illustration ©2011 Dan Spiegle

 

CLARENCE E. MULFORD

Clarence E. Mulford sold his first western story in 1907, and published a collection called Bar-20 that same year. He went on to write twenty-eight western novels from his home in Maine, but never travelled to the west until 1924. The hero of the early stories was a cowhand named Buck Peters, who was soon displaced by his sidekick, Hopalong Cassidy, a whiskey-drinking, tobacco-smoking cowboy with a gimpy leg which he got from a wound in a gunfight (along with his name). The original Hoppy was something of an antihero, who spat tobacco and drank from a bottle while freely “ventilatin” crooks, indians, and other “varmints.” His character was cleaned up considerably by actor William Boyd, who portrayed Hoppy in sixty-six films from 1935 to 1948. Hopalong Cassidy was also featured in radio, TV, newspaper strip and comic book versions. Mulford profited greatly from Hoppy’s media appearances before his death in 1956, but was never happy with the modifications of the character. “The Holdup” was first published in 1913.

 

Western Classics:
Graphic Classics Volume 20

144 pages, color, $15

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