Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The OTHER Kirby Rawhide Kid cover

Following up on my last post I've found another alternate Jack Kirby western cover, this time featuring the Rawhide Kid.

Kirby and Lee created a new Rawhide Kid when  the title was revived with issue 17, August 1960. Aided greatly by the original Rawhide Kid's artist, Dick Ayers, on inks, the new Kid was a success - a veritable James Cagney tough-guy in the west. Kirby worked on the strip for 16 issues, pulled away once he became more important on the super-heroes. He was followed by Jack Davis, Dick Ayers, Jack Keller and, for the longest run, Larry Lieber, who wrote and drew the strip continuously (with occasional fill-in stories by Dick Ayers, Werner Roth, and Paul Reinman) from # 42, October 1964, until # 115, April 1973 when it went all-reprint. Rawhide Kid finally rode into the sunset with issue # 151, May 1979.

Rawhide Kid # 20, Feb 1961, Kirby pencils; Dick Ayers inks

Issue #20 was Lee and Kirby's fourth Rawhide Kid issue. Kirby's cover image of the Kid became iconic, used often on pin-ups, a tee-shirt and cover symbol. The cover is a bit awkward in its construction, with the caption appearing between the Kid's foot and the badman. The lettering is also odd, clearly not the work of Artie Simek and not a recognizable style. What is interesting is that another cover was rejected, appearing for the first time (I'm guessing) at the Dutch company Classics/Williams, which also featured the unpublished Kid Colt cover, as seen in my last post.       


The Rawhide Kid appearing in Sheriff Classics # 997, 1968. Kirby pencils; Dick Ayers inks.

The rejected cover showed up seven years later at the Dutch company. I find this cover image more appealing than the published version. The Kid is the center figure, with only the criminals weapons and hands shown. Like the printed version, the background figures are fleeing. Why was this cover replaced? I can only speculate that Lee or Goodman wanted the villain to be seen.

But that's not the end of the story. The original cover WAS finally published in the states 15 years later, unnoticed and without fanfare.

Rawhide Kid # 136, Nov 1976.

As noted, Rawhide Kid had been a reprint title for a number of years, and the covers alternated between new art, usually by Gil Kane, and reprinted covers. Kirby stories and covers were used beginning with # 134, and while there were some alterations and relettering, they were recognizable as reprinted from the original run. When I first saw this cover I thought it might have been an image taken from the interior, but that was not the case. I was never 100% sure the image wasn't a blow-up from an earlier issue, but when I recently discovered that it appeared as early as 1968, complete with the Black-Jack Borden title, it confirmed that the cover was an unpublished version. 

Perhaps I'll find other such discoveries. If so, I'll be sure to share them here.           


Tony Isabella said...

Love this and the previous entry and will link to them in the comments section of today's bloggy thing.

Henry R. Kujawa said...

What I can never fathom is the lettering used on some foreign reprints, which is like anti-design. I know Ferran Delgado made a big deal of recreating lettering styles in Spanish that actually looked like the English fonts, but so few companies bother. Maybe they'd sell more if they kept things like logos CONSISTENT? (Yes, something I picked up in art school... so when I don't see it, it becomes glaringly obvious by its absence.)

JohnJ said...

One correction: new stories didn't end until #115, so the Kid was all reprints from #116 to the end.
#111 was a reprint of #41 and #112 was later reprinted in #144 but the other 3 were never reprinted. This is all researched from Mike's World of covers which I've been using to put together a run of the main stories utilizing reprints to save a few bucks.

Smurfswacker said...

I agree with Henry Kujawa about the lettering. The foreign cover doesn't work for me because the huge blank spot at the top dominates the composition. With the logo and captions in place (as Kirby obviously knew) the picture works just fine. I'm not too crazy about that brilliant blue shadow, though.

Nick Caputo said...


You're correct about RK 115 being the last new material issue. I knew that but made a typo. Thanks for the correction. I recently finished my Rawhide Kid collection, at least the issues from 17 to 115 (all the new material).

I didn't go into detail on the post, but Rawhide Kid began featuring reprints in alternate issues beginning with # 80, a cost-cutting device used in other titles like Sgt. Fury that period. Reprints were in 80, 82, 84 and 86,then returned to new stories, with reprints in 104, 107, and as you noted 111 and 112.

Nick Caputo said...


Thanks for the kind words. Henry and Smurfswacker, lettering on some of the foreign editions leave much to be desired, although I've seen instances where they were done decently. My favorite foreign edition reprint covers are those that eliminated all copy and word Baloons. Some of the 1970s material looks so much better without all the clutter.