Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 155

The Sixth Gun

by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, colors by Bill Crabtree
Genre notes: western, sort-of-horror-but-not-really, adventure, apocalypse narrative
9 vols
ISBN: 1934964603 (Amazon)

It’s not easy to sell me on genre books, even when they combustibly mix genres with verve, spice, and zest. I’m perfectly happy to not investigate superhero books, westerns, or efforts that seek to out-Tolkien Tolkien. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, pirates, ninjas? None of these really do it for me. And even though I was once a savage, avid reader of noirish detective-fiction, I’ve passed on countless opportunities to engage some of the newer works in the genre.

So when I saw that the The Sixth Gun was a western horror adventure with melody that sounded like a cover-song of the BPRD's greatest hits, the elevation of my pulse remained resolutely subterranean. (I had read and barely enjoyed the Wild West volume of Mignola’s Witchfinder and didn’t feel I was in the market for anything near the same neighbourhood.) Though I had picked up the first volume of The Sixth Gun on word-of-mouth alone, upon discovering the provenance of its primary story elements, I quietly slipped it to the bottom of my reading queue.

I'm glad to say that though populated with ghosts and zombies and witches and witchdoctors and demons and wendigos and mummys and magic items and, well, the apocalypse—though populated with that kind of fanciful nonsense— Bunn and Hurtt's yarn about frontiersy America and the end of the world sings a delightful song. I was caught up not only in its characters (my entrypoint of choice into any story) but in its plotpoints as well. It's an exciting read and well-executed. The art is lovely and the writing better than competent (even if some of the narrative balloons lean a bit heavy on the repetitious, probably for the sake of its periodical readership).

There are lots of things that I could talk about but one of my personal favourite choices is when the female lead, Becky Montcrief, gets caught too near a blast of dynamite and her hearing goes temporarily. That's at the end of a chapter. The next chapter is entirely silent. No speech balloons, no sound effects. Then at the beginning of the next chapter, her hearing begins to return hesitatingly. She mentions this BUT there's never any overt explanation for why that one chapter was silent. Bunn allows the reader to be smart enough to piece it together on their own. A nice touch and he shows his respect for the reader in not beating them over the head with the moment.

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