WHITMAN TIE-IN NOVEL
The 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.
For 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.
Like 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.
Maverick is called Boss of the Rocking-H and sports a dust-jacket that includes Jack Kelly on the cover.
The 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.