The Sixth Gun – The Return of Western Comics

Westerns of any sort have been dead ever since Blazing Saddles. While the genre has a lot to offer, many haven’t been able to take it seriously. Hollywood has been testing the waters with remakes of classics like 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit. While both were amazing, neither added anything new as they were both retreads. Enter The Sixth Gun.

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Both Marvel and DC have a hard time selling comics starring B or C-list characters. These are the big two. For anything out of the superhero genre to be successful is a little unprecedented, though not unheard of, unless it’s coming from Image. With all these strikes against it, I’m amazed how successful The Sixth Gun has become. A western, taking place after the Civil War, with supernatural elements from Oni Press (their most successful title has been Scott Pilgrim).

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The Sixth Gun follows Drake Sinclair, a gunfighter and veteran with a practical look about the world around him. The story centers around six guns, each imbued with different abilities and tied to the holder until death. One can shoot cannon like bullets, another burns its target, while a third can conjure the spirits of those it’s killed.

The first arc introduces Sinclair and his compatriot BillJohn O’Henry as they try to stop the resurrection of the immortal and corrupt General Hume. His wife, the Widow Hume, along with four bandits comprise Hume’s group, each possessing one of the guns. The sixth gun is in possession Becky Montcrief’s dying father. Becky, the other protagonist of the book, unwittingly acquires the gun, capable of seeing the future, and is now hunted for it. Sinclair with BillJohn and Becky’s help thwart Hume’s plans, managing to acquire all 6 guns in the process. Now, they are pursued by not only the remnants of Hume’s army, but the Sword of Solomon, the Sword of Abraham, and others vying for control of the guns.

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This original series was created by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt. As this is their first major work, the creators are constantly improving with each issue. All but two of the currently released 39 issues were drawn by Hurtt. There’s typically a one month break between every 6 issues arc. Hurtt handily keeps up with is art duties, while somehow drawing another series. A five issue mini-series, Sons of the Gun, revealing the history of the guns, is released along side the main series. Hurtt is a machine. I don’t know how he does it, especially considering many artist can’t keep up with a monthly title today.

Writer Bunn has been given opportunities at Marvel to writer some of their main characters like Wolverine and Venom. As much as I enjoy his creator owned work, his mainstream writing is weak and unoriginal. I hope he finds jis stride and brings the same quality to his Marvel work as he does to his own work.

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Inexplicably, NBC has commissioned a pilot for the 2013 fall television season. Sadly, or perhaps for the better, they’ve passed on the pilot.

What do you think of the idea of a western/supernatural mashup? Comment below!

Tony writes for his own site, thecredhulk.com, about comics, video games, movies, TV and more, six days a week. You can follow his updates on Facebook or Twitter. Drop by and tell’em hi.

“Go do that voodoo that you do so well!”

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One Comment

  1. A western with supernatural elements sounds really cool. Cowboy themed comics deserve to make a come back as the market is already over saturated with superheroes, fantasy and sci-fi. The genre as legs as shown by the popularity of franchises like Red Dead Redemption.

    1. With Image and other Indie books, they’re starting to put a dent into the big two. Image has been launching a new series at least every month for the last year with no signs of slowing down. There’s is a spoil of riches for anyone looking for a non-superhero story today.

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