Comic Books · Golden Age · Marvel

1954, Jan

Black Rider 20

It appears that Marvel was playing with how the Black Rider looks right now because he has another change in appearance already. Now he wears a hood with holes for his eyes.

1

Okay, Black Rider is being charged with high treason, and being sentenced to death. Now we may not know what the hell is going on, but we can guess this is all some sort of misunderstanding, or a setup. As he is tossed in  a cell he is to pray for the lives of thirty-six people he had betrayed, and Black Rider thinks ‘I don’t mind dying, but not as a traitor! Who did this to me? How was it done?’ and finally a flashback begins. Black Rider is watching as a group of outlaws is chased from Texas into New Mexico, and thinking how now they’ll just have a new group of people to terrorize. He lightly scolds the men for not caring about their neighbors and rides on.

We now jump to the men who we saw being run out, and others who had been before hand. They know they can’t go at it alone and decide to gang up, and soon there is nowhere safe in New Mexico, as they blaze a trail of destruction. When some of them ride into Leadville (where Doc lives) Doc is asked to fight with the other men, but he refuses because of his oath. Of course he somehow feels that his Hippocratic oath doesn’t apply to the Black Rider, and changes to fight. He arrives before his townsmen, and cleans up the invaders.

Next we see he is talking with some bigwig he calls colonel. He tells the Rider that all of the west is filled with rannys like the ones he took out and asks him to help take them out. He sends him to a man who would lend him men (and was supposed to lead them but was super drunk). Knowing where the leaders of the entire gang are (he doesn’t explain how) he takes some troops and ride for the hideout. Doc takes out the sentries and they ride into the Hallow where the leaders were supposed to be, to find no one there, and once trapped, the criminals descend upon the troops. Black Rider is able to fight clear, but the rest die.

We are back in the cell with Black Rider, who wonders who had leaked the info. He hears a whisper at his barred window and finds Bobby, the one person who knows his true identity. He tells the Rider that he heard the criminals were going to ‘blow the fort’ but no one would believe him as he is just a kid. He hands the Rider his guns, and Satan (Rider’s horse) pulled out the bars. Black Rider goes to the place the criminals were waiting to make their move and kills them. Then he is given an apology, as the drunk man who gave him the troops was the real traitor (never says how this is exposed).

2

Black Rider is against a wall before a firing squad, but as the countdown begins someone leaps over the wall, and shoots those who were about to shoot the Rider. He grabs his guns, and the stranger leads him to Satan and together they flee. When they gather with the man’s friends they explain just what is going on. Apparently a ‘god’ (I doubt it this early, and in this sort of tale) appeared in a temple and threatened the people with famine and illness if they did not give him gifts. All who rebelled against this god were killed, and it was the gang of cutthroats that were going to kill Black Rider that enforced everything for the god.

So Black Rider goes with the people when they enter the temple, pretending to be bearing gifts for the fake god. A riot breaks out and the leader of the cutthroats runs free and BR goes after him. Obviously he kills him and the town is free of their fake god.

Two-Gun Kid

Two-gun stand before another man, hands on hilts, ready to draw. Around him snipers were also ready to shoot the western hero. Before they draw a flashback begins, and we see him astride his steed, about to enter a place called Sagemore City. A bullet narrowly missed him, and he shoots the offending gun out of a young boy’s hands. He had mistaken Two-gun for a killer named Black Bart (the man he is about to duel pre flashback) who had been hired to kill his pa. He, doesn’t wait for an explanation though and runs back into town to warn the people.

While the townsfolk try to run him out he gets greeted by the man who had hired Bart, and gives him the lowdown. Two-gun approaches the man Bart is meant to kill, and explains that he is not Bart, and it is proven soon when the real one arrives. He told the man to take his son and flee, and he faced down the man he had been mistaken for. Black Bart was nothing to our lad, and the rest of his posse was taken out by the angered townsfolk. Then the man who hired Bart tried to sneak up on Kid. He didn’t last long. Two-gun rode out as the battle dwindled.

Black Rider

Back to the main character I guess. Black Rider is being shown along by a Native chief, where all the wildlife has mysteriously vanished. The chief worries for his people, but the Black Rider promises the white men will not let the tribe starve. Returning home Doc petitions his town to lend aid to their neighbors, to resounding ‘ayes’. We then cut to a group of strangers who are driving the last herd of buffalo in the area away. When that is done the people sit down and talk about how they are planning on starving ‘them redskins’ off of their own land.

Black Rider isn’t done looking into the problem though and finds the watering hole that was used by the herd that was just run off, and follows the tracks. Guarding the pass through which they had run the animals, they talk about how the Comanches were unable to get enough food from Leadville and were moving. They planned to ambush an kill the entire tribe, the bastards. But having followed the buffalo the Black Rider had heard all of this and was able to launch an attack at the foul men.

The noise of him taking out the guard brings the rest of the gang, but they too are no match for the Rider. He then blows a load of dynamite to cause a stampede, bringing the herd back to their lands.

Comic Books · Golden Age · Marvel

1953 Dec

Kid Colt Outlaw 32

Colt is just riding along, heading to a nearby town when bam! a bullet flies by him. They keep coming too, making the gunman increase his speed. Oddly the bullets don’t chase him from the town but toward it, and when he arrives the gunfire stops and there is no one to be seen. He heads to the saloon for answers, and finds two, right across from each other. He chooses one and heads inside.

Those inside ask themselves if a gunman had been hired, and when they decide he’s not theirs they attack. Colt pulls his guns on them and demands answers. They explain there is another group that wants to take their land, but as they speak the leader of this other group enters and she says it’s the other way around. Taken by her beauty Colt goes with her. I think he’s just faking to get the real lowdown, but even if he’s not he is soon put on guard by the fact her foreman and ‘straw boss’ (what the heck is that?) are well known killers and thieves.

She takes him to her ranch and it seems she owns most of the valley herself. She explains it is because of her fighting back against the others. But he is fully awakened to the situation when she ordered he men to start a fire and burn some of the horses owned by one of her neighbors. He refuses to stand for it and tires to leave only to be shot at as he retreats. He goes back to the ranches saloon and tells them of the fire. They send men to put it out, however they refuse to take any help from Colt as they know the woman will know, and have reason to crush them.

Then the woman and her men file into town, and so Kid is set against them, alone. In a hail of bullets and full of anger he slays them all, except the woman. As he leaves Colt hopes she doesn’t use her great beauty to twist the men of the valley any further.

2

We open with Colt facing off against not just one, but three gunmen, all prepared to kill. Thankfully a flashback starts in panel two, so we can actually know what is going on. He was running from a posse, I assume lawmen and civilians who don’t know of his good heart but only the crimes of which he is accused. He heads into a cave to make a final stand where none get behind him. But rather than a cave, it is a tunnel, and when he comes put the other side he passes out from blood loss.

When he wakes he is in a bed with a woman watching over him. She calls for her father when she sees he has awoken, and groggily he asks where he is. He is in a small Quaker village, rarely entered by outsiders, they tell him he will not need his guns here. As he recovers he finds himself longing for this simple life, and falls for the woman who had nursed him. But a peaceful life is something that Kid Colt will never have, and as he settles in a group of dangerous men enter his new home.

It is the three we saw him having a standoff with before the flashback, and they want to use the peaceful and hard to find place as a hideout. Upon seeing them he rushes back to the house for his guns. Both the woman and his father beg him not to take up his weapons again, bu he knows that in order to maintain their life he must. The battle is swift, and soon the other outlaws lie dying in the road, and Colt rides on, feeling the woman he loves deserves better than he.

3

Two men sit in a carriage, one bundled and silent, while the other is nervous and suspicious. Oh, never mind change that it’s not two men. The bigger one is a gorilla, and he kills the other and then the driver. He then rides off with the carriage and the gold inside. Colt happens across the scene the next day and is accused of the crime by the sheriff, and is then thrown in jail. The man in cell with him had been accused of a very similar crime, done by a mass amount of strength, and a mass of money missing.

So they make their sheets into a rope and lasso a horse outside, then have it pull the bars off the window. Colt takes a ride in a carriage in the area and throws the other passengers out. The gorilla is driving the carriage. Not knowing that it is a mighty beast much stronger than he, Colt comes up behind it and tries to strangle it. The gorilla brings Colt to the hideout and his boss gets mad at him and whips him so the Gorilla attacks, and Colt shoots the gorilla after the boss is dead, and the crimes are ended.

Comic Books · Golden Age · Marvel

1953 Dec

Two-Gun Kid 11

I live in a town where the original railway went through, we still have the tracks, the train and all that and it goes for quite some distance, though nothing compared to the original length. I know it to be true, but it is still hard to fathom that it was men, not machines that made this long lasting mark upon my town. I mention this because, here we see these men, working diligently upon the comic pages. Worn out from the days work they head to the town that moves with the workmen. It is here we find the Two-Gun Kid, talking to the president of the railroad.

We learn of a real troublemaker, the barkeep of this traveling town. It’s not just that he keeps getting the men drunk so they don’t work as effectively the next day (that would be on the men) but he had actually killed and hired a man to kill the gunmen who were to guard the workers. The president wants Two-Gun to replace them as he knows he won’t be so easily taken. He wasn’t gonna do it, wanting someone of real authority to step in, but when he is openly threatened by the fool he signs on. He is warned that he is making a mistake, but somehow I don’t think it’ll be the kid who regrets that moment.

The president takes Kid around, pointing out the foreman, who he believes has sold out to the barman. Kid walks up to the man, introduces himself, and tells him he wants the men to stop drinking. He is laughed at, so Two-gun hits him, and they fight. Having trounced the foreman Kid notes how he is looking at the president’s daughter. The men agree not to go drinking, and Kid goes to scout the area. Soon the hired gunman of the barmans’s appears and tries to kill the kid. It was the foreman calling out a warning that saved him, allowing him to turn and shoot the man before he could be shot. Apparently he respects Two-Gun now and didn’t want to see him taken down in an ambush.

Riding away he muses on what he has learned, but before he can reach a conclusion he is lassoed. With that the barman and his men start a fight with him. Though he is outnumbered and surprised, he is fighting valiantly until a blow lands on the back of his head. The bastards took advantage of his momentary distraction and hold him down, and he had his dominant hand beaten to a pulp, but he refused to cry out. In the end the barkeep decided to give Two-Gun the rail way, by tying him to it. Once again it is the foreman who saves him, and this time Two-Gun asks why the man goes to drink all the time.

The foreman is in love with the president’s daughter, but she loves another, so he says. He says he drinks to drown that sorrow. Hand bandaged, he and the foreman ride for battle, calling the other workers with them. Kid easily bests the barman, who then pulls out a hidden gun, which forces Two-Gun to kill him. It was the barman the girl loved, and so she told him everything he needed to get the men to his bar, so he controlled the men, and therefore the pass. But at the end it seems like she is happy with the foreman even though her lover was killed in the panel right before that- I find that off even if she was just written as the prize to be won by the foreman’s good deeds.

2

El Toro rides into a Taos and proclaims it is now his. All who resist are killed. But I wouldn’t worry too much- both because I’ve been to Taos, and secondly because Two-gun Kid happens to be heading that way. As he travels he is warned of the man now ruling the town, but wanting a cool drink he pushes on anyway. One of the fleeing men, Pancho, joins him. They two ride up to a well and Two-gun asks for water. They fight him, as they are already bored, but it was only the leaders whip that truly turned the tide enough so he was captured. Pancho tries to save him by holding them, up but he has no gun. As they laugh their grip slackens so Two-gun can pull free and he and Pancho are able to duck into an alley.

Quietly the two begin to go through the town, killing the gunmen as they did so. Soon there were only four left. So he steps out of the shadows and guns them down as swiftly as a serpent. And he drinks greedily from the well.

Black Rider

A judge is berating the jury for being too cowardly to convict an outlaw. the Black Rider comes in and says to swear him in an he’ll testify. So he steps up and says a sad tale. A man who was being threatened by the accused and his men refused to give up his water rights and so was killed. The man’s son shot back, and was then killed himself. The jury declares the man guilty so His men stand up and start shooting up the courthouse. Doc dared not fight them in a crowd for fear of hitting an innocent and so waited until they left the building and then went after them.

The outlaw is tricky though and he manages to trick the rider onto a cliff with his tracks, and then set a fire between the hero and himself, blocking Doc in. But they had underestimated the Rider’s horse, and Satan manged to clear the flames before him. And he shot the outlaws off the cliff he had been trapped upon.

Two-Gun Kid

Out riding one day Two-gun sees a hold up, and so jumps in to stop it. He is able to save the man in the carriage, who is a fighter going to a match in a nearby town. The man did gain an injury though, which made the fight impossible. Because the driver was also injured Two-gun brings them to town. It seems a rough place, people brawlin in the street, and the like. But when they settle before the inn the fighter’s girlfriend pretends that Two-gun is the fighter; asking him to please play it her way. She had heard that people planed to kill her fiance in the ring that night. But when she finds out he can’t fight anyway, she tries to take it back. But the sheriff is determined, otherwise he know his town will riot.

Ignoring the draw guns all around him Two-gun draws, and shoots them all weaponless. He tells them he’ll fight, partly cause the girl wanted him too at first, but mostly because he wants to know what is going on. The fight was a tough one, but it was ended to early as a shot meant for Two-gun met his opponent. Having heard the gun he knew it was an automatic, which apparently told him something. Well we find out what that is in the next panel when the fighter’s manager and girl come in with guns, set to kill Two-gun. Apparently they had bet heavily on the fighter’s loss, and would have done anything to reap their reward. Again Two-gun disarmed them with bullets and then left town, leaving the gamblers in the hands of the sheriff.

Comic Books · Golden Age · Marvel

1953 Dec

Young Men 24

Ah it is good to see these faces again. Not that I don’t like their westerns, but these characters are good in a different way. A more Marvel way in my opinion. So without further ado:

Human Torch

The Torch burns through the wall and goes after a gang, who cry out in confusion saying that it couldn’t be him as they had buried the torch in the desert years before. (remember, in this time period Comics were always supposed to go in time with real time, so his long disappearance had to be explained.) He then gives and explanation of his powers, control over flame, and a mean punch.

They spray him with the chemical they had used before to turn off his flame, which for some reason they have on them even though they thought they were free of him for good. Seer force of will made him flame on again, an immunity was built against the substance. He takes out the crooks, the go to jail, and he is welcomed back to the living and begins to search for his sidekick- Toro.

It then retells his origin, and that of Toro as well. If you don’t know it you can either go to the first post where they are tagged, or look it up. It also shows some highlights of their years fighting crime, and finally gets to why they vanished. As we know they were sprayed with the chemical so their flame went out, and The torch was taken to the desert where he was buried for four years. He was only freed when and atomic explosion near his grave somehow allowed him to flame on again. He then asks the crime boss wherehe took Toro, and not nicely.

As a trade for the flame killing chemical, they had given Toro to a country behind the iron curtain. He quickly heads to where streaks of fire had been reported in the sky in Korea. He finds Toro, but he yells things about the Torch being an enemy of communism and they begin to fight. Torch knocks him out and bring him back to America where the Torch is told he was brainwashed. (No duh)

As this is going on a man bursts in and tells the Torch that his daughter was kidnapped and he was the ransom. So Jim heads to a specially prepared steel coffin, and seals himself in. Later a helicopter picks in up and drops it in the sea. As the copter leaves, Toro rushes on scene, proclaiming how glad he was the shock treatment had cleared his mind. He dives after the casket and unseals the coffin with a white hot finger. Together they free the girl, capture the crooks and vow to continue their fight against crime.

Captain America

Okay quick reminder before we begin. The characters here are called Steve and Bucky, but they are later retconned to be William and Jack.

Okay, so their fighting the Red Skull in a video, and the Red Skull is telling his men they are dead, elsewise he wouldn’t dare act upon his new scheme where he’ll be working with the reds. Then we cut to William/Steve in his class room where he happens to be teaching his students about Captain America. So we hear a retelling of his origin, look it up if you don’t know it. Bucky/Jack gets in a fight because the kids don’t believe there was such a person as Cap. Then he begs William to take the mantle back up, but is told that there is no longer a need for the star spangled hero.

Just then there is a radio bulletin about the Red Skull holding the U.N. hostage, and Jack helpfully pulls out their costumes, which he had been keeping in the backseat of the car all this time. So they bust in through the window, kick ass, are hailed as heroes and decide to restart their lives as crimefighters.

Sub-Mariner

One island has six shipwrecks happen near it in the span of one week, so the begin routing traffic away from the place. When divers are sent to look over the ships they find that all the equipment has been stripped from them. Betty Dean reads about this in the newspaper and decides to contact her old friend the Sub-mariner. (A retelling of origin again) She tells how after the war he decided to go back to his people, and rebuild his empire. He arrives, and she gives him the lowdown. A few days later the two are parachuting onto the island. Since all the land was pillaged and burned Namor goes Underwater.

He finds robots peeling everything from the ships. Once on shore he tells Betty to call the government, but her call is dismissed as a joke. So Namor goes back under and starts fighting the robots. He allows himself to be captured so he can find the leader, as just taking out the machines will do nothing in the long run. He is taken to a larger robot, who is from Venus. He shakes off his ‘captors’, traps all of them in a trap with only one exit til they ask to be let to go home. He keeps one, so to explain to the humans, and all the rest go home.  At least that was the plan but the leader blows itself up and all the rest die. When crews return to confirm Namor and Betty’s story they find no evidence of what took place.

Comic Books · Golden Age · Marvel

1953 Nov

Black Rider 19

A tailor is asked to make a new outfit for the Black Rider, and he gladly does so only to find it was not the real Rider who came to pick it up, but a group of criminals. The tailor protests, and tries to take his work back, but he is old and outnumbered. They take him to the desert to die. Doc Masters gets called to see the tailor’s wife the next day as she is in a state about her husband going missing. He is given a note that says he’s going off with the Black Rider, but obviously Doc knows this is bullshit. He finds the poor tailor, who manages to tell Masters what had happened before submitting to his wounds and lack of water.

Soon tales of  the Black Rider turning to crime bleed across the land, and only those who know him best refuse to believe it. The crook made a big mistake though when he went for the Lathorp’s ranch. Bobby, being the only one who knows that Doc Masters is the Rider, went to confront him after the fake kidnapped his sister. Doc, being in love with Marie (Its a very Superman/Lois/Clark relationship) runs to her aid. The fake is shocked by how quickly his men were taken down. He shot the man’s guns out of his hands wanting to beat him with his bare hands, and then he tossed the fake over a cliff.

2

One day a Comanche man brings his son in to see Doc Masters, as his son had been bitten by a rabid wolf, and was dying. But supplies are low in this tiny western town, and there was not enough to cure the boy, even if there was time remaining. He gives the boy the first shot, and studies hard the next few days to see if there was anything that could yet save him. He found that a crude vaccine could be made from the brain of the diseased creature that had first bitten the child. And so he changed to the Black Rider, and set out to find the beast. He finds the poor creature and after a fierce battle, that the sickened wolf could never have won, Doc is able to cure his patient.

Two-Gun Kid

Long time no see Two-Gun! It might have even been before I started this blog! Well anywho; he is one of the fastest guns in the west. At the first of the tale he has been challenged, and soundly beaten another man in this skill. One of the watchers commented “Two bullets in the heart and only one hole. Brother that’s shooting.” So Two-Gun decides to outride his reputation, not wanting people to keep seeking him out, or else looking at him with fear. But, even far from those who know of him he winds up face to face with trouble.

He is mistaken for a rustler, but one of the men calms his brother, pointing out the our gunhawk could easily have killed them both instead of shooting the guns from their hands. Well maybe he wasn’t that far away. The young boy on the ranch idolized the Two-Gun Kid. How much you want to bet this ends up as a ‘convince the kid an outlaw is an evil scum bastard you don’t want to be that’ tale. Also, I think the angry Brother is one of the rustlers. He wants his nephew and brother to leave town, try to make a home for themselves somewhere else.

But Two-Gun can never stand to see people in such a state and promises to bring back the cattle. As he rides he berates himself on doing this to himself again, but he can’t brood long as he soon finds a sentry and takes him out. He was able to kill the rest of the gang by causing a stampede of the stolen cattle. I think that was quite just. And Booyah! I was right the brother was evil! All Two-gun had to prove i was a chewed upon stick, like the man had a habit of doing but he confessed right off and tried to kill Two-Gun. Our boy knocks the gun out of his hand and pummels him. Hm, I mean in the end the kid did understand that the life of an outlaw isn’t fun, but it wasn’t the center of the story. Cool.

Black Rider

A carriage was ambushed on its way to its destination, unluckily for the attackers the Black Rider saw this occur. He raced over and took out all the men. He then stopped the carriage horses from their crazy bolt, and opened the door to find a woman. As she has passed out he takes her to Doc Masters, chamges identity and cares for her. Marie saw the Rider go in and so investigates. Though he is now in normal clothes she feels a twinge of jealously when she sees how he is looking after the strange woman. Oddly she doesn’t seem nervous or startled about her ambush, just askew for her purse. When Did checks what is inside he finds a small gun. Later that night he goes to check up on the woman, only to find she is gone. Marie has decided to leave town (because she was jealous? I dont really know it doesn’t make sense as thw only reason) and Doc, worried about her traveling alone, with a carriage transporting gold, joins her. Hos misgivings were not for naught, as soon enough high jackers ambushed them. Surprises of surprises it is the lady patient who leads the crew. Because of his kindness she allows him to walk, but she keeps Marie. As soon as he is far enough away he changes clothes, and calls his steed. He rode into the group, killing many. Only Marie and the woman live, to be taken back to town.

Comic Books · Golden Age · Marvel

1953 Oct

Kid Colt Outlaw 31

We start off seeing Colt asking some folks for some water. But the sneaky bastards give him whiskey instead. You may or may not know this but Colt does not drink. So he says some spiteful words and says he’s gonna get back at them. He meets up with them next while they are trying to get a clerk to give them Comanche lands. Colt manages to run them off but its not the last we see of them. We find that, since force didn’t work the gang decided to give the Comanche their whiskey, practically drowning them in the liquid. Then when they are properly sloshed they signed over their lands. When they came to claim their new lands, Kid was with his friend the chief, and he shot them all dead.

Sometimes I suffer while going through this age, but there is some real good stuff in the golden age too. I’m glad I came back and got to read these stories, and not just for the early stories of the people who I already love, or will be super important, but also for people like Kid Colt.

2

Here we see a man driving his horse toward a cliff. Colt jumps into action and bring manages to grab the reigns of the other man’s horse. The man curses him out for saving him, and explains that he is the sheriff of a town and he had lost his sight and was now useless. Colt tells him he can just turn in his badge, but the man says there is a gang in his town, who would wreck the town if they knew what the situation was. So Colt came up with a plan. He went into the saloon and picked a fight with the gang all, ‘only one man has ever out shot me’. Then the sheriff came in and Colt basically rolled over for him. He went peaceably to the jailhouse.

Now this scared the gang good, but they feared the loss of reputation more and decided to set up and ambush. They called Vance (the sheriff) out for a duel, and of course he and Colt changed clothes, so it was our boy out there. Sharp-eyed and quick as lightning he saw the ambush coming and ferociously fought back, managing to get the entire gang. At the end, Vance turned in his badge and told the full story to his town.

3

So- So cute! Colt is riding along and he sees that this town is searching for something, but he figures its not his business and moves on. Only for a kid to hold him at gun point a few moments later. We all know that Colt could shoot the gun out of his hand before the kid could pull the trigger. But he plays along, acts like the kid is one tough desperado, and gets the kid to join up with him to protect him from wolves and the like. In the dark of night the boy tells why he has left home, he was accused of an awful crime; stealing and entire barrel of candy! Well Colt convinces him to go home and face the music and goes with him. Well we see that everything is cleared up at once, others having confessed while he was away. There was a brief scuffle where the sheriff wanted to take Colt in, but he managed to weasel out of it.