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ISSUE NO. 811
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As we chronicled in previous issues of Dial B for BLOG, DC Comics once had a thriving line of western-themed comic books -- but as the sun set on the comic book western, the day of the superhero dawned.
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Soon, the costumed superhero was eclipsing all other genres, including western, sci-fi, and humor. The Fifties were over, and the Sixties belonged to the costumed superhero. Then a NEW sheriff came riding into town. His name was Giordano.

Dick Giordano
, a man of finely-drawn lines and refined demeanor, was an artist and editor at Charlton Comics who didn't really like superheroes. He loved westerns.

When Giordano became an editor at DC in April 1968 (DC head honcho Carmine Infantino hired Giordano at the suggestion of Steve Ditko), Dick brought several of his Charlton co-workers with him, including artist Jim Aparo, and writer Steve Skeates. Giordano also brought one more thing to DC: His love of westerns.

He intended to revive All-Star Western, planning to fill the book with original western stories starring two brand-new characters: Outlaw and El Diablo. Giordano got Tony De Zuniga to draw the Outlaw story, and convinced his friend Gray Morrow to illustrate El Diablo. Tieing a beautiful red ribbon around this incredible package, Dick convinced his pal, superstar Neal Adams, to do covers for the series.

Given the talent involved, expectations were high for the new series. With everything seemingly all set, All-Star Western was put on the company's schedule as an ongoing, bi-monthly title. . With everything seemingly primed and ready to go, DC began promotng the book in house ads such as the one seen below, which ran in Super DC Giant: Top Guns of the West (August 1970), discussed in our previous issue.
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BELOW: Extreme close-up of the upper right corner of All-Star Western #1, as seen on the left in the ad above. This Neal Adams beauty was scheduled to be the cover for the first issue of Giordano's revived All-Star Western...
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... but then something went wrong. When now-or-never time came, the new material for the book just wasn't ready. But the new title had already been scheduled, solicited and advertised. DC had to print something.

Desperate, Giordano decided to fill the book's premiere issue with two reprints featuring a throughly anachronistic DC character called Pow-Wow Smith, Indian Lawman.

The first Pow-Wow Smith reprint, Gun-Duel at Copper Creek, from Western Comics #62 (March-April 1957), was originally created as a Hopalong Cassidy tale to be called "The Last Showdown." It was rewritten for Pow-Wow Smith after Hopalong Cassidy's comic book got cancelled.

With the interior contents of All-Star Western #1 set, now a cover for the book was needed. Giordano didn't want to waste the beautiful piece of original art Neal Adams had done for the premiere issue, which had been seen in advertisments for the book.

It would surely have increased sales, as Neal adams covers always did. But it had no relation whatsoever to the book's interior, a Pow-Wow Smith reprint. Giordano didn't want to confuse and disappoint readers by using it. Instead, Dick G. decided to reprint the cover of Western Comics #62, by Gil Kane and Joe Giella, with one small change -- he had Gaspar Saladino reletter Ira Schnapp's word balloon and story title. Pictured below are Western Comics #62 (March-April 1957), and All-Star Western #1 (Aug-Sept 1970).
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Pow-Wow Smith reprints! Not only no all-stars, but actually NO stars at all! All in all, a million miles away from the stellar package Giordano had originally planned for the new book's first issue. Now, anyone sampling the title would be seeing an ancient character who would never appear in the book again.

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ABOVE and BELOW: Splah pages of the Pow-Wow Smith reprints that appeared in the first issue of All-Star Western.
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Sadly, the only NEW piece of work in this issue was provided in a text piece by some unknown writer named Gerard Conway, aka Gerry Conway. In all liklihood, this page was originally intnded to print letters commenting on the book's "first issue." When that issue was delayed, this meant there could be no letters, so Giordano probably decided to fill the empty page with this story...
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At the end of All-Star Western #1, Giordano decide a little "corrective" advertising was warranted, so he ran the ad below in an attempt to clean up the confusing impression generated by the appearance of reprints in the first issue. It emphasises that from here on out, the title would be featuring NEW material.

And, as eagle-eyed readers could plainly see, it wasn't just going to be NEW material, it would feature NEW characters drawn by the likes of "OLD" superstar artists -- namely Neal Adams, Gray Morrow and Tony deZuniga. For fans of westerns, it seemed to be time to start salavating!
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The Wild West gets even WILDER!
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