Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt are masters at adding flavor to what can otherwise be the bland dishes of horror, noir and in the case of The Sixth Gun, westerns. I do not by any means believe that any of these genres are dead but the writing that goes into them can sometimes feel zombie-ish at best. I’ve been a fan of Bunn and Hurtt since their breakout title, The Damned. And I have to admit a certain amount of awe for anyone that can survive creatively in my old-stomping grounds of St. Louis Missouri - or as creatives kids struggling to escape it, often say St. Louis, Misery.
Maybe it’s some from the pain of living in Missouri where Bunn and Hurtt are able to pull some of their amazing inspiration from or they just have nothing else to do but create great books. Either way, The Sixth Gun is a title that I look forward to. The writing is ingenious and smooth with amazing cartoonish but efficient art to counterpoint the sometimes difficult and horrific imagery that the two creators conjure up. The story is a little, HP Lovecraft and a little Sergio Leone all at the same time and it’s always compelling.
But a great title is never just spawned from the genre or the reflection of the genre’s purveyors. Good creation comes in details, like any devil. The Sixth Gun volume 03 has of course, several wonderful examples of how the details of the book really make the genre. The second half of the book uses the genre of horror to talk about the real life horror of slavery, through the eyes of a black man revisiting the plantation where he lived and survived The South. Life after the American Civil War is a common theme in western film but it rarely if ever comes from the perspective of a one-time slave turned cowboy. It’s these details, these twists on flavor that keep me watching for the next Sixth Gun compilation.