy the Kid died...
...but this one is probably the most outlandish!
Billy the Kid has been one of the most popular (and controversial) Real-Life Westerners ever to appear in the media.
Portrayed as everything from a psychopathic killer to a misunderstood teen-ager, he's been the subject of movies, radio and TV shows (both as the title character, and as a guest-star), theatre productions, novels, and no less than a half-dozen comic book titles as well as several hundred comic stories.
(He even fought Dracula in the 1966 b-movie Billy the Kid vs Dracula and traveled thru time in an episode of The Time Tunnel!)
This one-shot tale, illustrated by George Woodbridge appeared in Masked Ranger #6 (1955), and was Woodbridge's first published comics work!
He later became one of the mainstays of MAD Magazine, as well as a military history illustrator noted for his accuracy in rendering uniforms and weapons.

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Visit the
Western Comics Adventures Store
featuring Billy the Kid!

Monday, December 5, 2011

CISCO KID "Gunwise Cowpoke"

From #2 of his own comic (which was actually the first issue)...
...comes the "Robin Hood of the Old West", as they said on his radio show!
Even though the last few b-movies had starred Duncan Renaldo and the tv series (also starring Renaldo) was about to begin airing when this issue came out, Cisco in this issue looks remarkably like Gilbert Roland, who played him in several b-movies in the mid-1940s, indicating that this story may have been created back then, but not published until 1951.
In the next issue, Cisco shaves off his mustache and begins to look more like Renaldo.
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Monday, November 28, 2011


As promised on Halloween, here's the cover story to Ghost Rider #7...
...although I still find it hard to believe they didn't give the cover to "League of the Living Dead", but then there wasn't a pretty girl in that tale...
Though the "supernatural" menace turned out to be nothing of the kind, the story by Gardner Fox and art by Dick Ayers and Ernie Bache still make it an entertaining story (though not as good as "League of the Living Dead").
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Monday, November 21, 2011

BLACK FURY "Fatal Rendezvous"

In Westerns, horses are intelligent.
In fact, sometimes they're more intelligent than humans... this tale from Black Fury #16 shows!
Unlike The Lone Ranger's Silver or Roy Rogers' Trigger, both of whom had their own comics, Black Fury was no one's property.
He was the lead stallion of a herd of wild horses wandering the American SouthWest.
Occasionally, he ran into humans (and even helped them), but his priority was his (and his mares') survival.
One of the unique aspects to the writing was that he interacted with all humans (Native Americans or settlers) without prejudice.
The writer is unknown, but the artist for this tale was Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, who rarely did Westerns.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Phantom Rider of the Crimson Sage"

Here's a cool Canadian take on the Western comic...
...with an origin tale from "WOW" Comics #16 (1942).
And, yes, the quotation marks are part of the book's title!
This story was from the Canadian-produced "WOW" Comics (note the quotes), not to be confused with Wow Comics from Fawcett Comics which featured Mary Marvel, Mr Scarlet, and others.
Sad to say, I don't have scans of any of the other issues, and, according to the Grand Comics Database, the Phantom Rider never made the cover for the remainder of the book's run.
Originally, Canada imported American comic books and pulp magazines, filling their newsstands with Superman, The Lone Ranger, and loads of other American characters.
But, when World War II broke out, Canada banned all "non-essential" imports...including comics and pulps!
This opened up a whole new industry for Canadian writers and artists to finally do their own characters!
One major difference between the American and Canadian comic books was that the World War II Canadian books were black and white inside, not four-color like American comics!
(British comics were also b/w inside until the 1950s, when they started using a second color on some books.)
Some American companies licensed Canadian publishers to reprint US comics, but the interiors for those were b/w as well.
In addition, there was a limit to how much "non-Canadian content" could be included in Canadian magazine print runs, so there were relatively-few American reprints during the war.
After the war ended American comics were again imported, so most Canadian publishers began doing color insides to compete with the imports.

Monday, November 7, 2011

HOW THE WEST WAS FUN! "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch House!"

After the horrors of the Halloween season, let's have some humor...
...from Charlton Comics' From Here to Insanity #10 (1955)!
Ironically, Westerns were among the cheapest genres to film since there were so many costumes and props already available, along with standing Western sets at all the studios and, of course, many locales available for shooting within a couple of hours' drive from Los Angeles!
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