Some old western frontier names have a way of outliving the people who made them famous. For every Wild Bill Hickok or Calamity Jane whose legends live on in pop culture history, there are several real-life Two-Gun Kids or Rawhide Kids who have faded into obscurity — even as the names they used slowly attained a sort of American pop culture immortality. When the Rawhide Kid debuted in comics in 1955, it was far from the first time the name had been used in real history or in pop culture, but Marvel has made the name their own in the decades since then. There's a Rawhide Kid #1 (Marvel, 1955) CGC VG/FN 5.0 White pages up for auction in this week's 2021 July 25-26 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122130 from Heritage Auctions.
While I doubt this was the first time the name had been used, a notice in a Nebraska newspaper in 1889 detailed the misadventure of an outlaw known as the Rawhide Kid in that era. It seems that a detective had chased this Rawhide Kid through two states over the theft of a horse. At the time, it was expected that the horse thief would soon be caught, and this version of the Rawhide Kid quickly faded into obscurity. A subsequent female Rawhide Kid had a more prominent career as a professional rodeo rider shortly after the turn of the century. A number of other rodeo riders and equestrian performers seem to have followed her example in the usage of the name.
But the name really hit the pop culture landscape with the now-lost 1928 silent western film The Rawhide Kid starring Hoot Gibson. A few years later, the name surfaced as a moderately successful pulp character in Dime Western Magazine stories by T.T. Flynn beginning in 1935.
Westerns became popular again in the post-WWII era with the rise of television. Notorious comic book publisher Victor Fox, his comic book days almost over by this time, attempted to finance a Hoot Gibson television show in 1950 to go along with the Gibson comic book he was publishing. Marvel had eased into westerns during the late 1940s with the likes of Tex Morgan, Tex Taylor, and Wild Western. By the 1955, the Marvel western line included a number of Kids: Apache Kid, Kid Colt Outlaw, Outlaw Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Western Kid, Ringo Kid, and Rawhide Kid.
Of these, the characters Two-Gun Kid and Rawhide Kid have best stood the test of time. One of Marvel's most important western characters, there's a copy of the debut of the Rawhide Kid in Rawhide Kid #1 (Marvel, 1955) CGC VG/FN 5.0 White pages up for auction in this week's 2021 July 25-26 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122130 from Heritage Auctions.
#1 (Marvel, 1955) CGC VG/FN 5.0 White pages. Kid, his horse Apache, and sidekick Randy begin. Wyatt Earp appearance. Joe Maneely cover and splash page. Overstreet notes, "#1 was not Code approved." Overstreet 2020 VG 4.0 value = $420; FN 6.0 value = $630. CGC census 7/21: 10 in 5.0, 15 higher.