Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Pre-Lee K.C. Big Three

Kic Colt 1 'I'll cut ya ta doll-rags'

A month or so ago darkmark asked if I could put a name to the Kid Colt writer who used "I'll cut ya ta doll-rags" in a handful of stories--it's in the Kid's first appearance, in KC 1, as seen here. I couldn't then, but as I've pored over the early Kid Colt, I found that writer--he has a sneak along with artist Russ Heath in a newspaper in the story in Wild Western 7 (May/49). (WW and a number of other titles contain enough Kid Colt stories for yet another post after this one devoted to his own title.)

Ernie Hart (he signed himself E.H. Hart in the Forties) doesn't use the doll-rags expression in that particular story, but it matches up with the style I'd found for many of the early ones. There are a few stories in Kid Colt Outlaw that I can't convince myself yet are Hart's--for instance, "The Giant of the Badlands" in #4 is the only one to use "Sufferin' coyotes"; "Death Waits in the Shadows" in #8 is the only one to use past-tense captions throughout.

The next major writer on the character, Leon Lazarus, is easy to spot when he uses expressions like "By Judas" and "'Sta la vista" but when he doesn't, his style and Joe Gill's are rather similar. However, Lazarus tends to call Kid Colt "the outlaw" in captions whereas Gill generally calls him "the Kid."

As in Gunsmoke Western, when KCO returned after the Atlas Implosion there were enough Joe Gill stories on hand to fill two more issues (75 and 76) before Stan Lee had to take over writing the strip.

Carl Wessler is credited in the Who's Who with stories in 1957 for Kid Colt as well as The Kid from Dodge City, The Kid from Texas, Kid Slade, and the Outlaw Kid, but I believe his stories will turn out to be non-series Western backups in those characters' titles. UPDATE: Robin Snyder tells me that per Wessler's records, he had one story in this title: "This Man Is Wanted," the backup in #76 (Jan/58).

Kid Colt Outlaw writers

Aug/-Dec/48 1-3  all Kid Colt stories E. H. Hart
Feb/49 Six-Gun Deadline Hart
Fight or Crawl, Outlaw Hart
Bushwhacker's Boomerang Hart
May/-Nov/      5-7  all Kid Colt stories except text Hart
Feb/50 Ambush in Lone Valley Hart
May/     The Man from Nowhere Leon Lazarus
The Meanest Man in the World Hart
A Matter of Pride Lazarus
Secret of the Hidden Mine Lazarus
The Gun-Shy Sheriff Lazarus
July/     10  all Kid Colt stories Lazarus
Oct/     11  Captured by Comanches Lazarus
Jan/51-Aug/53 12-29  all Kid Colt stories Lazarus
Sep/     30  [The Young Outlaw] Joe Gill
[Mission of Vengeance] Lazarus
[The Sword of Vengeance] Lazarus
Oct/     31  all Kid Colt stories Lazarus
Dec/     32  [A Dangerous Woman] Gill
[Peaceful Valley] Gill
Death Rides the Stage Lazarus
Jan/54–Jan/58 33-76  all Kid Colt stories Gill


  1. I found another "Cut you to doll-rags" bit in a later WILD WESTERN in the middle of Lazarus's run. Think it's Hart?

  2. Steel is called a steeldust stallion in it too, which was mostly Hart's way of describing him, so although this would be Hart's only KC story in past tense (I think), that "doll-rags" does look definitive.

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