Thursday, 8 May 2014

THE RAWHIDE KID - A REAL STRAIGHT-SHOOTER...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

It wasn't until I was typing out the folder name for these scans
that it struck me how gay the name RAWHIDE KID sounds these
days.  In fact, I believe the character was 'outed' a few years ago when
writer RON ZIMMERMAN decided to retroactively alter the Kid's
sexual orientation.  I never read that series - didn't even see it, in fact -
but, to me, the Rawhide Kid is, and always will be, as straight as they
come.  In fact, he's so macho and manly, he drinks his milk
from a dirty glass.

Anyway, there seems to have been a pulsatin' plethora of
cowboy characters called 'Kid' in MARVEL comicbooks way
back when.  As well as Rawhide Kid, there was The TWO-GUN
KIDThe APACHE KID, The RINGO KID, The WESTERN
KID, and KID COLT, OUTLAW.  May well be more for all I know.
The blamed West was over-run with dang kids - where were all the
adults fer cryin' out loud?  Makin' kids, I guess.  (Well, a man
can't  spend all his time with his horse  - it ain't natcheral!)

Surely HERBE TRIMPE's finest inker was JOHN SEVERIN.
Just look at that splash page below.  GERRY TALAOC, who inked
the next two issues, did a great job (with  DAN BULANADI on #4) -
but, for me, Severin is the main man when it comes to inking Trimpe's
pencils.  Herb's art, great as it was, always looked better for having been
'kissed' by the pen or brush of the inordinately talented Mr S, who was
also a magnificent penciller in his own right.  I've yet to see a page of
art that wasn't enhanced by his inks.  Who could ever forget his fine
work on KULL The CONQUEROR with his sister MARIE
back in the '70s?

However, it's the Old West that we're interested in today.
So saddle on up and sashay on down to the ol' saloon - where
men were men and women were wild - and kids were well-
past their bedtime.







16 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I don't know why Rawhide Kid should sound gay but at least you didn't say "camp" as I really don't know what that means - apparently the '60s Bat-Man TV show was camp, I can see how it was all tongue-in-cheek and they were totally taking the p*ss, but camp..? Remember Camp coffee which came in a bottle as a liquid, I never see it now but maybe it still exists.

Kid said...

CJ, I only recently found out that 'milkboy' has some kind of gay connotation. I always thought it was the lad who delivered my milk, but what do I know? The fact that Rawhide Kid had been retconned as gay was probably in the back of my mind as I typed the folder name, but 'raw hide' does sound a bit 'Brokeback Mountain' anyway. See how my innocent outlook has been corrupted? And me, Percy Pureheart. (Come to think of it, 'Percy' sounds a bit gay as well. Argh! Where will it all end?)

Standby4action said...

I'm no expert but doesn't #3 look like Gil Kane had some sort of hand in it? I checked and Comics.org says I'm wrong. I remember Pollard's work from his early days on the Legion but then I left comics behind. Did he move more into Kane type drawing? But then the others illustrated here don't look too like Kane

Kid said...

I'd think if it was signed by Keith Pollard, it's more than likely to have been drawn by him, but he may have used one of Kane's pics of Conan on horseback (or an actual Western pic) as reference, in much the same way that Rich Buckler and Ron Frenz used to 'reference' Kirby in their work. You're right 'though - it does have echoes of Kane about it, now that you mention it.

vwstieber said...

The mini-series in which he was ostensibly outed was called "Slap Leather". Illustrated to perfection by John Severin (!), it is equal parts part camp comedy, "Shane", and "Support Your Local Sheriff". The Kid is treated as a human being and with dignity. Guest stars include the boys from "Bonanza". It's a great read that I can highly recommend, even if you don't like ret-con books.

Kid said...

I'm a big fan of John Severin, but the basic idea of the series is not one I could accept. It wouldn't be the Rawhide Kid I know, and therefore not one in which I could generate an interest. Never mind 'though, I still have my Kull the Conqueror issues when I want to admire Severin's art - and my S.H.I.E.L.D. Masterworks volume.

vwstieber said...

Ya know, Kid, SLAP LEATHER should have been published under a big, fat WHAT IF...? banner. Now THAT would have been a ballsy move! (pun intended)

Kid said...

What if...they just left the characters as they were conceived by their creators? Nah, you're right - too radical!

vwstieber said...

I love it! What a novel concept. Superman would jump tall buildings in a single bound, Spiderman would not be not his not-clone (or what-the-hell-ever-he-is), Batman would smile.

It'll never sell.

BTW, I absolutely love classic Western Comics. I can read 1950s Lone Ranger all day. Bonanaza, Bat Masterson. No weird psychology or oddball subtext, just simple fun stories. Comfort food for the mind.

Kid said...

Ah, but Superman flying is 'character evolution' - Johnny Bart/Clay changing his sexuality is another thing entirely. Batman smiling? Och, stop being silly. Who do you think he is - Adam West?

vwstieber said...

Adam West is the Mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island. He throws cats at people. That's why he smiles.

What was this post about again?

Kid said...

Cripes, I dunno! Was it Bonanza?

Marionette said...

What's the harm with reinterpreting an old, minor character as gay? I thought it was tastefully done, and with a great sense of humour.

And compared with the bleak, dystopian killers that so many of DC's brightest have been retconned into, I know which comic I'd prefer to read.

Kid said...

Because it p*sses on the history of the strip. They should have introduced a new character if they wanted to do a series about a gay cowboy. Apparently the Human Torch in the next FF movie is being retconned as black, which I'm also against. Just as I would be, incidentally, if they turned T'Challa or Luke Cage into white guys. I want the characters I grew up with to be the same ones I knew when I was younger.

By the way, M, it probably won't be long before publishers turn bleak, dystopian killers into gay bleak dystopian killers.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I'll need to look out that limited series for the Severin - Trimpe collaboration the splash page look great - I'm a big Severin (and Severin /Trimpe) fan just cant fault the guys work (imho). The "gay" series was really good, I have no interest in the actual Rawhide Kid character (rarely read an issue as not a massive Western fan - bar Jonah Hex that is) so it was open season for me although fans of the character may have been annoyed but hey it was done really well (great Severin art and a fun story )

Kid said...

A character called 'Kid' who's gay? Far too unbelievable for me, McScotty - it could never happen. ("It was nice, but I didn't like it!" as Al Murray would say.) On a serious note 'though, I think I like my heroes to be extensions of myself - people I can relate to, or who I'd want to be. Therefore, aside from not having an interest in such themes, a gay cowboy is not someone to whom I think I could relate as the lead character in a story. Yeah, yeah, I know - it's only a comic. But as Popeye says - "I yam what I yam!" (Ooer, they nicked that one for themselves as well, didn't they?)

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