Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Number 1587: “I’ll be hornswoggled!” The lady blacksmith and the tall cowboy.

Wayne Hart rides into the town of Lodestone looking for a blacksmith. He finds that and his true love in the same person, Edie Ford.

Since this is a love comic book, Cowboy Love, pardners, you know that the road to love will be mighty bumpy, and the roadside lined with owlhoots and sidewinders lookin' to get what Miss Edie’s uncle left her. There’s a rich guy dressed fancy who hires Wayne to do the dirty work, but Wayne double-deals him with his true payoff in mind...the hand of Miss Edie.

This is the second story I’ve shown recently where a Western woman is doing a “traditional” man’s job. In an earlier post, Pappy's #1157, she is the sheriff. In that story her fella takes her job and puts her in the home as his wife. I’m not sure that happens here with Wayne and Edie since the ending is left open on that subject, but I know what I’d be thinking about a blacksmith woman if I were Wayne: “Do I want a wife with Popeye arms who could pick me up and toss me like a cowchip?”

“Love’s Last Stand” is scanned from a reprint in Cowboy Love #28 (1955). It was originally shown in issue #2 (1949). Cowboy Love is one of the titles picked up by Charlton in 1953 when they bought up the rights to Fawcett’s non-Marvel Family comics. In his notes for issue #2 comic art-spotter Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr credits Marc Swayze with the art.


Daniel [] said...

I see a title “Cowboy Love” and I think that the publisher was flailing-around blindly. It's a wonder that Fawcett produced 11 issues of it, and Charlton 4

Don't get me wrong. I think that love was and remains an under-utilized theme in comic books centered around heroic crime-fighters. But I'm pretty sure that overtly marketting comic books as Love Tales of Crime-Fighters reflects a misunderstanding of the audiences.

(Granted that cowboys needn't be crime-fighters, but Rodeo Enchantment and Round-Up Romance! aren't good for many issues either, regardless of what thst trouble-maker, the Apocolyte, is about to insist.)

Pappy said...

Daniel, mixing popular genres makes sense to me, and for its era it seems like a can't-miss to combine Western and romance. (Ranch Romances was one of the most long-running pulp magazines being published, which showed the idea was viable.) There might have been just too many comic book titles on the market. Perhaps Cowboy Love got lost amongst the crowd.

Brian Barnes said...

I have to say this one was a bit more exciting than most of the romance stories, which I usually read for the sheer misogyny of it, and then just flubs it at the end.

I know a lot of westerns end with the cavalry riding in, but the marshall is an unknown, so there's no investment in him saving the day.

... and I can think of a ton of alternatives that would have been more exciting ...

Why not use her black smith skills to build an armored buggy ala the A-Team, storm out there, kill the evil rich guy, and his thugs scatter? Yes, that's not really possible but it is a comic and that would have been a bit more exciting then "waiting it out."

Don't give me romance comics mixed with other genres if one of the genres is going to get the short end of the stick!

Daniel [] said...

Ranch Romances was not simply long-running; it held onto a pulp format (as opposed to punting to digest size) into the early mid-'50s; it might have been the last pulp standing. But, although comic books successfully drew much from the pulps, there wasn't an equivalence of their audiences.

Maybe had it launched much earlier, when attitudes towards and audiences for comic books were still being formed — or maybe with first-order artists and placement away from the other comic books — Cowboy Love could have done well.

rnigma said...

EC's "Saddle Justice" eventually morphed into "Saddle Romances."

Pappy said...

Since I can't think of anything more to say on the subject, I'll just say thanks for the comments, guys!