Bookshelf: Bonanza #25

Bonanza #25
First Published August 1967
Published by Gold Key/K.K. Publications, Inc.

This issue contains two full stories. In “The Fugitive” (which is marked “Reprinted by Popular Demand”) follows the Cartwrights as they attempt to protect newlyweds Terry and Conchita from El Cuarto, “the richest (and the cruelest) land owner in California!” El Cuarto was betrothed to Conchita but she and Terry stole away and married secretly, then fled. In “Sore Loser,” a hired hand Ben fired to cheating at horse shoes attempts to get his revenge by killing a herd of steer.

Bonanza #25 Cover
Bonanza #25 Cover – Copyright 1967 Gold Key/K.K. Publications, Inc.

The dialogue is simplistic and at times stilted (Hoss: “And we sure made him look foolish! Haw, haw!”). Poor Conchita is used solely for exposition and the occasional exclamation (“Terry! Terry mio! (sob!)”). The artwork allows for relatively distinct characters that bare almost no resemblance to their television or real life counterparts. At times, if not for his white hair, it would be impossible to recognize Ben Cartwright. There could have been legal reasons why the likenesses of Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and others couldn’t be used.

Bonanza #25 Page
Bonanza #25 Page – Copyright 1967 Gold Key/K.K. Publications, Inc.

By 1967 Pernell Roberts had left Bonanza and only Lorne Green, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon are pictured on the cover. In the first story, which was reprinted, Adam Cartwright is included in several scenes but has no dialogue. In the second story, which was apparently new to the issue, Adam is nowhere to be seen, suggesting that in the comic book universe, he had also left the Ponderosa.

The issue also includes four pages of Gold Key Comics Club News, a four page Bedrock Barnes – Prospector story titled “Desert Salvage,” and a one-page written tale called “Schieffelin’s Bonanza.”

1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Gold Key (and other Western Publishing comic books, including the various Disney series, i.e. “Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories”) often reprinted earlier stories “by popular demand” [or “popular request”] in later years, primarily because it helped them save money on writers and artists churning out new stories. One less original story an issue often meant the difference between the company being “in the black”…or “in the red”. The one-page “text stories” were a tradition– and featured in virtually EVERY comic book ever printed, to allow their publishers to legally ship them through the mail at “magazine” rates, saving money that otherwise would have been spent on “comic magazine” rates.

    Gold Key had the rights to “reproduce” Lorne Greene and his fellow cast members’ images in their comic stories, but sometimes, their faces might be “fudged” a bit….perhaps because the artist couldn’t quite “render” them as clearly as you saw them on TV every Sunday night {as previously mentioned, some Dell artists used publicity photos to get the actors’ faces accurately “reproduced” as possible in their comic book stories, i.e. the two issues of “I Dream Of Jeannie” in 1966}.

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