Thursday, January 10, 2019


Well, it woulda figured. I mean, John Wayne was one of the biggest stars in H-wood and his fame transcended all sortsa socio-commercial boundaries to the point of pure mythology, so why not slap him in his own comic book thus conquering yet another medium of communication! And whaddaya know, but Toby Press sure did the legend up mighty good with this series that ran during the guy's peak (until it got eve peakier in the sixties!) in fame back in the 40s/50s!  And honestly, what sorta true ranch house kinda kid wouldn't've liked to have seen the Duke hisself gettin' into all sortsa wild comic book adventures that I gotta admit woulda made many a comic character blanch with total crazoid mental breakdown geewillies to the point of instant perish! Could you see Jughead gouging the eyes outta a man-eating alligator in order to save his miserable existence? Reggie maybe, but JUGHEAD???

This ain't exactly the John Wayne comics you used to see during the Dell days when one of his moom pitchers would be comicized just in time for the flicker's release. Although a brief scene from HONDO pops up these stories feature Wayne playing himself as everything from a Wild West drifter or big game hunter to an international spy right so obviously straight out of the STEVE CANYON mode to the point where whoever did those particular stories sure stole a lot from Milton Caniff's style! He also pops up fighting in Korea and as an airline pilot leading survivors through the desert...sheesh, this guy never did get a break nohow, which only adds up to more SUBURBAN SLOB THRILLS on our part that's fo' sho'! 

Gotta admit that the stories had more twists and turns in 'em than I woulda expected from a what I woulda thought woulda been a cheapie crankout series, so in other words these weren't exactly the slapdash efforts I'll bet a few comic snobs have been making 'em out to be since those sainted days! Surprises do abound such as in this Egyptian saga where a page boy'd mummy who's been telling the sexy daughter of a deceased archaeologist to jab herself right through the heart turns out to be the gal's half brother out for some good ol' revenge! Never woulda saw that comin' no matter how obvious it might have to you, though I gotta admit that with these stories I kinda like to ooze myself back to age nine in order to get the full funtime comic book IMPACT of it all so maybe I do miss the so obvious you can hit me over the head story plot like this!

Wayne might have (at least to me) seemed a little too larger than life back when I was growin' up when the guy was plastered all over the moom pitcher and tee-vee screen as well as newspapers for that matter. However, now that he's long dead 'n buried and the kind of image he projected is now totally verboten in these ball-lopping days (I think they now call the entire Wayne style "toxic masculinity") his films (mostly the earlier, grittier ones though his take on various Eastwoodisms in the seventies like McQ and BRANNIGAN might be worth the ticket) sure mean a whole lot more. It ain't like I've ever been the outdoorsy type myself, but I could sure get into the adventures of a hard-edged, take-no-shit guy like Wayne than I can the precocious castratis they now have flittering around the Moom Pitcher capital these days!

This book also comes with EXTRAS like a few definitely non-Wayne related stories mostly of a comic variety (I kinda wonder how a gal comic like "Tookie" got in the mix!) and of course the ads which are almost as fun to read as the stories themselves! My fave of the batch just hasta be the one where you can spread God's word and make the world a better place (and win lotsa fun prizes in the process) by going door to door selling inspirational prints! Well, it sure beats THE WATCHTOWER if ya ask me!

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