Friday, 27 January 2017

Gunhawk



Here's an interesting one that probably went unnoticed at the time, and has long since been forgotten, but is worth looking at for a couple of reasons.
Gunhawk ran intermittently in the pages of Western Gunfighters, and seemed to be a Marvelized version of Jonah Hex. He had the facial scar, the bad reputation, and the driving need to help people against his better judgement.
But the funny thing is, he debuted in August 1970, a full year and a half before Jonah's first appearance, yet seems such a blatant rip-off, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the other way round.
Also, Gunhawk seems to have been created by Jerry Siegel, which makes him automatically interesting. There's a really sad story that, while DC were refusing to even acknowledge the existence of Siegel & Shuster as the creators of Superman, Jerry, practically penniless, desperately tried to get work at Marvel.
He presented a couple of scripts to Archie Goodwin, but they were so awful, there was no way he could accept them. However Archie, being the nicest man in comics, told Siegel they were great, paid him for them, and then quietly went away and rewrote them. Is Gunhawk one of those stories?
Finally, there's the art. Who knew that if you get Sal Buscema to ink Werner Roth, you get a reasonable facsimile of Herb Trimpe?? That's just weird.










11 comments:

  1. Wow, you're right about the Herb Trimpe comparison. That is eerie considering Roth doesn't draw that way.

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  2. Uh, being a Jonah Hex fan, this series has nothing to do with Jonah Hex. The scar isn't even closely similar to Jonah's. Plus shooting the guns out of people's hands is really lame, Lone Ranger stuff (tho I luv the LR).

    Um, the artwork towards the end has so much moiré patterns due to the half-toning of the original comic, that it gives you a headache trying to look at the pictures. Something must have gone amiss with the scanning, ol' chap.

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  3. Actually picked this scan up on the sly, dude, so can't claim credit for that, but figured it was worth showing off anyroad.

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  4. Can't recall where it was now, but on another site it was shown that Herb Trimpe *did* do the pencils on that first splash page.

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  5. I think the splash looks like happy herby because it was drawn by happy herby

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  6. Gunhawk is indeed an imitation of another character, but not Jonah Hex.

    Consider: He is a noble mercenary in the Old West. He employs a transparently fake name. He dresses all in black. His guns have distinctively marked handles.

    Put that all together, and you have an obvious copy of Paladin, from the television series HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL.

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  7. Good stuff. Archie Goodwin was a singular man.

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  8. This completely slipped by me at the time. Not a big western fan. Siegel had become a rather quirky writer. And uneven. But some of it, like his run on the Spider in the British comic weekly, The Lion, can range from wildy fun to super campy. When I came across it in a used book store, which ran uncredited, I thought this reads like Jerry Siegel. Decades later I found out I was right. This doesn't read like him, except the thought bubble on the second to last panel on page 10. That's Jerry Siegel. Nobody else strings sentences together like that.

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  9. I loved The Spider, and for ages thought people were having me on that Jerry Siegel wrote it...

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