"This is going to be the first gay Western."
That's Marvel Comics Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada quoted in Monday's New York Post where it was revealed in the upcoming Marvel MAX mini-series, "Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather!", the star of the book will be gay.
The Rawhide Kid made his debut with Marvel, then called Atlas Comics, back in 1955. According to an article on CNN.com the Rawhide Kid was not originally intended to be gay, but in the upcoming mini-series writer Ron Zimmerman will use double entendres and euphemisms to reveal the character's homosexuality. For example, the following quote about the Lone Ranger comes from the Kid in the first issue, "I think that mask and the powder blue outfit are fantastic. I can certainly see why the Indian follows him around."
"It's a classic Western, like 'Shane,' but with a gay twist," series writer Ron Zimmerman told the Post. While it's clear the story will have a comedic slant, Zimmerman told the Post he hopes that this new take on Rawhide Kid will serve to be "an empowering character that the gay community would be able to embrace."
As for the reasons behind the change, Quesada told the Post that it's a way of pumping new life into the character.
"Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather" #1 is written by Ron Zimmerman with art by John Severin and covers by Dave Johnson. The first issue hits stores February 6th, 2003 with a $2.99 cover price.