Attention Disney Plus Executives! You’re missing out on an untapped source of new Marvel material. Not to mention, an untapped audience niche, those who crave a good Western. It’s time for a new Disney+ series based on the heroes of Mighty Marvel Western: the Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt Outlaw, and the Two-Gun Kid. And just for good measure, let’s throw in the Ringo Kid and Ghost Rider (the first one). Of course, the first big question: can you tell which one is which? So, Pop Quiz: Identify each of these “kids” and say one thing about them that makes them unique.
All Cowboys Look the Same to Me
I need to admit, all those Marvel cowboys looked the same to me. Before a recent bound volume pickup, I couldn’t distinguish the Rawhide Kid from Kid Colt Outlaw. If you asked me to name one difference between Two-Gun Kid and the Ringo Kid, I would have said one drummed for the Beatles. So, I understand if Disney executives (a) don’t think these characters have much name recognition and (b) NEVER HEARD OF THEM! Thus, let’s take a little time to highlight each of the Mighty Marvel Western characters. But before we do, I’ll direct you to Peter Daddone’s article on Sneaky Moves: Westerns. Evidence that Westerns MAY enjoy renewed interest as shown by Peter can only bolster my show pitch.
Kid Colt Outlaw
Let’s start with the cowboy that outlived the Western. Kid Colt Outlaw shot and fought his way through a thirty-one-year series run from 1948 to 1979 as a Timely, Atlas, and Marvel character. Oddly, the beloved period known as the Wild West is typically assigned from 1865 to 1895, only thirty years. Kid Colt not only endured longer that than the Wild West, but also past when the Western died in American media. (I admit I’m dramatizing a little, but Gunsmoke ain’t on TV anymore.)
Like a lot of other Western heroes, the sheriff wrongly accused Kid Colt of murder. That led to a life travelling from town to town righting wrongs and helping out the defenseless. The population of those Old West towns was as sparse as high grade copies of early Kid Colt comics. However, when available, low and mid grade copies from the fifties and sixties won’t force you to rob the stagecoach. A raw group of seven Kid Colt Outlaw comics from the fifties will probably sell near their appraised value of $275 in April through HA.
Notable Western artist Joe Maneely illustrated the cover of Kid Colt Outlaw 53 from 1955. That cover art sold for $20,315 three years ago. Three Bronze Age covers ranged in price from $3,600 to $6,600 in 2019. Western heroes don’t garner the interest of Spider-Man or the Hulk, even though these recent covers sales boasted art by Gil Kane and Herb Trimpe.
The backstory of the Rawhide Kid differed only a little from Kid Colt. But, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby revised the Rawhide Kid in 1960. In the first issue (17), this kid was smaller and more youthful. His daring and skills were not limited by his size (could be a little Spider-Man influence here).
High grade copies of Issue 17 are rarer than a saloon with no loudmouth bully. Only one CGC 9.2 and one CGC 9.4 exist as the highest graded copies. The 9.4 sold in 2020 for just under $21K.
Of course, a Mighty Marvel Western Disney Plus series would miss out if they didn’t include a spark plug like the Rawhide Kid. But with so many cowboys being drifters running from the law, would an anthology style series work better than a story limited to one town?
The Two-Gun Kid is the brainy tenderfoot turned hero. Matt Hawk came to the West to clean it up in the courts. He lives in one town, has a “sort of” girlfriend, and practices law. Unlike Kid Colt Outlaw and Rawhide Kid, the Two-Gun Kid wears a mask to protect his identity. The character Two-Gun Kid has been around since the late forties, but Matt Hawk rode into town in 1962 as an updated Marvel version.
A CGC 8.5 Two-Gun Kid 1 (1948) sold last February for a little less than two grand. A CGC 9.0 fetched more than three grand on the auction block last year. The 1960’s reboot in issue 60 almost seems rarer in high grade. Few graded comic sales have been reported. Ogden Whitney illustrated the cover of Two-Gun Kid 87. The 1967 oversized art sold in 2016 for over eight thousand dollars.
Other Mighty Marvel Western Gunslingers
Now, let’s speak directly to Disney Plus executives. Disney has plenty of reasons to hope that the superhero genre for movies and television persists and thrives. Cop and detective shows have been TV staple for decades. Will superheroes continue to captivate in the same way? In truth, we’ve had a good run so it wouldn’t surprise me if the viewing public is burned out five years from now. But the Marvel brand is not only superheroes. Could the Western make a comeback?
Besides the three characters from Mighty Marvel Western, what about some other interesting characters. Ringo Kid is one. I think an even better choice is the original Ghost Rider with art by Dick Ayers. Of course, the Wild West featured more than fictional heroes. Legends on both sides of the law also live in our imaginations. Any writer with imagination can weave Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, Jesse James, and the Earp brothers into these stories.
I hope this article comes out at High Noon. But if not, you’ve got until sundown to read some of my other articles like A Golden Age Hero’s Journey.