Collecting Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities #1-4
I love westerns. Growing up my bedtime stories were comic books. There was a lot of Sgt. Rock and G. I. Joe read, but the real heavy rotation for me were Kid Colt and The Rawhide Kid. Obviously I love horror comics too (if you didn’t pick that up already). So when the two are combined I’m usually a sucker for the idea and will snap the book right up.
When I got back into comics (which was just recently) the first issue of Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness was on the shelves. I took one look at it and knew that this was something that I would want to be reading. So I took it home, gave it a good read and realized that I had to have all of the back story or I would go nuts. Soon thereafter this TPB was picked up.
Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz have pulled off a really great merger of horror and western in this title, and I love it! After faking his own death Billy the Kid is on the move. When he is propositioned by a man named Sproule who wants to hire him as a gun hand a midst his traveling freak show. Not just for protection or anything though, he is looking to have Billy aid him in a heist. They are going to steal The Golem’s Heart from Doctor Victor von Frankenstein.
So begins Billy’s adventure not only into the world of genetic curiosities but also into the realm of the supernatural. Frankenstein hasn’t created one monster, but dozens. All of whom are willing to fight for their creator to protect his castle and its secrets. In a mishmash of creature parts and gun fire the story unfolds in a way that only the camp of a western comic could pull off.
Powell brings his A game story wise, it hits on all the right notes with the surly gun fighter playing against the stately gentlemen. Using childhood memories to give pathos and depth the Billy. Digging into what it means to be different than those around you, and then finding others who are even more different. Exploring the distinction between natural abnormalities, and created abominations. The check that Powell writes, Hotz can cash in spades.
The art in here is devastatingly grotesque. With little hints of Berni Wrightson in its over wrought attention to texture and detail. There is something that is truly visceral and biological about it. Looking at some of the other titles that he has worked on, like The Hood, and The Crow, you can see that same kind of organic flow to each and every frame. I would love to see what Hotz would do with Swamp Thing (he did do a Man-Thing that I’m thinking I’m going to have to hunt down).
As far as meldings of horror and western this book hits the blend spot on. It is witty, gross, and fun all the way through. This is just a bit of great fun all wrapped up into four issues of comic book. If you haven’t checked this book out, it will be worth your time.