Three Kirby/Ayers reprints in this issue, all from RAWHIDE KID #17 (1960), the first issue of the revival of the series with a new lead (although they seem to have changed the order of the stories). The 7-page “Beware! The Rawhide Kid” tells the story of how the Johnny Bart was trained in gunplay and morals by his “Uncle” Ben, then taking revenge on two cowardly gunslingers who ambushed Ben in a shoot-out. The 5-page “When the Rawhide Kid Turned Outlaw” follows up on that, as the Kid investigates a cattle rustling, only to have the sheriff see part of a shooting, leading to the Kid running off rather than facing justice. Which doesn’t seem like what Uncle Ben would have wanted.
The third story, which was originally between those two, so actually occurred before the Kid was an outlaw, is the 6-page “Stagecoach to Shotgun Gap”. The splash page is a gorgeously detailed Kirby/Ayers piece of the Kid riding up behind a stagecoach. Turns out he was just trying to hitch a ride, and in the wild west bullets were used instead of thumbs.
The other passengers are an old lady who makes it clear she’s carrying her life savings and a boy and his father, who are also carrying around a lot of money to pay for an operation. They’re suspicious of the Kid, until real outlaws ambush the stage and the Kid has to save them with his guns and his fists.
The last page of this seems to be edited in order to include a statement of ownership (207,000 average paid circulation), so there are probably a few panels missing, which might explain why the ending seems so abrupt (and some of the art seems to be not too expertly touched up). Still some very nice bits in the story, especially the horses and backgrounds.
This is one of my favourite TWO-GUN KID covers, with a nice feeling of power and menace in the villain and some nice detail over in the fort. Dick Ayers inks this one.
TWO-GUN KID #56, October 1960, inked by Dick Ayers – This is the original Two-Gun Kid, who’d be revamped in just a few issues. Ayers inking on Kirby western art is always a treat. Always a lot of nice detail on the outfits and the backgrounds.
RAWHIDE KID #33, 1963, is the first issue Kirby did just the cover for, after introducing the new Kid in #17. That’s quite the ambush he’s wandering into. Good western cover, I like the texture on the rocks in particular. Dick Ayers inks.
Here’s a good Kirby/Ayers cover from around the middle of Kirby’s run as cover artist on the book. The convicts in the foreground look really good, I think, nice scruffy effect on their beards and hair. And how nice of the guards to let the Kid keep his colourful outfit in the big house.
This is Kirby’s final RAWHIDE KID cover, and he definitely went out with a bang, an all-out brawl on a well rendered riverboat. All sorts of stuff to love on this one. Frank Giacoia inks, and I love the effect he gets on the splashing water.
I’m not sure how effectively Rawhide could have been hiding in that tree, and where he’s pointing his guns, but otherwise a very nice cover extending the Marvel Age of crossovers to the western line. Inks are by Sol Brodsky, according to the GCD.
“The Little Man Laughs Last” is the 6-page Kirby/Ayers reprint from RAWHIDE KID #29 (1962) in this issue (mislabeled as being from RK #25). Starts with one of my favourite RK splash pages, of the Kid jumping from a horse to a stagecoach. On the stage he finds two larger men who mock his general shortness, and a girl who defends him.
After the stage is stopped by bandits, the larger men men are quick to turn coward, leaving it to the Kid to save the day, earning a kiss from the girl, which sends him riding for the hills. Fun ending to a pretty good story, with lots of action and some really good inking by Ayers.
Man, that horse looks surprised. You’d think after 107 issues with Kid Colt it would be used to this kind of stuff by now.
Not the best Kirby alien, but I love the details lavished on the space-ship, with the layout giving the image a real 3-D look. Excellent Ayers inking.
Wow, this is a busy cover. Lots of captions, balloons and figures. Very well rendered, though. That kind of greyscale knockout colouring often used on secondary characters in covers of the era shows off the linework pretty well.
Inked by Dick Ayers (the original Kirby Checklist listed it as Ditko, and I was about to say that sounded wrong, but checked the update in TJKC #32 and saw it was already corrected there, and on the online listing).