Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, January 18, 2020


The Montana Kid is really Kid Montana, whose name was switched around on the cover of issue 344 (January 1964).  The change was for the cover only -- the indicia and the stories continued to call the hero Kid Montana.  Why?  Who knows?

The comic book started out as Davy Crockett, Frontier Fighter, cashing in on the popularity of the Disney character portrayed by Fess Parker.  Since Davy Crockett was a real-life person, there was nothing to stop Charlton Comics from using the name for one of their own comic books.  As fads fade, so did the marketability of Davy Crockett, so Charlton changed the book with issue #9 (November 1957) to Kid Montana and introduced a completely new hero.  Wait.  Did I say "completely new"?  The name and image may have been new but the concept was pretty old hat -- a man is wrongly accused of being an outlaw, yet he travels the west doing good things and helping people.

Charlton editor Par Masulli created the character; Rocke Mastroserio was the original artist.  In late 1961 Pete Morisi took over the artist's chair, aging the Kid by giving him gray streaks in his hair (a la Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four).

Montana Kid/Kid Montana lasted longer than other western comic book characters, making his last appearance in March 1965 (issue #50).

Issue #47 features two adventures of the Kid.

"The Hostage" has Kid Montana hired as a meat-hunter for the cavalry.  While elk hunting with Colonel Mike O'Dowd the pair are attacked by Sioux Indians, and O'Dowd is captured while Kid Montana is left unconscious on the frozen ground.  O'Dowd is loved by his men but is hated by the Sioux.  O'Dowd's men suspect the Kid was involved the colonel's capture.  The Kid has to lead the army's hunt for O'Dowd while preventing rash officers from leading them into a trap, as well as preventing the army from blaming and punishing him.

The "New King of Brimstone" is Kid Montana.  Brimstone was a robber's roost, led by the brutal Abe Kincaid.  When the Kid rode into town, he was challenged by Kincaid but the Kid's gun was faster.  The outlaws in the town called the Kid their new king and, as such, the Kid was entitled to a share of all the illegal loot and goods in the town.  The owlhoots did not realize that the Kid had been sent investigate the activity in Brimstone by Sheriff John Baker.  Now the worst of the outlaws plan to attack Reed City and it's up to "King" Montana stop the gang and avoid innocent bloodshed.

Also in this issue is "An Invalid Dies," a five page tale that has supposed invalid come west to die so that his family might be spared sorrow.  Cruelly left alone in the wild by his evil cousin, Gerald Watkins learns that he is not as much an invalid as he thinks.  From fending off a pack of wolves to becoming a fierce hunter and fighter, he finds his true self.

Enjoy this issue.  It's pretty predictable but also pretty entertaining.

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