Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Would you like a little Zombie with your Western?

Yes Please!

Graveslinger is fun, Not perfect, but a good read none the less, and definitely worth a look.

The story is this, Frank Timmons was the undertaker at Gila Flats prison. After a convict was hung, he would bury the body in the prison cemetery....and also help himself to the body's belongings watches, money, or whatever. One day, Frank cuts a medallion from the chest of El Brujo, The Witch Man, and it promptly sinks itself into his hand. A little while later, while doing the grave-side service for El Brujo, Frank is struck by lightning. Long story short, El Brujo and the bodies in the surrounding graves rise, they steal Franks wife, and the only way for Frank to get her back is to round up the corpses and send them back from wense they came, which is a little place you may have heard of called....HELL. You see, by stealing the medallion, Frank set off a chain reaction that only he can stop.

The action is fast and furious, and violent as all get out (heads will explode!)

One of the things that stood out to me was the language, as in the writing style. I find sometimes, in Westerns, that they will use phrases that I've never heard before....such as in Tombstone, they used the phrase "Go Heeled"...which I found out meant carry a gun or in True Grit "Pull a Cork" which means likes to drink (although that one is pretty obvious). I find it adds an bit of authenticity to the story they are trying to tell. The writing in Graveslinger uses phrases and a style of speaking that feels authentic and its one of the pleasures of reading this book. That and the fun premise.

The character of Frank is interesting, in a movie version he could be played by a sort of a crotchety Sam Elliot. Frank is kind of a drunk, kind of a ragamuffin, but has some true skill....we don't really know where he comes from yet or what his past life was like before Gila Flats Prison....but he fights a mean zombie, and well. The open ending to the story almost promises more stories with Frank and his world and when that happens, I will definitely join him again on his quest.

Really the only thing I didn't like was some of the art. While John Cboins' art style is generally good, I found myself mildly distracted by the feminine eyelashes he tends to give all the characters. He does, however, do a wickedly creepy "Character-stares-out-from-the-page-at-the-reader-and-creeps-him-out" type of drawing, and those are always a pleasure. Mid-story the artwork changes, and Nima Sorat's very cartoon-y style is vastly different. I'm not sure if it was welcome or a distraction. For me I enjoyed the style, but would have like some consistancy...maybe from an artist who drew in a similar way to Cboins?

As an added bonus the final 8th of the book is a collection of mostly gorgeous cover and pin up artwork from the series. And you should pick this one up if you get that chance.

I give it 4 out of 5 Bloody Spurs

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