Cosby has a wonderfully fun idea here, and he really knows how to work it for every bit of interest. The dynamics between this hero and the family that did him wrong are wonderful, the ultimate underdog spitting in the face of adversity. He has an amazing touch to the language of the best westerns, a simple, honest delivery that’s straightforward as they come, with idioms being laid low by the steady, thoughtful drawl with gems like, “Wouldn’t worry too much about my gun, sir. But, I might fret about its bullets.” It has such a fun, addictive feel, and he nails it consistently. You can hear a Mal-like tone to every line of dialogue, yet he knows when to allow him to look the fool, as well. Cosby’s tone is so enjoyable that I’m finding myself drawn into it even now as I write. I’m trying to keep my tone, but doggone if he don’t make it a hoot to read.
Chris Eliopoulos provides the visual half of this tale and does a masterful job of matching the tone and feel of Cosby’s twisted world. From the Wanted poster feel of the credits pages to the simple and deliberate pacing, he invests you into this old west with gusto. The style feels like one of Calvin and Hobbs’ misadventures given a more permanent life, while taking influence from Peanuts in dealing with adults who may not hear or see clearly enough. Eliopoulos can make some wonderful panels and make them breathe and sing; some of them are downright frameable.
This could very easily be a toss-off piece that trusts in its gimmick to work, but Cosby and Eliopoulos layer in a lot of content into this all-age-appropriate story and balance maturity with the playful spirit that seems to spawn this work. They also tackle very large issues, using the difference in age between Boyd and the world he deals with to reinforce the concepts of the arguments they make. Pulling no punches, every character who ends up on the downtrodden path isn’t afraid to speak as to what brought them to that state. This is a team to be reckoned with, and there’s no going through this work without having to examine yourself in it.
A great work on its own, there are also backup stories that serve as a less-serious palate cleanser between each issue. Each one shares the kooky and straightforward sensibility of the main work, and nothing seems out of place. These would be great breaks for kids, letting them laugh a bit extra before saddling up with Boyd again. If you like a unique work with something good to say while making you laugh now and again, this book is certainly for you.
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