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The Great Comic Book Detectives #1

Here’s a new blog bit!

You, the readers, send in descriptions of comics that you remember vague details from the past and either I, or one of the readers of the piece will use detective work to figure out what comic you’re talking about!

Here’s the first one, from reader Larry:

When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s I read a story in a comic book that I’ve been looking for ever since, without, as yet, any luck.

The story: Setting is somewhere in the Old West. The main character is down on his luck, nearly destitute (don’t remember the reason for his unfortunate situation). He hungers for a better life. Somehow he comes into possession of a strange gold medallion (might have been given to him by a mysterious character, I seem to vaguely remember). From then on he becomes a gunfighter, he never looses as long as he’s wearing the medallion when the fight goes down. He becomes rich and famous, women hanging all over him, plenty of whiskey, etc.

Then one day he is challenged to a gunfight and he forgets to wear the medallion. He’s killed, and if I remember all right, the victor finds the medallion among the slain main character’s possessions and takes it for his own, to embark on his own marvelous and ultimately ill-fated career as a gunfighter.

Probably the story appeared in a comic book published some time in the 1970s, although conceivably it could have been as early as the late 1960s or as late as the early 1980s. Probably a DC or a Marvel, since those where the publishers I mostly bought, but I guess it could have been anything. Horror comics were (and are) my favorite, so it might have appeared in an issue of HOM, HOS, Unexpected, Ghosts, Secrets of Sinister House, etc. Then again, I seem to have a vague recollection that I was surprised the story appeared in the type of comic book it was in, whatever that was. I don’t know, what I related of the story above is all I’m most certain of.

Let’s help him out, folks!

And if YOU have a comic book from the past that you want help tracking down, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

16 Comments

What an awesome new thing for me to read !

Sounds like something out of DC’s Weird Western Tales.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_Western_Tales

http://www.comics-db.com/DC_Comics/W/Weird_Western_Tales/

Good luck finding synopsis for individual issues of that series.

I’ve got a pretty good memory for comics I have read and I’m sorry to say that I’ve never read this story. It does sound like something that might have been in a reprint to me; the basic story reads to me like a 50’s short, either from Atlas or DC. Of course, DC didn’t significantly change their style on these for a long time, so it’s possible that it was a new anthology story at DC even into the early 70’s. But if it was Marvel, I’d be pretty surprised if it wasn’t a reprint from their Atlas days.

Wish I could be of more help, I really like this idea for an ongoing feature. If I have a chance I’ll check through my run of Weird Western, this sounds like the kind of story that could have been a backup in that title.

I’m guessing it wasn’t actually a comic at all and was actually either an obscure Canadian television program or the anime Unico in the Magic Island.

Like Scott, the first title I thought of was Weird Western, except for this quote from the original poster:
“I seem to have a vague recollection that I was surprised the story appeared in the type of comic book it was in, whatever that was.”
Such a story would be right at home in WW. If only we knew if he was surprised because it was a western story in a supernatural/monster comic, or a supernatural tale in a western title.

That describes almost exactly, (with a different ending) the story “Lafferty’s Luck” by Jack Oleck & Al Milgrom, it was the second story in House of Mystery 234 which co-incidentally, I just read on Saturday.

Hope that’s the right one.

The easiest way to prompt a memory is to show the cover of the possible. Here’s House of Mystery #234.

In that same spirit of narrowing it down… Was it, perhaps, in a book with a painted cover? With squared-off, textbooky-looking word balloons? Because when he mentions ‘surprise’ at seeing a Western, my first thought that it was perhaps from Boris Karloff or Ripley’s or Twilight Zone, any of which would be a slightly unlikely place to find a story about a cursed gunfighter.

Agree that it sound like a 50’s story reprinted in one of a dozen or so DC or Marvel mags. Good luck.

This is great idea but may be doomed to failure. Because distant memories often COMBINE DIFFERENT COMICS. I spent years thinking about the first comic I ever bought. Finally I tracked it down, and bought all the issues around it, and it as nothing like I remembered. Turns out my memory was combining several later issues into a composite.

I like the idea (sorry, can’t help ID this particular story), but I must admit I opened the page thinking I would read about the greatest detectives in comics, a la the Five Most Iconic Hawkeye Covers, etc. So I was already formulating in my mind who those five would be: Batman, Martian Manhunter, that Sherlock Holmes pastiche guy from Ruse, the weird-looking alien from Epic Comics’ Bozz Chronicles, and…

I like the idea (sorry, can’t help ID this particular story), but I must admit I opened the page thinking I would read about the greatest detectives in comics,

At least you didn’t think it was referring to 9/11. ;)

Sgt. Pepper, great reference to Ask the AV Club. I miss that column very much.

I wonder if the amulet is a sheriff’s badge, that would be awesome.

What happened to Ask the AV Club? That was always a fun read.

And how great would it be if the answer to this questions actually was Unico?

I think Joe Lansdale wrote a story just like this, but it was within the last ten years. I’ll give a look and see if I can find anything specific, because it’s possible that it was a story reprinted in a book I bought for a Joe Lansdale story.

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