Marvel unveiled its latest publicity ploy in an exclusive article by Dareh Gregorian in today's New York Post in which the publisher revealed that the new 'mature line' Max comic, Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather, will feature the outing of the eponymous pistol packer in what editor-in-chief Joe Quesada called, 'the first gay western.'  Speaking about the teenage gunslinger, who first appeared during the heyday of the TV western in 1957, Quesada remarked, 'the Kid was always shown as a shy-around-girls kind of guy, now you know why.'  Series writer Ron Zimmerman told the Post that the new Rawhide Kid series 'is a classic western, but with a gay twist... and a comedic slant.'


According to Quesada the Kid's sexual orientation will be obvious 'from the moment you see him,' alluding to the Kid's new costume which consists entirely of black leather set off by white gloves and a white hat fashioned from albino Canadian beaver pelts.  According to the Post, the sharp-dressing six-shooter's sartorial interests extend to other cowboy heroes including the Lone Ranger, about whom the Kid remarks, 'I think that mask and powder blue outfit are fantastic, I can certainly see why that Indian follows him around.' The new series obviously derives its humor from gay stereotypes, though scripter Ron Zimmerman still hopes that gay readers will decide that the Rawhide Kid is 'an empowering character that the gay community will be able to embrace.'


The 'outing' of the Rawhide Kid demonstrates Marvel's knows which buttons to push to gain nationwide publicity for its comic projects.  Coming on the heels of Truth, the saga of the first (black) Captain America, which has received major attention on television, in newspapers, and on public radio, the Rawhide Kid saga shows that the 'house of ideas' is as adept as ever in its use of 'high concept' projects to gain the kind of publicity that money (and Marvel) can't buy.