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ISSUE NO. 809
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As we covered last issue, DC's stable of western comics was in a steady decline folowing the Golden Age. Gradually, the sherrifs and desperados lost their features to resurgent superheroes. Then theyears went by, as they usually do, and DC came to believe the public MIGHT be ready to buy western comics again.

But they had to be sure. To test the waters while keeping costs as low as possible, the company put out an all-western collection of tales in the sixth issue of their DC Special title. The book featured reprints of old stories connected with a NEW framing sequence by newcomer Len Wein and veteran Gil Kane, and all under a dynamite NEW cover by Neal Adams -- a cover that has a truly amazing distinction!

Above and below, DC Special #6 - a book whose cover Neal Adams has proclaimed to be his FAVORITE cover among all the bazillions he's ever done. It may not be your favorite Adams cover, reader, but it is HIS. Here's his commentary on the cover...

NEAL ADAMS: "This cover was a real challenge, and I needn’t let it be a challenge because it was me who came up with the idea. The idea was to have a cowboy behind his dead horse at a watering hole being attacked by Indians. In the picture, the Indians are wheeling on their horses to look behind them to see a gigantic spaceship landing."

"This was originally a great idea. And then DC Comics decided they would put extra type and extra graphics on the cover that made the drawing smaller and smaller. And in the end, it was barely there. Yet the drawing, as done, was one of my favorite drawings for a cover. Do people remember it? No. Do I blame them? No. To be perfectly honest, I’m lucky the darn image got on the cover with all that type. His most proud cover is DC Special #6 with the cowboys, indians, horse, and spaceship."

"It took over 8 hours to draw and no one gave a s-h-i-t."

Neal, if it's any consolation, I -- Robby Reed -- have always loved this cover! And I bet many people reading this western-themed volume of Dial B have too!

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Pictured below are the covers of the five DC books that presented the stories reprinted in DC Special #6 under the umbrella title "Behold The Wild Frontier." Here's the rundown...

• "Son of Chief Black Fish," from The Legends of Daniel Boone #1
• "Junior Ghost Patrol" from World's Finest #69
• "War Stick of Cheif Fighting Elk," from Frontier Fighters #4
• "Riders of the Oregon trail," from Frontier Fighters #4
• "Young Bill of the Pony Express," from Frontier Fighters #6
• "Tenderfoot Deputy," from Detective Comics #178
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First page of the book, beginning the bridging story by Gil Kane...
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Here's the first page of the Tomahawk reprint, showing how DC blended these reprints together with new bridiging sequence. In reality, it's a bit of a bait and switch game, with DC hoping to trick readers ino thinking they were reading an all-new western story.
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BELOW: Splash page of the Tomahawk story, which was reduced in size to the single panel seen in the lower right corner of the page above.
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BELOW: This page of original art for the Pow-Wow Smith reprint. showing how DC assembled the page by combining Gil Kane's new art with cut-up photostats of the original tale.
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BELOW: The printed page.
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BELOW: Another page of original art from the book.
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BELOW: The printed page.
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BELOW: The final panel from the book, withthe "big reveal" that the campfir around which the tales have been told is burning next to a gigantic rocket ship. See, kids? It's NOT one of those westerns you dislike, it's really a sci-fi tale! Get it?
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BELOW: The printed page.
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BELOW: The only entirely NEW story in the book, a text tale written by newcomer Len Wein, and illustrated by Sal Amendola. THE END!
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