The Western’s dead as a genre isn’t? Well, not according to the creators responsible for these graphic novels.
Desperadoes: Quiet of the Grave – A mismatched band of characters are united by circumstance, but in true Western tradition, trouble, sometimes supernatural, is always on their heels. So many plots in motion, you fear they’ll not be tied up. They are. Jeff Mariotte, John Severin and Image Comics.
Gus & his Gang – A comedy western that never slips comfortably into expectation, a joyous celebration of Western cliché, beautifully drawn and coloured with an almost overwhelming energy as bank robberies fill the panels between dates. Christophe Blain and First Second.
Jonah Hex: Bullets Don’t Lie – Jordi Bernet, Darwyn Cooke, and J.H. Williams III are among the excellent artists found in this collection of single episodes about the meanest bounty hunter in the West. Forget the film and cherish the graphic novels. Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and DC.
Jonah Hex: Welcome to Paradise – These 1970s tales of the horribly disfigured bounty hunter still pack a punch. Hex is by necessity the surly loner unwelcome anywhere until his guns are needed, and so a great character, well depicted by some great artists. John Albano, Michael Fleisher and DC.
Lawless: Welcome to Badrock – A science fiction updating of the classic Western ideas set on a backwater planet where a new Marshall has just arrived. But is she who she claims to be? Attention grabbing and gloriously detailed art. Dan Abnett, Phil Winslade and 2000AD Books.
The Lone Ranger: Now and Forever – Who’d have thought the simple white hat virtuosity of the Lone Ranger could be repurposed for the 21st century? All that’s needed is a cracking plot and an artist willing to put the work into developing it. Brett Matthews, Sergio Cariello and Dynamite Entertainment.
Lucky Luke: The Stagecoach – Like some comedy with your Western? You can rarely go wrong with a Lucky Luke book from the original creators. This has the added bonus of a number of cameos from Hollywood greats. It’s hilarious. René Goscinny, Morris and Cinebook.
Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather – This 21st century update of Marvel’s most famous Western hero features excuses as to why he has no girlfiend, fashion tips aplenty, and caustic comments on just about everyone he meets. He’s still a deadshot. Hilarious. John Severin, Ron Zimmerman and Marvel.
The Sixth Gun – Western and horror standbys come crashing together in this epic tale of heroes and rogues, six pistols with dark powers, and a curse that only death can end. This is consistently imaginative genre-mashing. Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Oni Press
Western – The creators are best known for their Thorgal series, but here deliver a love letter to the Hollywood Westerns of their youth with a strong plot, an interesting lead character, suprising twists and some glorious art. Jean Van Hamme, Grzegorz Rosinski and Cinebook.