It’s Monday morning, range rats, and time to push through
the batwing doors and start living on Jack and Queens for Episode 17 of
the Six-Gun Justice Podcast. Have a seat at the poker table with Paul and
Rich as they deal in one of the most fondly remembered Western TV icons—The
cardsharp and reluctant hero known as Maverick...Available now on all major podcast
streaming platforms or by using the player below...
Whitman Maverick TV tie-in was written by Charles I. Coombs, a young-adult
author of both fiction and nonfiction. Most notably: Sabre Jet Ace, the
story of a Korean jet pilot. Along with a full court press of teen-age
sports stories and blood-churning adventure tales, Coombs is responsible for
Whitman’s Big Little TV tie-in with Disney’s Andy Burnett.
with its solid scribe, the Whitman Maverick title is collectible for the
energetic interior illustration, rendered by none other than comic book legend
Alex Toth. Those familiar with him will immediately recognize his
expressionistic line work, so common to the dozens of western comics he
produced during the same era.
this story, Brett Maverick arrives on the scene outside the small town of Red
Bluff, Wyoming as nothing more than a wandering drover, thirsty and looking for
work. Wearing Levi’s and toting a gun, not only is he not the black-clad dandy
we know from the TV show, he doesn’t lift a card in the entire story. This tale
of a cowpoke who returns to his old home to reclaim a ranch with the help of
the original owner’s daughter and trusty hired hands is a well-worn and overly
familiar trope. When Maverick becomes the new Boss of the Rocking H, you might
suspect suspect Coombs adapted a Western manuscript he had laying around and
applied it to the assignment. One paragraph makes reference to brother Bart,
describing the siblings as men who roamed the West as Indian fighters,
scouts, cow hands and jacks of all trades. Notably not gamblers.
other Whitman tie-ins, the American version is simply titled after the TV show,
Maverick. But in Great Britain, the Whitman hardbacks were a little
different. Have Gun Will Travel, for example, is given the British
subtitle, Perilous Journey.
is called Boss of the Rocking-H and sports a dust-jacket that includes
Jack Kelly on the cover.
it or not there was also a Little Golden Book Maverick tale. Many of
Whitman’s licensed western TV tie-in novels—which I’ve always felt were aimed
at teens or perhaps what is referred to as tweens today—were also
licensed to Little Golden books for the pre-teen crowd. Gunsmoke, Cheyenne,
Wagon Train, Tales of Wells Fargo, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp,
and others all had appearances in Little Golden Books and are considered highly
prized collectibles today.
Maverick entry was written by Carl Melming and illustrated by John
Leone. It’s a simple story of Maverick foiling a stagecoach robbery and saving
the life savings of a father and his young son, Jerry, who are on their way to
buy a ranch. At their invitation, Maverick later arrives at their ranch in time
to save Jerry and his new horse from a rock slide. Leone’s
art really helps the cause as he captures the image of Garner in the role,
which helps sell the story.
was also a series of nineteen Maverick comics from Dell publishing. Drawn
by Dan Spiegle, the comics eventually featured all of the various Mavericks. Spiegle,
however, had met James Garner at the studio before the first Maverick comic
was drawn and subsequently only Garner as Brett Maverick was featured in the
first few issues. Spiegle and Garner became friends, so Spiegle put extra
effort into capturing the likeness of the actor when drawing the comic books.
However, his depictions of the other Mavericks—Jack Kelly as Bart, Roger Moore
as Beau, and Robert Colbert as Brent (who was inaccurately referred to as Bret
in the comic book version) bore practically no resemblance to the actual