Friday, August 22, 2003
Whip Crack Away
When I was a lad in a Northern town, I collected what we then called "American Comics", and which I think we're now supposed to call graphic novels, or some similar silliness. I loved dropping round Mr McKenzie's newsagent every month to catch up on the latest goss from Gotham, or the mayhem down Metropolis way. Back then I never analysed Bruce's night-time adventures with his Dick, or the real reason muscle-Mary Clark kept saying no to Lois. Anyway, I identified much more with Catwoman - a loner, living outside the law, shy pussy-cat on first encounter, later a tiger who'll scratch your eyes out to get her own way.
Round about my thirteenth birthday, I decided to become a responsible adult and chuck out all six hundred or so of my Marvel and DC comics, saving just my half-complete collection of Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane (yes, you go figure…). Working out how much those discarded kiddie comics are worth today, it's something I regret every time the grown-up bills come in.
I tried to get back into comics in my mid-twenties and then in my mid-thirties when The Face insisted I should. Apart from the breath-taking Sandman (written by another blogging Brit and in a class of its own), I found most of them lacking any sense of humour and way too self-referential and post-modern (for which, read: a pile of pooey pants). Anyway, it wasn't the same. Dick had left Bruce, Clark finally got it on with Lois, and Wonder Woman hadn't been down and dirty with Cheetah for far too long. Where was the fun in that?
And that's why last night's purchase of The Rawhide Kid, while hardly the greatest comic there's ever been, was well worth the ten-quid I paid for the collected edition. A cute mysterious loner, who moseys on down into a dead-end Western town, six-gun at the ready, and who's, er, awkward in the company of girls, it's got its tongue firmly placed in its dimpled and moisturised cheek, and is a welcome innuendo-drenched alternative to all those other butcher-than-thou X-Men and Justice Leagues.
Cowboys, the slap of leather, and a hero who doesn't let the bad guys mess up his hair. Just goes to prove what I suspected all along. Those super-heroes – they're all a load of nancy-boys at heart.