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Jonathan Clay (Earth-616)

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Quote1 I'll make sure no one ever forgets Ben Bart, or what happened here! I'll call myself the Rawhide Kid... and every time men hear of me, they'll remember how it all started! Quote2
-- Rawhide Kid
 

Origins

The man later known as the Rawhide Kid was born in 1850 in the Midwest America during the days of the American Frontier. During his infancy, his parents were killed in a raid by Cheyenne Native Americans. The eldest son, Joe, fled during the raid in panic. Later, in an effort to expiate his guilt for deserting his family, Joe Clay became the sheriff of the town of Willow Flats. Another sibling, Frank, was captured by the Indians but escaped from them months later and eventually became a gambler. The infant, overlooked by the Cheyenne raiders, was soon found by Ben Bart, a Texas Ranger. Bart adopted the child and raised him on his ranch outside the town of Rawhide, Texas, and named his adopted son Johnny Bart. Johnny called Ben "Uncle Ben".[1]

One of the fastest gunmen in the Texas Rangers, Ben retired when Johnny was 16, and began teaching him how to use a gun. By the time Johnny reached his 18th birthday, Ben had taught him all he could, and Johnny had become even faster and better than Ben had been.[2]

Shortly thereafter, Johnny Bart went into Rawhide to buy the month's provisions for the ranch. Once he was gone, a drifter named Hank Brown confronted Ben Bart and challenged him to draw his gun, hoping to make 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 six-guns, Spade called out to Bart from behind as a distraction, and Brown took the opportunity to gun Ben Bart down.

Jonathan Clay (Earth-616) circa Rawhide Kid -17

Rawhide Kid at 18.

On his return, Johnny Bart found his adoptive father's corpse and buried him, vowing to avenge his death. From the way the bullets had struck him, Johnny could tell that two men were responsible for Ben's death. Johnny rode to Rawhide, where he discovered Brown and Spade, who claimed that Ben Bart had started a fight with them 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 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.[3][2]

Early Career

The Rawhide Kid sought out many of the worst criminals in the region and defeated them. When he was still quite young, he found proof that a man named Barker had been rustling another man's cattle. The cattle's owner sent for the sheriff to arrest Barker and watched as the Rawhide Kid confronted Barker. Barker threatened to kill the Kid and began reaching for his gun, but the Kid rapidly drew his own guns and wounded Barker in his gun arm. Riding up, the sheriff accused the Rawhide Kid of shooting Barker without giving him a chance. The cattle owner who had witnessed the shooting from close by, protested that Barker was about to draw and that the Kid was justified in shooting him. Nevertheless, the sheriff insisted on arresting the Kid, who fled. From that time on, the Rawhide Kid was sought as an outlaw.[3]

The young Rawhide Kid started off his career struggling with the exhaustion of being hunted, a sense of entitlement to get what he wanted, and a longing for a normal life without being an outlaw. Early on in his career he joined up with Wolf Waco and his gang but had second thoughts after learning they intended on robbing a mail train. He defended the train, fighting Wolf to the death in the process. By this time the Kid's reputation was legend, but eyewitness accounts of the Rawhide Kid's appearance were greatly exaggerated. This was the case in Border City when a local trouble maker named Hammer Hogan made the mistake of picking a fight with him.[4] Trying to lay low in the town of Trigger Gap, the Rawhide Kid enjoyed a brief romance with Susan Baker after rescuing her from Big Bill Corbet. However after learning that her father was the sheriff and rescuing her from the Garson gang, the Kid realized that he could never make her happy and pretended to finish the bank job the Garson gang came to town to start, then returned the money to her father before leaving Trigger Gap forever. In another town, the Kid was challenged to a shooting competition by Crow Mallon, who then fled when he saw how superior a shot the Rawhide Kid was.[5]

In the town of Gopher Gap, the Rawhide Kid was tricked into believing that he would be pardoned if he turned over his guns by an outlaw posing as a US Marshall under the employ of Blackjack Borden. Then took over the town and delivered a humiliating defeat to the Kid, who refused to fight back and risk losing his newfound "freedom". However he soon learned the truth and returned to Gopher Gap and defeated Borden. After fleeing the law for three days straight the Kid finally collapsed of exhaustion outside a ranch. Nursed back by the owner and his son, the Rawhide Kid was recognized by the boy who idolized the outlaw hero. To steer the child away from the life of an outlaw, the Kid pretended to want the boy to join him and threatened to kill his father before allowing himself to be beaten in a fight and fled.[6] The Kid was later chased out of Sundown City by US Marshall Ben Carson. When Carson was injured in pursuit he was taken prisoner by Grizzly Younger and his gang who then took over Sundown City. Learning about this, the Kid was convinced to join Grizzly's gang but changed his mind when he was ordered to execute Ben Carson and turned on the gang, defeating them and freeing Carson.[7]

Looking for work to hide out from the law, the Rawhide Kid took a job at a silver mine owned by Ben Boggs. Boggs blasted too deep freeing the alien creature known as the Living Totem. The Totem rose to the surface and began an attempt to conquer mankind. The Kid avoided captivity and knocked the creature down Bottomless Canyon ending its threat for the time being.[8] Later, the Rawhide Kid found that nobody in the town of Sagebrush knew who he was, but had to endure the torments of local hooligan Luke Stokes in order prevent people from recognizing him. When Luke's sister Nancy was being harassed by outlaw Montana Joe, the Rawhide Kid was the only one man enough to defend her, but had to expose his true identity to do so, putting him on the run again.[2] Travelling to Silver City, the Rawhide Kid prevented a coach robbery. One of the robbers discovered a resemblance between himself and the Rawhide Kid, and posed as the hero framing him for robbery, but the Kid managed to clear his name. He later participated in a gun duel with cruel businessman Mr. Blade, winning and preventing him taking the home of an elderly woman who could not pay the mortgage.[9]

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, and Marko the Manhunter.[citation needed]

Interactions with Time Travellers

In 1873, the Rawhide Kid eventually encountered the first of many time travellers from the future. He was contacted by the Two-Gun Kid who needed assistance in liberating his home of Tombstone from the control of the 31st Century invader Kang the Conqueror. Along with the Two-Gun Kid and Kid Colt, Rawhide was attacked by a dinosaur summoned by Kang, a battle they were not matched to face.[10] The trio were soon joined by the Night-Rider, and Ringo Kid. By this time the entire town was under the hypnotic thrall of Kang and when the heroes attacked again, they were driven back not only by the enslaved townspeople but also one of Kang's genetically modified creatures.[11] The tide was turned upon the arrival of Hawkeye a hero from the future who was trapped in the 19th Century thanks to earlier machinations of Kang. They were also joined by Hawkeye's fellow Avengers, the thunder god Thor and the Titan priestess Moondragon as well as Immortus, another time traveller who was secretly Kang's future self. The Kid and the other western heroes assisted the Avengers in preventing Kang from obtaining a much needed uranium supply being shipped along the Pecos line.[12] The Rawhide Kid assisted the heroes in attacking Kang's citadel and the battle was eventually won when Kang was seemingly slain by the heroes.[13] Clay was later pulled forward in time by Zarrko the Tomorrow Man to battle the Fantastic Four in the present. When Zarrko was defeated all his time displaced thralls were returned to their proper time periods with no memory of what happened.[14]

Jonathan Clay (Earth-616) 0006

Rawhide meets the Hulk.

Later that year, the Rawhide Kid was once more recruited by the Two-Gun Kid along with Kid Colt to investigate a strange occurrence in the town of Silver Rock, Arizona which was taken under the control of the Tok Baltusar a Chronoarchist from the possible future of Earth-6297 using both dinosaurs and advanced technology to take over the town. The trio were joined by the Hulk, a gamma spawned monster from the future who was being used by SHIELD's TIME division to correct irregularities in the time stream created by various acts of damaging time travel.[15] With the help of the Hulk, the three heroes succeeded in liberating the town, blasting the device on Tok's body that kept him anchored in the past ending the crisis and prompting the Hulk to move on to another point in history.[16]

In 1876, the Rawhide Kid was once again called to assist the Two-Gun Kid, and the Phantom Rider (formally known as the Night Rider) in combining their efforts to battle a conglomeration of past foes such as Lightning, the Rattler, the Red Raven, Doctor Danger, and the Fat Man, all of whom were gathered by Iron Mask. When Iron Mask unleashed the Living Totem on the heroes, they were given an unlikely assist from the future heroes the West Coast Avengers, led by Hawkeye. After the outlaws were defeated Rawhide and the others attempted to assist the time displaced heroes in repairing their damaged time machine which could only travel backward in time. Unfortunately, the Phantom Rider ran off with the Avenger's teammate Mockingbird just as the heroes attempted to go further back in time, trapping her in 1876.[17]

The Rawhide Kid and Two-Gun Kid went after the Phantom Rider who later used a potion to make Mockingbird love him and forget her past, leading to a brief clash.[18] The pair followed the Phantom Rider to his home[19] and shocked Mockingbird free from the Rider's control when the Two-Gun Kid dressed up as her lover Hawkeye.[20] Rawhide and Two-Gun then joined Mockingbird in pursuit of the Phantom Rider to get revenge against him for enslaving her. However he anger prompts her to go after the Phantom Rider alone.[21] During their final confrontation, Mockingbird left the Phantom Rider off a cliff to his death. During the Rider's funeral, the Avengers returned from their trip through time to rescue her, and Mockingbird led everyone to believe that the Phantom Rider's death was suicide.[22]

Railroad Wars

In the late 1870's the Rawhide Kid became involved in the Railroad Wars between the mighty Santa Fe and Pacific Railroad and the small Colorado and Texas Line. At first this war was fought with shovals and pick-axes, but soon the Santa Fe and Pacific brought in hired gunmen. As a result, the owner of the Colorado and Texas Line called in some friends, including the Rawhide Kid. It was here that Rawhide became very close friends with Dazii, the Apache Kid, as they fought the much larger force with their courage, cunning and skill.[citation needed]

Blaze of Glory

Rawhide Kid Blaze of Glory

Rawhide Kid in Blaze of Glory

By 1885, however, the Rawhide Kid had run out of battles to fight and was working as the star performer in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, until "something better comes along." It was here that his old friend Reno Jones located Rawhide in order to enlist his help in the defence of the town of Wonderment, Montana, from the attacks of the murderous Nightriders. Rawhide agreed and joined Reno alongside of Kid Colt, the Outlaw Kid, the Two-Gun Kid, Red Wolf, the mysterious Gunhawk and Pinkerton agent Caleb Hammer. The heroes were successful in their defence of the town, but not without a huge cost. By the end of the final battle, Colt, Two-Gun, Outlaw Kid and the Gunhawk were all dead, leaving the Rawhide Kid to bury his old friends. Despite Reno's invitation to stay in the town, Rawhide pushed onwards accompanied by Caleb Hammer.[citation needed]

Apache Skies

Rawhide Kid and Rosa Kare (Earth-616)

Rawhide Kid and Rosa Kare

The next year, in 1886, the Kid heard of the ambush and murder of his old friend, the Apache Kid, and decided to hunt them down, in particular the man who had arranged it, Billy Tyler. Tyler's father, William Tyler, was the president of the Santa Fe and Pacific R.R. and owned the town of Sagoro, Texas, where Billy was hiding out under his father's protection. The Kid entered town under the cover of darkness to avenge his friend, but was suprised when a woman confronted Tyler first. This woman turned out to be Dazii's estranged wife, Rosa Kare, now going by the name of the Apache Kid and claiming vengeance on those responsible for her husband's death. The Rawhide Kid helped her escape the town's pursuing authorities after she shot Tyler dead, and took a bullet in the process. After having heard each other's stories after they were out of danger, the Kid agreed to help Rosa in her attempts to help her people. As such, they headed to San Antonio to arrange a meeting with Geronimo of the Apache tribes. They were unaware at this point that the senior Tyler was so enraged at his son's death that he had ordered the entire town of Sagoro razed to the ground and had sent Colonel Richard Trask after the two adventurers to retrieve the scalps of those responsible for his son's death.

While in San Antonio, the pair learned of Trask's pursuit, as well as the whites peoples' plan to relocate the Apache's children to a residential school so they could be raised in a more "civilized" manner. They came up with a plan to rescue the children by hijacking the train they were placed on, Trask witnessed this and he and Tyler gave pursuit in a train of their own. They met in the Apache Mountains, with the Rawhide Kid engaging Trask and his men while Rosa and the others were given a chance to escape. He told them to head to Wonderment, Montana, to look up Reno Jones and they would be well looked after. Rawhide meanwhile, dumped a powder keg into the stack of the train, causing the train to explode and fall into a deep gorge, killing both Trask and Tyler in the process. The Kid managed to escape, however, and was rumored to have head toward Mexico to draw any more of Tyler's men away from Kare and the children.[citation needed]

Abilities

The Rawhide Kid was one of the most accomplished gunslingers in the American southwest. It is possible that he may have been ambidextrous, as he was able to wield two Colts simultaneously with equal degrees of accuracy. His marksmanship was so precise, that he could shoot a weapon from an opponent's hand, without causing any physical harm to his target. Although gunslinging was the Kid's specialty, he was also a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. In some cases, Rawhide even preferred defeating his opponents through physical force rather than through the use of his six-shooters.

Strength level

In his prime, the Rawhide Kid possessed the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engaged in intensive regular exercise.




Transportation

For many years, the Rawhide Kid rode a horse named Nightwind.

Weapons

The Rawhide Kid carried twin Colt revolvers. On occasion, the Kid has also been shown using a one-handed sawed-off shotgun, a rifle and a derringer.

  • Despite living in the 19th century, the Rawhide Kid has had several adventures with the Avengers.
  • This character appears in TSR Inc.'s RPG adventure The Weird, Weird West, and is a playable character at certain points of the plot. In the plot, he had forged an alliance with Kid Colt, Two-Gun Kid and the Phantom Rider due to a time crisis that had eventually left 1871 Dodge City raided by tiranossaurus rex. The western heroes had met time traveler Albert Einstein and decided to help him find a solution to the crisis, protecting him from "Faro" John Hobart's desperado gang while he worked. An initial fight with the player characters's time travelling heroes eventually led to an alliance where the western heroes helped them to forge an alliance with three warrying generals (Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and Genghis Khan) against a common alien threat.
  • The Rawhide Kid was one of the characters featured in Series A of the Marvel Value Stamps issued in the 1970's.
    Rawhide Kid Marvel Value Stamp

    Marvel Value Stamp #56

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