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1. 1872

Publisher: Marvel

1872
1872

1872
1872

The Multiverse is gone and the only world that exists is the Battleworld. Forged and maintained by God Emperor Victor Von Doom, it is a fractured amalgamation of bits and pieces of multiple realms, divided into 41 autonomous domains, all condensed on a single planet.

1872 treats superhero characters as western tropes. Steve Rogers is the sheriff of the town of Timely, Red Wolf is the protagonist who tries to blow up a Dam and is captured, Tony Stark is a gun inventor and a tippler, Bruce Banner runs a medical dispensary - the Mr. Fix-It's Apothecary, Black Widow is a widow(married to the late Deputy Bucky Barnes) and Carol Denvers fights for equal rights. It all goes well in Timely but Mayor Fisk and Governor Roxxon share the persona of Gene Hackman's character in Unforgiven. This makes things a little, how shall we say, tense.

2. Black Jack Ketchum

Publisher: Image Comics

Black Jack Ketchum
Black Jack Ketchum

Black Jack Ketchum
Black Jack Ketchum

In real life, Thomas Everard Ketchum, known as Black Jack, worked as a cowboy on a texas ranch and then rode with a gang of outlaws, robbed a train and made off with about $20,000. By time, Black Jack turned to a life of crime, his posse grew and he became one of the most notorious criminals in American history. His incarceration and poorly executed death is another story though. His last words were a few sentences -

"I’ll be in hell before you start breakfast, boys. Let her rip! Good-bye. Please dig my grave very deep. All right; hurry up!"

Image Comics tries to re-imagine the ol' misadventures of bad boy 'Black Jack' Ketchum through this four part comic series. Tom Ketchum is an innocent man who is mistaken for wanton outlaw "Black Jack" Ketchum. As he tries to evade this crazy misunderstanding along with a Winchester wielding mute girl, he comes across supernatural beings and in the process, "forced to question his identity, his sanity, and his very existence."

3. Blue Hour

Publisher: Action Lab Comics

Blue Hour
Blue Hour

Blue Hour
Blue Hour

Blue Hour is more cartoony and less space Western. It's like Starship Troopers meets Serenity filled with Riverdale-esqe characters. Blue Hour is an ongoing comic series that tracks the ambitious half-witted plans of a group of disillusioned human colonists trying to build a perfect utopia on a barren alien infested planet with two stars. And that's the problem. When the yellow sun descends to make way for the blue sun, a deep indigo silhouette engulfs the human colony. According to local alien legend, the 'Blue Hour' spews evil on those wandering outside shelters. "Can the colonists overcome this harsh environment and their own human nature to survive the Blue Hour?"

4. El Diablo #1

Publisher: DC Comics

El Diablo #1
El Diablo #1

El Diablo #1
El Diablo #1

If you're looking for a gut-wrenching, grotesque take on life in the American Ol' West, El Diablo is a mature comic book companion. And not just that, the comic panels move at such a pace that you keep asking for more and more. Brian Azzarello's words and Danijel Zezelj's ink smudges provide the necessary gritty noir effect.

El Diablo #1 is a solid dark western comic that romanticizes Lazarus Lane, the original iteration of El Diablo with tattletales about Resurrection, Metamorphosis and the Devil. 'Holy Moses' Stone is a sheriff who delivers biblical justice as it is his duty. But when El Diablo marches into town, lights a horse on fire and leaves behind bodies - Moses Stone sets out to kill him bringing along his deep asleep stone cold murky past.

5. Hard West : A Raw Deal

Publisher: cdp.pl

Hard West : A Raw Deal
Hard West : A Raw Deal

Hard West : A Raw Deal
Hard West : A Raw Deal

Hard West is one of the best games I have ever played that combines supernatural elements with Western genre. Narrated by Death himself in a baritone voice, Hard West tackles the pernicious way of life in a 19th century United States - a land of mining prospects, Spanish inquisitors, spawning Pinkertons, adamant cultists, occult rituals, Frankenstein-eque contraptions, meteor powers, Purgatory a clairvoyant and a demon prince.

This digital comic book companion to the crowdfunded turn based tactical video game is picturesquely great. Despite the constricted word count, A Raw Deal stands out as a weird western fiction.

6. Weird Western Tales (2001)

Publisher: DC Comics

Weird Western Tales (2001)
Weird Western Tales (2001)
Weird Western Tales (2001)
Weird Western Tales (2001)

This four part miniseries is like a furbelow adorned with myriad sequins. The sequins representing the ideas and stories of multiple authors waiting to be plaited upon the canvas of artists. A short story titled "What a man's gotta do" in issue #4 has all my appreciation - an absurdist take on life about a white man who escapes the concept of frailty by assuming the role of a cowboy.

7. Jonah Hex

Publisher: DC Comics

Jonah Hex
Jonah Hex

Jonah Hex
Jonah Hex

Jonah Hex has made his first appearance in All-Star Western #10, 1972. The All-Star Western is a DC Comic anthology that runs across three comic series as early as the 50s. I haven't had the chance to read or even skim through all the comics starring Jonah Hex. If I had to pick from my scare comic book knowledge germane to Jonah Hex, then I would go for Jonah Hex: Two-Gun Mojo published by Vertigo Comics.

8. Sixth Gun

Publisher: Oni Press

Sixth Gun
Sixth Gun

Sixth Gun
Sixth Gun

I don't know if you ever watched Martin Mystery on Jetix. For some reason, I was perpetually reminded of that cartoon the entire time I had my head burrowed in the pages penned by Cullen Bunn.

You see some time ago in the middle of the Civil War, unruly people came in contact with six pistols of otherworldly power, kinda like infinity stones. But there's a catch - the sixth gun goes missing sending pinkerton detectives on multiple odd supernatural missions, although most of them were just hokum or false claims.

Fate decided to land the last piece onto the hands of an innocent girl, setting things in motion for a lot of parties including the once dead true owner of the gun. But one man stands in their way - a gunslinger by name Drake Sinclair. Several spinoffs have also been released. Stop humbugging, get back on those saddles and start reading, it's gonna be a long exciting haul!

9. Pretty Deadly

Publisher: Image Comics

Pretty Deadly
Pretty Deadly
Pretty Deadly
Pretty Deadly

Easy to appreciate the art, not so easy to grasp the language or the happening in the story. As a reader, one should take time and let Pretty Deadly percolate for things to unravel. Pretty Deadly pits mythology and folklore in a western retribution/redemption tale. The artwork is so beautiful that if you squeeze the comic book, you get a perfume oil that smells like a heavenly concoction of lavender, bourbon vanilla, some Himalayan saffron and a few sniffs of musk fermented with Mysore sandalwood. Anyway, the story is narrated by a dead rabbit to a butterfly. Just wanted to let you know.

10. East of West

Publisher: Image Comics

East of West
East of West

East of West
East of West

East of West by Jonathan Hickman is a science fiction Western that projects United States in a stylish dystopian atmosphere. At first, it may seem like too much information but East of West is one of those books that gets interesting during a second reading. The gist is that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse namely War, Famine, Conquest and Death ride the Earth connoting the End of Times. Surprisingly, the best hope for life lies in Death. Death becomes the standard-bearer for humanity. The other story arc focuses on a group of elitists from the Seven Nations working alongside to bring about the end of the world.

11. Bouncer by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Bouncer
Bouncer

Bouncer
Bouncer

A comic book by Alejandro Jodorowsky - his name alone is enough to conjure surreal mindfuckin' hypnoia. This man wanted to make Dune with Orson Welles, Pink Floyd, H. R. Giger, David Carradine, Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger, this man was willing to pay 100,000$ per screen hour for Salvador Dali's appearance, this man convinced Orson Welles to play the Baron by bribing him gourmet food. Sadly as we all know, that project died vehemently only to be resurrected by David Lynch.

Anyway, the director of Holy Mountain released Bouncer in 2002. Drawn by French graphic novel legend François Boucq, it follows the adventures of a saloon bouncer turned one armed gunslinger who comes across strange characters.

Jodorowsky had spent years and years on his ambitiously failed project, Dune. He borrowed a few elements and turned it into a comic series, The Incal with French artist Moebius. Incidentally, the genius Moebius also sketched a French Western comic series titled Blueberry in which a certain Mike Blueberry travels through the American Old West.

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