The Two-Gun Kid was one of the longest-running characters in the Marvel line. He was created in 1948 in TWO-GUN KID #1 and over the next three decades he’d appear in not only his own magazine but also in stories featured in other western anthologies. This original Two-Gun Kid wasn’t a masked cowboy, but rather a singing one. Clay Harder was known as the Two-Gun Kid thanks to his proficiency with firearms. Syd Shores illustrated the first Two-Gun Kid story. His series was published from 1948-1949 and then returned in 1953, running 59 issues. With #60, after a short period of time, the series was totally overhauled by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The new Two-Gun Kid was a masked vigilante, secretly lawyer Matt Hawk who got justice outside the law as much as under it. This new version adopted the Two-Gun Kid name based on the Clay Harder version, whom he had read about. (in later years, after the title had become a reprint series, several Clay Harder stories were reprinted as adventures of Matt Hawk with a mask drawn on the character.)
TWO-GUN KID was one of three western titles that surveyed the Silver Age of Comics, the other two being RAWHIDE KID and KID COLT, OUTLAW. But the TWO-GUN KID was the closest to a super hero series, and he eventually was used more and more within what was considered the mainstream Marvel Universe. The Kid plied his trade across the old west until issue #92 in 1968, when his book was discontinued. two years later, when Marvel was looking to expand and to claim a greater portion of the newsstand, the series returned, this time as an all-reprint title, and lasted until issue #136. But among that stretch, there was one final new Two-Gun Kid story printed, and it represents that last Two-Gun Kid story of the era.
It was this story, which turned up in TWO-GUN KID #103 in 1972. The story had been an inventory assignment started in 1967 that had been left uncompleted after the book was cancelled, and then resurrected and finished so as to burn off the inventory and the expense of sunk costs. Ogden Whitney was the writer and artist of record, the only hand credited on this tale. But much of it was reworked and rescripted by another hand.
That hand belonged to Steve Englehart, a newcomer to Marvel who was just beginning to establish himself, doing a little bit of everything–writing, penciling, production work–before he eventually emerged as one of the most acclaimed writers of the era. He had apparently been tasked by editor Roy Thomas with completing this story and making it publishable–which he proceeded to do.
Apart from that factoid, it’s an undistinguished tale, and one that looks as much like a reprint as anything else in the issue. I doubt than many readers in 1972 realized that it was new and never before printed. But it represented the Two-Gun Kid’s final ride.