but today folks...
So I've been gearing up to work on my own comic and thus I've been doing a lot of research (mind you've been doing research on the genre I'll be writing since i was born, as my father's a huge fan). Yup you guessed it, I'm gonna try my hand at a WESTERN.
A WESTERN, you say... BLEH. BOOOORRRRING.
Well shut yo mouth, as I ADORE Westerns (not the duke though, he's a pansy and yes i would say that to his face, he'd never hit a girl lol). Most of you who know me well, know my deep love of Eastwood (not so much dirty harry but his westerns certainly). So it's not much of a surprise that I'd go for a western comic.
But what you don't' realize is that the genre actually molds well to the comic medium. I'm sure right now you're thinking about the lone ranger and red rider (you'll shoot your eye out... sorry couldn't resist) and similar "campy" stuff.
Well toss that out of your mind. The comics that are out there right now are using the west to its gory and emotional limit (I, myself will not be doing a comic that's ONLY a western, I plan to cross genres...no not cowboys vs aliens... that's already in print and kinda stupid IMO).
Case in point take DC's Jonah Hex. Taking a cue from Eastwood's Man with No Name, DC presents a bounty hunter with an ever flip flopping sense of justice. He'll sell you out in a heartbeat but at the same time when he gets an idea stuck in his head, it stays there and he'll fight to the death for it.
As if his background wasn't enough like Eastwood's Josey Wales (civil war guy who never stopped fighting and lost his family and farm to violence), the art makes Hex REALLY look like ol' Clint. That is if Clint had ever been attacked by Apaches and had a hot tomahawk held to his face, melting one side (can we say whoops).
While the art of this comic certainly helps, the stories also keep readers interested. Of course Hex is a character that goes back to the 70s (hmm the same time Eastwood was the king of westerns.... coincidence. Yeah right). But this recent redu of his story is leaps and bounds above the original run. The dialogue is tidy. I don't feel as though I'm being bombarded with horrible southern dialect (lets not get me on my rant about writers who abuse mis-spelling in a stupid attempt to capture accents) but i get the idea that he's an ex confederate, that's all we need.
The stories themselves are set up like old serials (now if your my age you're too young to have gone to the theaters on Saturdays and watched half hour shorts of westerns and Flash Gordon for a quarter, but my father says it was really cool and I've seen them on the westerns channel). So in the course of one trade you'll have about 8 separate stories about bounties that Hex has gone after. Each one has an entire wide panel dedicated to the naming of the "episode". And of course he has your typical western problems (a posse showing up wanting to hang the guy he's bringing in, women slapping him because he's taking their loved ones, the usual). But happily we get new twists on old stories and somehow Hex's Eastwood demeanor comes off refreshing.
Apparently Hollywood thinks it's refreshing enough that they plan to make a film out of it (I'm jumping up and down in excitement that westerns seem to be returning to theaters!). The only thing is, Eastwood is a bit old now and i can't imagine anyone else being able to pull off Hex without it looking like a cheap Clint Imitation.
Of course Jonah Hex isn't the only Western Comic that I've been studying:
Vertigo's title Loveless (another western) has me just as captivated (however i have heard from my comic store guy that the title lost its way and has spiraled downward lately). The twist in this case is that the ex confederate soldier, Wes Cutter, has returned to find his lands and home taken by the union and his wife (who most thought was dead or just run off) Ruth, raped.
Of course you're thinking oh he's going to right the wrong blah blah blah. Honestly I'm not so sure. I'm getting a vibe that once he gets his land back he might shut up. It's RUTH we have to worry about. After cutting her hair and now dressing like a man, she's a changed woman. Her temper is short and she's deadly with a gun. AS of issue 2 she appears to still be on her husband's side, but I'm willing to wager that that may not last if he gives up on avenging her. Can't say I really blame her either. But I'll have to see. One thing is for certain, with her in the mix as one of the avenging gunmen (and not the woman who slaps the avenging gunman) I'm liking how this title is going.
And finally I just wanted to end on a strange and amusing note. While looking up pictures for this review this came up under the google image search:
Why the unknown comic is attached to the word loveless, I'll probably never know. Perhaps i don't want to know. Odd, lol.