Love weird? Love westerns? Man, you should have been at this panel. Chuck Sellner, John Ostrander, Timothy Truman, Greg Pak and Jimmy Palmiotti chatted about all things West, and plenty of wild…
- “What drew you to comics?”
- JO: His late wife “schooled him” on westerns after he’d OD’d on them growing up. He sees “basically all westerns are pretty weird”, as you’re dealing with the wild frontier and all that entails. I love that concept.
- TT: Watched all the old western TV shows, and he drew what he saw on TV. His love of westerns was “ingrained from the beginning”. Plus, he’s always read “a lot of historical stuff”
- GP: Growing up, he was a Boy Scout in the Dallas area. That instilled an interest in “outdoor adventure stories”. “Being outdoors…is a supernatural experience sometimes…confrontation with the natural world [can be] humbling and exciting.”
- JP: As a kid in Brooklyn he watched “a lot of TV”, including his time in summer camps, where rainy days meant 35mm movies. Most of ’em? You guessed it: westerns. “If there was a problem, they’d shoot ’em…Not too different from Brooklyn.”
- Researching – bringing history into the story can have pros and cons. Pro? It not only helps the story, it may get you just as hooked on digging for the real story as these writers are. Con? Trying to insert historical facts just for the sake of it. Sellner and the others think “history should flow in the story” and not interrupt the reader’s enjoyment. Example? In Pak’s upcoming Kingsway West, it’s a different world overrun by magic, so historical datum may take folks out of the experience. “I’m not gonna wink at you.”
- Particular Wild West historical figures that influenced the writers include Simon Girty, China Mary, and Billy the Kid (naturally.) But did you know that cowboys loved Oscar Wilde? The panel discussed a possible story there. And I’d love to read it.
- Why don’t we see more westerns in comics and at the multiplex? Palmiotti thinks it could be “all about the money” – westerns are more expensive to make nowadays, and while there have been forays in this genre lately, there hasn’t been a big blockbuster. Which means producers and publishers may hesitate to take a chance. Ostrander discussed the fact that western motifs have bled into other genres (Star Wars, True Detective), so the western itself is “redundant”.
More tidbits include Sellner discussing his work on Deadlands: Raven, “possibly the most powerful thing I’ve ever written”, the ever-expanding diversity in the western – “[it’s] what America is”, and the idea of Native Americans being kickass post-apocalypse survivors. Ostrander thinks that the Apache, with their ability to run 75 miles int he desert, making their livelihood from raiding others, they’re “tailor made for the post-apocalypse.” Somebody write that, stat!
Stuff you should read if you’re digging The Weird West? Here ya go:
– The Kents
– Jonah Hex
– Six Gun Gorilla
– And, of course, Greg Pak’s Kingway West, which will be out soon…