Marvel sometimes, far too infrequently for my liking, throws out a reprint one-shot with some Kirby. Usually tied into some then-current storyline, I think GUNSLINGERS #1 came out around the time of some mini-series that had all of Marvel’s western characters.
Two Kirby stories are reprinted in it, both inked by Dick Ayers. “Beware!! The Terrible Totem!!” is a reprint of RAWHIDE KID #22, a full issue story where the Kid fights a giant walking totem pole. While there’s an undeniable pleasure in the way Kirby draws Totem, it’s just a bit too silly. In fact, the actual western story in here, involving the Kid being chased by lawmen and mine safety issues, were a lot more entertaining, and would have made a far stronger story if the Totem was replaced by a more related obstacle.
The second Kirby story in here is “I Hate the Two-Gun Kid”, a five-pager from TWO-GUN KID #60. The story is pretty straight-forward and cliched, with the Kid (no, another Kid) finding his masked identity blamed for some wrong-doing while trying to do the right thing, thus earning the animosity of pretty blonde schoolmarm Nancy Carter, who utters the title of the story. I think the original printing of this was in the first issue of the Earth-One Two-Gun Kid (masked lawyer Matt Hawk version), so it’s setting up the on-going conflicts.
Kirby’s western comics always show a lot of love for the subject matter, clearly learned through the movies and books on the subject from his youth. Lots of action, great background scenery, and I especially love the way he draws horses.
Published February 2000