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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