Real Name: Jeb Barnes

Identity/Class: Human (Old West Era) (late 1800s)

Occupation: Ranch hand

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Dan Colt, Kid Colt (Blaine Colt)

Enemies: Lash Larribee, Sheriff Yates

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Flying C Ranch, Abilene, Wyoming, USA

First Appearance: Kid Colt I#1 (August, 1948)

Powers/Abilities: "Gabby" carried a gun and was a capable horse rider.

Height: 5'10" (by approximation)
Weight: 160 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Gray, bald (see comments)

History: (Kid Colt Outlaw I#69/Gunsmoke Western I#72) - At the Flying C Ranch, "Gabby" watched alongside Dan Colt as Dan's son Blaine tamed a stallion named Steel whom Dan had given to him. "Gabby" predicted Blaine and Steel would be together for a long time.

(Kid Colt I#1/Kid Colt Outlaw I#11) - As "Gabby" went into Abilene one day, he was attacked by town deputy Lash Larribee, who was incensed that the Flying C Ranch had refused to join his ranchers' "protective association," which was actually nothing more than a protection racket. Lash struck "Gabby" with his whip until Blaine Colt stepped in to defend his friend. Lash and Blaine scuffled until Lash's partner Sheriff Yates broke up the fight.

"Gabby" and Blaine returned to the Flying C Ranch and told Dan Colt what had happened. Dan was disappointed in Blaine for not carrying a gun, believing he would have been able to drive Lash off with his gun. As "Gabby" rode with Blaine on the ranch, he watched in awe as Blaine easily shot both a rattlesnake and a mountain with his pistol. Blaine explained to "Gabby" that his problem was not that he was afraid of a gunfight but that he was afraid his prowess with guns was too great.

Sheriff Yates and Lash Larribee arranged Dan Colt's death then accused Blaine of murdering his father. Sheriff Yates and Lash went to the Flying C Ranch to arrest Blaine for murder. "Gabby" tried to help Blaine fight back but Lash snared Blaine's neck with his whip. Lash and Yates rode back to town with Blaine's neck still snared by the whip then they placed him in the town jail. After Blaine broke out of jail, he and "Gabby" faced Sheriff Yates and Lash Larribee, who admitted they were the ones responsible for Dan's death. During the ensuing fight, "Gabby" was badly beaten by Lash's whip but Blaine killed Lash and Yates.

(Kid Colt Outlaw I#79/Gunsmoke Western I#72) - The fight was too much for the aging "Gabby" and soon after, he was bedridden and lying on his deathbed. "Gabby" realized that without him to testify as to what had happened, Blaine would be hunted as an outlaw. "Gabby" begged Blaine to stay in Abilene and clear his name but Blaine was certain he would end up in jail. Instead, Blaine resolved he would become an outlaw. Blaine told "Gabby" that when he passed on, to tell his father that "his son is wearin' his colts!" Saying farewell to the dying "Gabby," Blaine rode away from Abilene.

As a posse formed to bring Blaine to justice for killing Sheriff Yates and Lash Larribee, Blaine sped off his on his horse Steel, becoming known thereafter as the outlaw Kid Colt.

Comments: Created by Ernie Hart and an unknown artist.

In the first three versions of Kid Colt's origin, this character was called "Gabby" Barnes. In Gunsmoke Western I#72, he was called "Jeb;" his name must be Jeb "Gabby" Barnes therefore.

"Gabby" had gray hair and a beard in Kid Colt I#1 and Kid Colt Outlaw I#11 but was clean shaven and mostly bald in Kid Colt Outlaw I#79 and Gunsmoke Western I#72.

There are many other differences between the four tellings of Kid Colt's origin so I've done my best to hone them into a single comprehensive version.
Here are a few of the differences:

There's also a version of Colt's origin in Kid Colt Outlaw I#39/2 which is nothing like the other versions and attributes Dan Colt's death to the outlaw Markson; "Gabby" does not appear in that version. Since it's a story Colt tells to a young man to convince him not to become an outlaw, it's possible that Colt deliberately told a tall tale.

Further, Kid Colt II#1 recounts yet another variant origin in which Colt claims both of his parents were killed by Joshua McGreeley. After Colt killed Joshua, his brother, a sheriff, put a bounty on Colt's head. Since this origin was told by Colt to explain why Sheriff McGreeley was after him, it's possible that this was yet another tall tale.

His name was clearly an homage to George "Gabby" Hayes, the loveable sidekick to the hero in many classic A- and B-Westerns. Although heavily bewhiskered in most of his appearances, the pictures I've seen of Hayes clean-shaven does somewhat resemble the main profile pic of Barnes, albeit the latter is balder on top as well.
--Andrew Kidd

Profile by Prime Eternal.

Gabby Barnes should not be confused with:

images: (without ads)
Gunsmoke Western I#72, p5, pan2 ("Gabby" Barnes, main image)
Kid Colt I#1, p3, pan2 ("Gabby" Barnes riding a horse)

Kid Colt I#1 (August, 1948) - Ernie Hart (writer), unknown artist, Stan Lee (editor)
Kid Colt Outlaw I#11 (October, 1950) - unknown writer, Pete Tumlinson (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Kid Colt Outlaw I#79 (July, 1958) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Keller (pencils), Christopher Rule (inks)
Gunsmoke Western I#72 (September, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Keller (artist)

First posted: 04/22/2021
Last updated: 10/14/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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