KID MONTANAMedium: Comic Books
Published by: Charlton Comics
First Appeared: 1957
Creators: Pat Masulli (writer) and Rocke Mastroserio (artist)
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Kid Montana was a guy who got branded as an outlaw, but went around the West doing good. That about sums him up, but since it also about sums up Kid Colt, The Wyoming Kid, The Rawhide Kid and any number of other "kids" who starred in western comic books (not to mention westerns in other media), it doesn't seem like much to base a series on. But those others succeeded, and considering Charlton Comics, where
he was published, operated on a lower budget than most comic book companies and therefore could tolerate lower sales, there was no reason for him not to succeed too.
And he did succeed, maintaining a presence on the newsstand from 1957, when westerns in all American media were at their peak of popularity, to 1965, by which time the vast majority had become as firmly a part of the past as the days the stories themselves were about.
Monty's series was built on the ruins of an even bigger fad than westerns. Disney's version of the life and times of Davy Crockett had swept the country in 1955, but since Davy was a real historical figure, he couldn't be copyrighted, trademarked, or otherwise treated like intellectual property. So Disney was helpless to prevent not just Dell, its authorized publisher, but also DC (Batman), Avon (Space Detective) and others from exploiting him in comics form. But after a couple of years, the public was ready to move on, so Charlton changed the title Davy Crockett, Frontier Fighter, to Kid Montana. The first issue was #9 (November, 1957).
That issue was written by Pat Masulli, who edited the entire Charlton comics line at the time. Masulli also wrote for such titles as Outer Space and Jungle Tales of Tarzan. The artist was Rocke Mastroserio, whose many other Charlton credits include Black Fury and Nature Boy. Mastroserio drew the title for several years, but the artist most memorably associated with the character was Pete Morisi, whose best-known works are Johnny Dynamite and Thunderbolt.
Kid Montana's physical appearance changed about when Morisi took over. Starting at the end of 1961, contradicting the "Kid" part of the name, he was drawn with gray hair at the temples, a rare example of an aging comic book gunfighter. As of #44 (January, 1964), the cover logo was altered to read "Montana Kid". Neither the indicia nor the way the character was addressed inside reflected the slight change.
Charlton's western line continued to flourish while even that of Marvel, once the most prolific publisher of the genre, went into decline. But by the middle '60s, it was ready to bite the dust. Monty's last issue was #50 (March, 1965).