With the classic intrigue of the suspense thrillers of the 1930s and the rollicking action of the early Hollywood oaters, Darryle Purcelle’s The Hollywood Cowboy series has all the excitement and mystery of a Republic Pictures serial.
Curly Woods, intrepid Hollywood studio PR man, stumbles into conspiracies involving Fifth Column agents and hooded saboteurs, while also rubbing elbows with many luminaries from the Golden Age of Tinseltown.
Mystery of the Stuntman’s Ghost brings our hero to California’s legendary Lone Pines and Alabama Hills location, during the shooting of a Hopalong Cassidy western. It seems a mysterious phantom has been setting lethal booby traps for Curly’s stuntwoman girlfriend, and the studio fixer means to protect her…only to discover the hard way that he has now become targeted for elimination.
There’s a lot of name-dropping for fans of the era, with William (Hoppy) Boyd and George (Gabby) Hayes playing supporting roles. There’s a bar fight, a shootout, chases on horseback, a villainous conspiracy, and charming innuendo galore.
Though the short story has about as much “weird supernatural” content as an episode of Scooby Doo, it’s a wonderfully fun, pulpy mash-up of western moviemaking and pre-noir suspense thrillers. where white hats, horses, determined heroes, adoring girlfriends, four-door DeSotos, and Nazi saboteurs co-exist.
When the legendary Hairy Man abducts a teenage girl from her Quinceañera, a Dominican priest, a German muleskinner, and a lovesick young tailor mount a rescue mission. Their pursuit takes the unlikely heroes into the steep and treacherous Sandia Mountains above Albuquerque.
This is a Weird Western short story from The Inquisitor series, detailing the fantastic, supernatural, and strange exploits of a brawling Irish priest sworn to defend and protect the Faith and the faithful in New Mexico, 1824-1851.
Rated PG for action, mild innuendo, and obscured nudity. Approximately 8,100 words or 42 pages.
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Jonah Hex, DC Comics’ most popular bounty hunter is back with a vengeance in All-Star Western #1, (2011) by Justin Gray, illustrated by Jimmy Palmiotti Moritat, with additional material by Phil Winsldae and Jordi Bernet.
In a genius bit of mash-up, Hex leaves his preferred open country for the sprawling 19th century Gotham City, where he takes on a criminal conspiracy, an underground child-stealing ring, and more. Despite his monstrously disfigured face, there’s nothing supernatural about Jonah Hex. The truly “weird western” part of the story kicks in when he and temporary partner Dr. Arkham (prior to building his infamous asylum) stumble upon an underground cavern that has an ancient race of subterranean humans and a gigantic bat. Right. Jonah Hex discovered the Bat Cave and subsequently meets the wealthy Wayne family who lives in a mansion directly above.
The story is action-packed, and though Hex pretends to be cold-hearted, he’s a relentless defender and avenger on behalf of the innocent. Arkham is a bit of a weenie, which annoys the loner Hex no end and to fun dramatic effect.
The volume also includes short adventures of El Diablo (fighting zombies) and also The Barbary Ghost (taking revenge on a Chinese criminal overlord).
The stories are excellent and fast-paced, and the illustrations are outstanding. Fans of the original Jonah Hex comics will enjoy these, though the blood factor has been ramped up considerably.
A Weird Tale of the California Missions
A warrior monk with a mechanical hand hunts a shape-shifting, blood-sucking creature that has been slaughtering goats at San Antonio de Padua Mission.
This is part of the Weird Tales of the California Missions series, featuring the exploits of Teutonic Knight Otto Eisenschaf, “peculiar intercessor” for Father Junípero Serra, from 1778 to 1783.
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This is a Weird Western short story with a Catholic twist. Approximately 8,200 words. Rated “PG” for action.