“THE WILD, WILD WEST”
“The Wild Wild West” came to TV in September 1965. Gold Key brought agents James West and Artemus Gordon to the comic book page in June of ‘66 (just before the second season began on CBS). #2 came out later in ‘66 but it was nearly a year before THE WILD WILD WEST #3 and #4 were issued in ‘68. #5 hit newsstands around April ‘69, followed by #6 in July ‘69 and a final issue, #7, in October ‘69. (The TV series’ last episode aired April 4, ‘69.)
All seven issues featured photo covers of Robert Conrad and Ross Martin. #1 and 2 also had black and white front and back inside cover photos from the series. #3 only had inside front cover photos after which that idea was discarded in favor of advertising.
Artwork for #1 and 2 was by Al (Alden) McWilliams (1916-1993), primarily a Sci-Fi artist whose daily comic strip “Twin Earths” had run in newspapers from ‘53-‘63. This was McWilliam’s only venture into Westerns and he acquitted himself well in translating West and Gordon’s escapades to the printed page.
Sal Trapani (1927-1999) took over for #3-6. Never a great artist, but definitely prolific working for a variety of publishers, his only other Western comic book work was for Charlton (ROCKY LANE’s BLACKJACK, WYATT EARP, etc.). Trapani did “ok” capturing West and Gordon, but his art always feels hurried.
Frank Springer (1929-2009) drew #7 and Trapani inked his work. Springer was a well respected artist, assisting or ghosting on many daily comic strips, but he never seemed to give his all to his work at Dell or Gold Key. He contributed to Dell’s BIG VALLEY and CIMARRON STRIP.
In Fine WILD WILD WEST #1 prices at $30, #2 at $24 and #3-7 at $18.
In October 1990 short-lived independent publisher Millennium revived WILD WILD WEST for a short four issue monthly run through January 1991. Mark Ellis and Paul Davis wrote the stories with often stiff anatomy art from Darryl Banks, Bill Marimon, John Herbert and Robert Lewis. Near mint copies can often be found on ebay for as little as $2.
“THE WILD, WILD WEST” WESTERN COVER GALLERY