Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, August 12, 2017


Tim Holt, a youthful and athletic movie cowboy, was a good choice to have his own comic book.  Holt at one time had the fastest draw of any movie cowboy; he could draw his revolver in five frames of film, or just over one-sixth of a second.  He appeared in several major movies (The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Stagecoach, The Magnificent Ambersons, Stella Dallas, and My Darling Clemintine) but was more comfortable in B movies.  An expert rider, Holt eventually left the motion picture industry (except for rare instances) to own a rodeo.  He also had a dude ranch, was a home builder, a television host, and a radio executive.

From Boyd Magers' Comic Book Cowboys website:  "Just as Tim Holt's RKO post-war westerns were a cut above the other product of the day, so too were his ME (Magazine enterprises) comic books, every one of them drawn by prolific artist Frank Boole (born 1924) who got better as he went along.  Many stories were penned by Gardner Fox who became a fixture at DC."

Tim Holt #1 (actually numbered A-1 #14) appeared in April 1948.  (The A-1 numbering continued for another two issues; the fourth issue was tagged #4 and regular numbering was used in subsequent issues.)  In issue #20, Tim Holt took on the persona of Red Mask, who soon became more and more popular as a "western quasi-superhero."  As Red Mask began taking over the storylines, Tim's original sidekick Chito faded away.  By issue #42 (June-July 1954) the title of the comic book became Red Mask, which lasted thirteen issues, ending in #54.

In issue #36, Tim has to have a shooting contest with Redmask*.  How can he do that without revealing that the two are the same man?

In "Death Ride of the Iron Horse," Redmask risks his life to save a train from destruction.

And, "when a posse corners Redmask and a dozen bullets rip him apart -- whose is the grim, scarlet figure that comes riding across the plains to avenge 'The Killing of Redmask!"

Also, in "No Law in Little Bend," Marshal Rex Fury is acting oddly and letting lawlessness rule the town.  Turns out that owlhoots have changed his personality using "a special sorta drug, sumpthin' like marijuana.  It's drunk with coffee most times.  Taken in small steady doses, like you've been gettin' it, it makes fer lethargy.  Thuh user doesn't give a hand about what's happenin' about him..."  Now knowing what has been happening, Fury comes back as The Ghost Rider to catch the bad guys.  (This Ghost Rider, although he pretends to be supernatural, is not the later Marvel Comics Ghost Rider, who is.)


* In this issue Redmask id one word instead of two.  don't know why.