Thursday, July 30, 2015


And little did the editor of this episode know that her name wasn't "Wentworth," but moving on ...
The feature character of Orbit Comics’ title The Westerner was “Wild Bill Pecos,” a man who appears to have named himself by falling through an encyclopedia entry on famous cowboys and who also showed an uncanny ability to spin off supporting characters into their own in-book features. One of these – and the only woman in the group – was Patricia Layne (or "Wentworth," see above), owner of the Lazy Bar M Ranch and also secretly the wildest, most feared gunwoman in the West, Calamity Kate!

Why Calamity Kate? It’s hard to say, except that it’s a name that is sufficiently far from “Patricia” that it passes for a successful pseudonym. Beyond that, Layne’s disguise doesn’t extend much further than a domino mask a buckskin outfit so tight that it left little to the imagination but a lot to feature on the cover.

Probably wouldn't be as sexy if she used a shoehorn.
Sex appeal was part of Calamity Kate’s mandate, with no opportunity being overlooked to feature the long-legged heroine pulling on her boots. A fine example of the Old West’s problem with the “Varmint Gaze.”

Although she debuted as an opponent to Wild Pecos Buffalo Doc Bill Hickock Dillinger, it was only a sham intended to rout the men who’d stolen from her ranch. After that, Calamity Kate fought strictly on the side of justice, even acquiring something of a nemesis in The Gaucho Kid, a smooth-talking lothario with a lariat who used romance as a cover for his keen and canny mind. It must’ve worked because, in one appearance, Calamity Kate sort of basically exposed her dual identity to him – although it was glossed over in the rush to get to print.

Besides being a crack shot, Kate also wielded a bullwhip with aplomb, which means she could’ve transitioned into the Eighties as a Devo-themed cowgirl, if only anyone had been alert at the wheel.

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