Monday, May 28, 2012

TIM HOLT "becomes Red-Mask!"

When Tim Holt #19 came out in 1950, the last page of the comic asked the question...

...when #20 came out two months later, the readers found out who the masked man was...
...Tim Holt, himself!
As we've shown in our John Wayne and Buster Crabbe entries, many Western movie and tv stars had self-titled comics that played on the conceit that the actors actually were Western characters!
But this was the only series that a "reel-life" Westerner assumed a masked identity he hadn't played on the silver screen...
The masked identity became so popular that almost every cover from #20 onward featured the masked hero, and the book was retitled Red Mask with #42!

Son of movie actor Jack Holt, who had done movie serials and Westerns in the silent and early talkie eras, Tim Holt appeared in John Wayne's breakout film Stagecoach, as well as numerous b-movies including a late 40s-early 50s series of Westerns where he played...Tim Holt!

There's dispute as to whether Gardner Fox or Ray Krank wrote this intro tale, but there's no doubt it's illustrated by Frank Bolle!
Trivia: Proofreading apparently wasn't a prerequisite in Golden Age books.
The writers and editors can't seem to decide if the hero is called "RedMask", "Red Mask", or "Red-Mask"!
(The story titles and the book itself were "Red Mask" or "Red-Mask", while the captions and balloons spelled it "RedMask"!)

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Monday, May 21, 2012


Despite the fact this story appeared in a comic called Death Valley... doesn't take place in Death Valley, nor did the Real-Life Westerner the tale is about ever go to Death Valley!
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 particular never-reprinted tale was published in Comic Media's Western anthology series Death Valley #1 (1953), penciled by Ross Andru and inked by Mike Esposito.
The writer is unknown.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

WILMA WEST "Old Indian Mine"

If you think paying your taxes is torture...
...look at what Wilma West has to go through, as this tale from Western Crime Busters #2 (1950) makes painfully-clear!
So, if she didn't accept the money, how did she pay the taxes?
If it wasn't for Sonora Sam, Wilma wouldn't have lasted very long, since she gets captured and tied up in almost every story!

The name "Don Tallant" is probably a pen-name.
It's only used on the Wilma West stories in issues 1 thru 3, then never reappears anywhere ever again.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

PANCHO VILLA "Scourge of the Rurales"

Yeah, I know Cinquo de Mayo was last Saturday...
...but we publish on Mondays, so here's a belated tribute to one of Mexico's most famous historical figures...
This was the first story from a one-shot Pancho Villa book published in 1950 by Avon Comics.
We have no idea how historically-accurate it is.
Both writer and artist are unknown.
There are two more short stories covering other periods of Villa's life.
None has ever been reprinted, but they will be re-presented here in the next few months!

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featuring the cover art from the book this story is re-presented from!
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