Monday, October 29, 2007

Five for Fridays: Cowboy comics books

Last week's Five For Fridays column isn't really my thing, but I thought I'd just post it up anyway, since I love these Best Of features that Wizard comes out with, though I don't necessarily always agree with the choices.

Lone Ranger and Streets of Glory both ride back onto the racks this week as we count off our favorite cowboy comics out right now

By Brian Warmoth

Posted October 26, 2007 12:00 PM

The Old West kicks up a lot of dust this week with Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello’s Lone Ranger #9 hitting shelves alongside Garth Ennis and Mike Wolfer’s Streets of Glory #2 from Avatar Press. White hats and black hats have been blowing each other’s brims off since the early days of comic books, and big names from television and radio like Red Ryder, Gene Autry, Reno Browne and Roy Rogers all had their own titles at some point. The genre is still as hot as ever, with plenty of gunslinging still tearing it up in the Wednesday piles.

Lone Ranger and Streets of Glory are just two of our favorite cowboy comics out there right now. Here are all five of the titles no Western justice lover should be without on their pull list.

5. Shaolin Cowboy (Burlyman Entertainment)
Geof Darrow’s leading cowboy in this series is the only one to have taken down a shark with a chainsaw-tipped spear. Playfully violent and visually arresting, Darrow has an obsessively detailed eye for mixing kung fu, fantasy and Western elements into a series about a wandering monk and his mule.

4. Streets of Glory (Avatar Press)
Garth Ennis turned the Western genre on its head with his now-indispensable classic Preacher, and Streets of Glory brings him back to a classic turn-of-the-century setting to unleash all the haphazard violence he’s known for. The story follows an ex-Union soldier with an ample supply of bullets to pound through anyone who gets in his way, and artist Mike Wolfer’s knack for action-packed splatter makes them one of the best creative duos to get their own cowboy book.

3. Jonah Hex (DC)
The ugliest title cowboy on this list got shot in the arm when Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti picked him up for the series’ relaunch in 2003. Also among the most easily dislikable, Hex is a former Confederate soldier who first appeared in DC’s All-Star Western #10, and he plays to his current writers’ strengths, giving them an edgy main character with a lot of hate and plenty of history to play with.

2. Loveless (DC/Vertigo)
Fans of “Deadwood” or Azzarello’s 100 Bullets shouldn’t leave this title unturned. Another Southerner—like Jonah Hex—the main gringo in the series is a loathsome man named Wes Cutter who gets out of a Civil War prison camp and finds his old life torn apart and his old town occupied by Union forces. Azzarello doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the historical tensions, sex or bloody fights that keep Loveless heated up.

1. Lone Ranger (Dynamite Entertainment)
Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello picked up a dusty old classic and cleaned it up like a fully restored muscle car for Dynamite in 2006, and the series hasn’t blinked since. John Cassaday’s iconic covers only finesse one of the strongest titles the company has ever produced. Daring to dig deeply enough into the Lone Ranger’s character to make him interesting, but delicately enough to keep the classic hero true to his TV and radio heritage, no book on the shelves feels classically Western quite like Lone Ranger.

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