There are always things that I love and hate about independent comics. I always love how creative and original the plots and art are. I think what it really comes down to is that, like everyone else, I’m used to the formula of comics that Marvel, DC and Image have been putting out since I was a kid, and that pretty much every company mirrors. With that said the quibbles I usually have very rarely have to do with the plots or the artistic direction or quality, that is what makes comics great, it is usually something that is so minor and dumb that I shouldn’t even be bothered with being annoyed by it.
Gun Devil has one of those things. The page numbering. The bottom 1/16 of every single page has a block with some really great art involving demon skulls and a pentagram that is solely devoted to the page number. It just annoys me, don’t know why, and it has little to no bearing on the content and artistic quality of the book (as a matter of fact the page numbering blocks are really well done). I just don’t think that they fit.
With my minor irritation out of the way, lets talk about the book. Gun Devil takes place in Damnation a western world populated in whole by demons. The start of the book involves a family of demons that are on the run from some bandits. When their stagecoach flips over they continue their flight on foot deep into the woods, only to find a old demon sitting at a campfire. They feel safe, and he offers to tell them a story.
The tale the old demon tells starts off in the town of Bone Snap (Population: Who Gives A Fuck), and it has all of the tropes of your standard western. There is a drunk, a gun slinger, and a brothel full of whores right next to the saloon. When the town drunk rips off the gunslinger for his bag of money the imminent gun battle comes to a head, leaving the issue with a cliffhanger.
It is a fun little title, Noah Whippie, both the writer and the artist struggles with a little bit of clunky writing at the very start of the issue but it gets really good really quick after those first few pages. What really stands out is the art though, at first the extremely sparse backgrounds were distracting to me, but in some ways they really highlight the crazy amount of detail that is packed into these sepia toned pages (with little splashes of color here and there). This is a beautifully drawn book.
Personally I’m a huge sucker for the horror western (as I have said many a time), so this scratches that itch. I’m very interested to see where this world goes. The idea that Hell (which is what I assume Damnation is) is effectively a Sergio Leone film really appeals to me, can’t wait to read issue #2.