The Rawhide Kid (real name: Johnny Bart, originally given as Johnny Clay) is a fictional Wild West cowboy appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A heroic gunfighter of the 19th-century American West who was unjustly wanted as an outlaw, he is one of Marvel's most prolific Western characters. He and other Marvel western heroes have on rare occasions guest-starred through time travel in such contemporary titles as The Avengers and West Coast Avengers.
When Johnny Bart was an infant, his parents, the Clays, were killed in a raid by Cheyenne Indians. The infant Johnny was overlooked by the Cheyenne raiders, however, and was soon found by Ben Bart, a Texas Ranger. Bart adopted Johnny and raised him on his ranch outside Rawhide, Texas. Bart named his adopted son "Johnny Bart." Ben Bart was one of the fastest gunmen in the Texas Rangers. When Johnny was sixteen, Ben, who by then had retired from the Texas Rangers, began teaching him how to use a gun. By the time that Johnny had reached his eighteenth birthday, Ben had taught him all he could, and Johnny had become even faster and better than Ben was at using a gun.
Shortly after his eighteenth birthday, Johnny Bart went into Rawhide to buy the month's provisions for the ranch. Once he was gone, a drifter named Hawk Brown confronted Ben Bart and challenged him to draw his gun; Brown hoped to make a reputation for himself by outdrawing the renowned Ben Bart. Unknown to Ben, Brown had an accomplice named Spade hiding nearby Just as Ben drew his sixguns, Spade called out to Bart from behind, distracting Ben just as Brown and Spade had planned. Brown took the opportunity to gun Ben Bart down.
On his return, Johnny Bart found his adoptive father's corpse and buried him. Johnny vowed to avenge Ben Barr's death. He could tell that two men were responsible for Ben's death from the way the bullets struck him as if he had half turned around to see someone behind him. Johnny rode to Rawhide, where Brown and Spade were claiming that Ben Bart had started a fight with Brown and that Brown had outdrawn him fairly Johnny confronted Brown, who drew his guns on him. But before Brown could squeeze his triggers, Johnny drew his own guns and fired them, wounding Brown in the arm. Seeing Spade in the mirror about to shoot him from behind, Johnny, without turning around, fired over his own shoulders, hitting Spade in his gun arm. Johnny Bart left Brown and Spade to be taken into custody. Johnny declared he would not return home to the ranch, but would use his gun-fighting prowess to fight evildoers like Brown and Spade wherever he could, no matter what the odds were against him. Johnny called himself the Rawhide Kid after the town in which his gun-fighting career began.
Despite being declared an outlaw, the Rawhide Kid continued to defend the weak and helpless and to battle criminals. Among the most notorious or unusual of his many adversaries were the Cougar, the original Red Raven, the Ape, the Tyrant of Tombstone Valley, the Masked Maverick, Marko the Manhunter, and the strange alien called the Living Totem.
The Rawhide Kid sometimes joined forces with other legendary gunfighters, including Kid Colt, the second Phantom Rider, and the Two-Gun Kid. The Rawhide Kid even allied himself with members of the Avengers who visited his time period.
The Rawhide Kid was still an active gunfighter as late as 1897. It has not yet been revealed how, when, or where he died.
Tropes associated with the Rawhide Kid and his comics:
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: The Kid's usual M.O. (along with every other cowboy hero of the The '50s and The '60s). If the writers were feeling edgy enough, the hero might occasionally shoot the villain in the hand or shoulder, but shots intended to kill or seriously harm were a big no-no.
- Cool Horse: Like all Marvel western heroes, Rawhide had a cool horse. His was named Nightwind.
- Fiery Redhead: The Kid is a redhead whose hot temper sometimes lands him in trouble.
- Gay Cowboy: The Kid in the eponymous 2003 limited series (but not in regular continuity, Earth 616 appearances). His over-hyped sexuality caused the books to be rated inappropriate for minors to read, even though the only indication he was gay was by offensive innuendos and implications.
- Get Back in the Closet: This is supposedly the sole reason why the 2003'' miniseries Marvel MAX imprint, even if he was just somewhat hinted to be gay. Through constant and offensive innuendo.
- The Gunslinger: Typical of Marvel Comics' western heroes of The '50s and The '60s, Rawhide is equal parts Trick Shot and Quick Draw, able to draw with blinding speed and always disabling his opponents without killing them.
- Killer Gorilla: In #39, Rawhide battles the Ape: a trained gorilla under the control of Mad Scientist Dr. Karlbad.
- The Magnificent Seven Samurai: The premise of The Sensational Seven miniseries. When Wyatt and Morgan Earp are taken hostage by Cristo Pike and his pack of pistoleros, Rawhide has no choice but to put together a posse of the greatest western heroes in the Marvel Universe - to rescue the Earp brothers and bring Pike to justice. Enter: Kid Colt, Doc Holliday, Annie Oakley, Billy the Kid, Red Wolf and the most overrated gun in the West: the Two-Gun Kid!
- Master of Disguise: In #49, Rawhide battles a villain known as the Masquerader. As no one had ever seen his true face he was able to easily disguise himself so no one would guess that he was a gunfighter. He was even able to disguise himself as people of different ethnicities, such as a Chinaman and Mexican. He even impersonated Kid Colt in order to put the two gunslingers at each other's throats.
- Mistaken for Gay: In The Sensational Seven, the openly gay Rawhide Kid figures his compatriot the Two-Gun Kid for gay based on his costume — stuff like the kerchief, the mask, the print on the vest. When they talk about it, Two-Gun is mortified and says he has to rethink his look, but Rawhide encourages him to keep it the same, saying that being tough is about standing your ground, being true to yourself, and not caring about what other people think.
- Obfuscating Disability: The Masked Maverick was really a rancher named Mason. Mason had been crippled in an accident and confined to wheelchair years earlier. After suddenly regaining use of his legs, he adopted the identity of the Masked Maverick and started rustling cattle to rebuild his failing fortune, keeping his regained mobility a secret.
- Only a Flesh Wound: The climax of The Sensational Seven comes when the Kid confronts Big Bad Cresto Pike. Pike is holding two hostages in front of him: Wyatt Earp himself, and the Kid's own father. The Kid shoots them both, hitting them just so they would drop, eliminating Cresto's advantage before killing him. The unlikelihood is lampshaded, as the rest of the Kid's posse state in awe that no one else in the world could have pulled that off.
- The Paralyzer: Rawhide once fought a villain called Scorpion who was an expert pharmacist. He developed a gun that fired plastic capsules containing a quick-acting paralytic. The capsule melted almost instantly, and the drug took effect as soon as the victim was struck by the capsule. Scorpion would later change his alias to Sting-Ray and go on to fight the Phantom Rider.
- The Psycho Rangers: In The Sensational Seven, when the Big Bad learns that the Rawhide Kid and the Seven are coming for him, he recruits a team composed of villainous counterparts of the Seven.
- Rogues Gallery Transplant: Rawhide once fought a villain wielding a paralysis gun called the Scorpion. The Scorpion later broke jail, changed his alias to Sting-Ray, and battled another western hero, the Phantom Rider.
- Shoot the Hostage: In The Sensational Seven, the Kid is face to face with Big Bad Cresto Pike, who is holding two hostages in front of him: Wyatt Earp, and the Kid's father. Without hesitation, he shoots them down non-lethally before fatally shooting Cresto. He's a Western hero, he has Improbable Aiming Skills as a matter of course.
- This Bear Was Framed: In #94, a man called Ace Fenton dresses up in a grizzly bear costume in order to rob the Pony Express. After almost getting caught by Rawhide and the Two-Gun Kid, Fenton starts persuading the locals that Rawhide has been training bears to rob for him. The next stage of his plan involves breaking into the courtroom during Rawhide's trial and dragging him away so it will look like Rawhide and the grizzly are in cahoots. It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
- The Trope Kid
- Twilight of the Old West: The 1985 miniseries is set in 1897 and has an aging Kid pondering the place of gunfighters in the new century.
- We All Die Someday: The final spoken line of the Spaghetti Western miniseries Blaze of Glory: The Last Ride of the Western Heroes, provided by the Rawhide Kid:"Men die. Every single one of us. That's a fact and that's our fate."
- The last page also gives us "Only the legends are forever."
- Weird West: Although most of Rawhide's adventures were standard horse opera stuff, he did also fight monsters which were not a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax. One particularly famous (or infamous) example was the Living Totem: a alien who looked like a totem pole with arms and legs.
- Young Gun: In the 1985 miniseries, Rawhide acquired a sidekick named Jeff Packard, a.k.a. Understudy, who fit this trope.