‘Supernatural Western’ Reddin is the latest offering from Dead Canary Comics, the new kids on the indie publishing block. In this article, author Matt Fitch talks about why he and co-writer Chris Baker decided it was high time they brought the forgotten Western genre back to comics.
Matt Fitch writes,
Westerns have been a staple genre of comic books almost since the medium began. But when was the last time you read one?
Through the Forties and Fifties, Westerns, with their stories of cowboys, gunfighters, lawmen and bounty hunters, ruled supreme. But as the Sixties drew to a close, Superheroes, Horror and Science Fiction had pushed Westerns to the margins, and by the late Seventies even the longest running titles had been cancelled. With the notable exceptions of Jonah Hex, Desperadoes and, arguably, Preacher, modern Western comics are few and far between.
The same can be said of film and TV. Throughout my childhood in the 80s, the closest we got to a Western was Back to the Future Part III. The only way to see a true Western, once so prevalent on the silver screen, was when an old John Wayne movie was repeated on the telly. But for me, born and raised in London, England, this rare journey to the Wild West courtesy of BBC2 was enough to get me hooked. As I grew up I discovered the Spaghetti Westerns of the Sixties, and my lifelong love of the genre was cemented.
In recent years, modern Westerns like Deadwood, 3:10 to Yuma, and the History Channel’s excellent (and multi award-winning) miniseries Hatfields & McCoys have proven that I’m not alone in thinking that these stories can still be relevant, and entertaining to today’s audiences.
So where are the modern Western comics? Why do publishers continue to churn out the same familiar stories and ignore this classic genre? Isn’t it about time Western comics made a comeback? I and my fellow Dead Canary Comics cohorts think so.
While Reddin is certainly not a traditional western (the main villain is a trans-dimensional demon), its influences are firmly rooted in the genre. Chris and I wanted the book to feel first and foremost like a classic tale of the Wild West. Our protagonists Karl Kirkwood and Dean Driver are classic Western heroes: partners hunting bounty and doing good. With the help of Conor Boyle’s amazing art and Greg Menzie’s rich colours, our aim is to bring the Old West back to life as you’ve never seen it before.
When I took the concept of Reddin Chris, he jumped at the chance to experiment with the genre and enthusiastically approached the task of writing some good ol’ fashioned cowboy dialogue. Writing this stuff is fun, plain and simple, and I can’t understand why more people aren’t doing it. Maybe after Reddin they will, and if that’s the case I’ll be first in line to read it.
Reddin is now live on Kickstarter and any Bleeding Cool readers who back the project will receive a free limited edition A4 print.