Here are capsule reviews of Weird West tales, with links so you can purchase them…
Anthologies of Short Stories
The sound of a crowded saloon . . . The cry of a train coming through the night. . . The pounding of horses ridden by friends or foe. . . From the searing sun to snow-steeped winters, towns called Sentinel, Iron Mountain and St. Elmo stood strong and fierce–before they finally died. Now, these ghost towns return to life under the spell of such great Western tale-tellers as Louis L’Amour, Elmer Kelton, William W. Johnstone, Bill Brooks, Loren D. Estleman, Johnny D. Boggs and New York Times bestseller Margaret Coel.
From a soldier on the run from the fires of war. . . From a gambler who has long since played his last hand to a solitary, singing rifle man protecting a besieged town . . . With dreamers and schemers, with men and women of courage, conscience and faith, here is an unforgettable round-up of astounding adventures fueled by a passion for the West the way it really was–and the way it lives on forever. . .
CLICK HERE to purchase Ghost Towns.
This anthology of original Weird West Tales falls comfortably within the parameters of western horror/supernatural fiction. It’s refreshing that these stories exhibit a great deal of creativity and variety without feeling the need to “push the envelope” and go genre-bending. As with any anthology, some stories will appeal to you more than others, but they all push the right buttons.
Join us as we travel the trails and byways of the Wild West. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for ghosts robbing trains, haunted mines, bounty hunters from hell, zombie gunfighters, ghost horses, a sword looking for revenge, bats up to no good and maybe even a werewolf or two. The west is wilder and weirder than ever in stories by Don D’Ammassa, Bill Craig, Joel Jenkins, Sam Kepfield, Henrik Ramsager, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, John M. Whalen, Carol Hightshoe, M.H Bonham, Jennifer Brozek & Aaron B. Larson.
Tales of Horror and Dark Fantasy From the Weird Weird West, edited by David B. Riley and Laura Givens (Science Fiction Trails Publishing, 2010). Overall, the writing and editing isn’t quite as strong as Showdown at Midnight, but there’s a nice variety of weirdness.
Vampires robbing banks; a Werewolf Sheriff; Newfangled electric Zombies; Alchemists enslaving vampires; Ghosts posing for portraits. The west was never this wild. Saddle up for an adventure through a collection of horror and dark fantasy tales that will keep you turning the pages, though you might keep one eye peeled for any severed heads that might be rolling your way. Featuring stories by: Bill D. Allen , Sherri Dean, Matthew Baugh, Bill Craig, Lyn McConchie, John Howard, David Boop, David Lee Summers, Renee James, Don Hornbostel, Kit Volker, Sam Kepfield, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Lee Clark Zumpe, Carol Hightshoe, Joel Jenkins, Henrik Ramsager, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks and James Patrick Cobb.
by Matt Kincade
Contemporary Weird West. A rockabilly vampire hunter with a samurai sword, a bunch of guns and an awesome souped-up vintage car hunts vampires through a barren landscape of deserts and dusty towns throughout Arizona, New Mexico, and along Route 66, working his way through plenty of lesser blood-suckers to get to the head honcho master vampire. The cultures of both the vampire and the hunter worlds are fully developed, unfolding gradually, logically, yet unpredictably. Human trafficking and the exploitation of illegal immigrants from Mexico take on even more horrific proportions. First in a series. Visit Matt Kincade’s blog at www.matthewkincade.wordpress.com.
Hellgate, Montana, by Al Halsey
A bounty hunter hired by the Catholic Church and equipped with a blessed Colt and ammunition rides into Hellgate, Montana, planning to clean up a town infested with zombies, vampire “leeches,” mages, witches and more. Unfortunately, something much, much worse is lurking in a nearby valley, and Retributor Jeremiah Brandt is forced to form an uneasy coalition with his unnatural enemies to literally close a portal to Hell. Non-stop action, a hard-nosed, cynical hero, all clearly defined and well-motivated. First in a series.
Graphic Novels / Comic Books
This Weird Western, 104-page graphic novel stars the uncouth, illiterate, ill-mannered, xenophobic Billy the Kid in one of his bizarre adventures after faking his death. Henry McCarty/William Bonney is recruited by a six-armed, dapper gentleman who is a kind of ringmaster/mastermind of a circus sideshow. Turns out the “oddities,” which include a lizard man, a dog-faced boy, a tiny person, a wild man and a tattooed lady, need the gunslinger to help them retrieve the fabled “golem’s heart” from Dr. Victor Frankenstein.
And it just gets weirder from there.
Billy the Kid is an entirely unsympathetic protagonist and Frankenstein’s living hallucinations are way beyond bizarre, sort of like Dr. Seuss having a really bad LSD trip. The story by Eric Powell and outlandish illustrations by Kyle Hotz push the envelope pretty hard, but the story turns out to be entertaining and emotionally satisfying, despite the reader never really siding with the hero.
Jonah Hex: Welcome to Paradise is a collection of early Jonah Hex stories from DC comics. In addition to thrilling chases, shoot-outs and a familiar hodgepodge of western settings and character types, the collection offers a flashback origin story explaining how Jonah Hex was unjustly accused of betraying the Confederacy. He walks the line between hero and villain.
There are no supernatural or paranormal elements. The horror is more psychological, and while there is plenty of mayhem, it’s all gore-free.
There are nine classic tales in this collection, all from the 1970s, including All-Star Western #10, Weird Western Tales #14, 17, 22, 26, 29 and 30, and Jonah Hex #2 and 4. The stories were written by John Albano and Michael Fleischer, with art by Tony Dezuniga, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and others.
Films and Television
Wild Wild West (movie)
Review to come.
Review to come.
Wild Wild West (TV series)
Review to come.
The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr. (TV series)
Review to come.
Six Gun Savior (Direct to DVD)
Review to come. Starring Eric Roberts as the Devil.