Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, May 5, 2019


The premiere issue of Ace Comics' Western Adventures features two stories about Bud Steele, The Cross-Draw Kid.  The Kid was created by Max Elkan and was the featured hero of eight adventures in all six issues of the comic book.  As a boy, bud watched his father gunned down by a bushwacker.  "[S]trapping on his father's guns, he took a vow to rid the west of all killers.  Years of intense practice perfected for him the lightning cross-draw which makes the fastest gunman seem to be slow-dragging his irons."

We first meet the Kid (flaming red hair and broad shoulders) after Patch-Eye (weasel-faced with a receding chin) , a rustler and murderer, is brought before a "hanging judge" who strangely dismissed the case against the villain despite the evidence.  Patch-Eye celebrates at the local saloon, inviting all to drink.  The Kid calmly refuses the offer, irritating the quick to anger killer.  The Kid executes a nifty martial arts move while seated at a chair, wrapping his legs around Patch-Eye's neck and flipping him across the saloon.  Patch-Eye charges at the Kid and the Kid beats the snot out of him.  Later the Kid rescues the judge's daughter who had been kidnapped and used as leverage against the judge.  A final showdown leaves Patch-Eye dead, his gang captured, and the Kid riding into the sunset and laying a harmonica with the judge's thanks for bringing law and order back to the town. 

"Injun Gun-Bait" has the Kid saving the daughter of a miner from a gang of killers determined to stop her from registering her father's mine.  In the last panel the Kid again rides off, playing his harmonica.

In "Double Trouble," Duke Buckland is framed by his enemies and forced to join a gang of bad guys who want to take over the Lazy C ranch.  We just now those silly bad guys will get their comeuppance, that Duke will avoid the law determined to catch him, and that Duke will ride off, leaving the starry-eyed rancher's daughter sighing in disappointment.

"Sheriff Sal" has Sally Starr appointed sheriff of the frontier town of Red Dog.  (The sleepy town is so quiet that no man wants the job, you see.)  When word got out that Red Dog had a gal sheriff, outlaw Nueces Callan the town's bank would be easy pickings for his gang.  The moral of this story is never underestimate the power of a sharp-shooting woman showing a lot of leg and wearing a fashionable red cowboy hat and riding a spirited horse named Big Red.  #womanpower  #didialreadyhashtagwomanpower

Also in this issue, "Sam Bass, the Two Gun Terror of Texas" (a 7-page biography of the real-life outlaw), "Slaughter on the Fourth of July" (the real-life story of outlaws Rattlesnake Jake Fallon and Longhair Owens and their 1884 murderous spree in Lewison, Montana), and a 2-page text story, "The Lost Bonanza" (another true story of the West).

All in all, a pretty impressive issue.  Too bad the title lasted only six issues.


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