“LASH LaRUE”Lash LaRue’s career in comicbooks outlasted his screen career by nearly 10 years. Lash’s starring films for PRC started in ‘47 and his last Western Adventure pic came out in early ‘52, only five years.
Meanwhile, Lash’s comic book from Fawcett began in Summer ‘49 (#1) and ran til #84 (June ‘61), a 12 year run.
LASH LARUE WESTERN #1 introduced roving Marshal Lash LaRue and his horse Black Diamond. Lash never had a sidekick in the comics, no Fuzzy St. John. Oddly, the colorist on #1 gave Lash a red shirt. This error was never repeated. Rush became his horse as of #14.
Imitating “Outlaw Country” (‘49), issue #6 (and several others) featured Lash’s evil, cigar smoking twin, The Frontier Phantom.
There were gorgeous photo covers through #42. (Back cover photos were also on #1-6.) The cover of #43 drastically changed Lash’s hat and clothes, even to giving him a vest and tie. This group of photo covers (#43-46) appear to be the garb Lash wore in personal appearances at fairs etc. at the time (‘53).
With #47 Charlton assumed publication. Their only photo cover was #47, from there on all covers (#48-#84) were drawn.
The excellent artist who drew the bulk of the Fawcett material is unknown. The issues did alternate artwork though with less gifted artists. We do know Frank Doyle (1917-1996), Sam Citron and Tony Sgroi drew some of Lash’s stories in the early ‘50s. When Charlton took over, they mixed Fawcett reprints (through #66) with new material, resulting in some pretty slapdash art by Dick Giordano and Vince Alascia, Charles Nicholas and Sal Trapani, John Belfi and Stan Campbell. The late Pete Morisi (who signed his work PAM) came along with #69 and recaptured the essence of LaRue on through to the end of the run. As an inside joke, he drew Fuzzy St. John in one panel (as a stableman) in #82.
Paul S. Newman wrote many of Lash’s Fawcett stories. The prolific Newman also wrote Buck Jones, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, Monte Hale and Lone Ranger stories. Others were penned by Ken Fitch and Irwin Schoffman.
A few oddities—Lash #57 has a Will Rogers Fox Comics reprint retitled “Bill Folers” and #63 has a Fawcett Smiley Burnette reprint retitled “Earnie Bugle”. #77 contains a Wild Bill Hickok and Jingles story.
Lash LaRue was also featured in SIX GUN HEROES from Fawcett #5 (Nov. ‘50) thru #23 and Charlton #24-59 (Oct. ‘60) (except #44-45). Lash was photo cover featured on numbers 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 19, 22, 25, 27.
Fawcett also adapted three of Lash’s movies into comic form— “Vanishing Outpost” in MOTION PICTURE COMICS #111 (7/52); “King of the Bullwhip” for FAWCETT MOVIE COMIC #8 (12/50) and “Thundering Trail” for FAWCETT MOVIE COMIC #11 (6/51).
AC reprinted some Lash stories in b/w in ‘90 and still does sporadically in their BEST OF THE WEST comic.
The first 16 LASH LARUE WESTERN issues are the best, but Lash is very popular so expect to pay from $50 up to $120 in Fine condition for #2-16. #1 goes for over $250 in Fine. Better buys are Fawcett’s #17-46 at $40-$50@ in Fine. Any of the desirable three movie adaptations will run you over $70-$100 in Fine.