Sep 6, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 559: Two Gun Western #5, July 1956 (Western Week, Day 2)

http://www.comics.org/issue/203257/

Western Week continues apace. Is there something I'm missing about this genre? I just don't think I'm getting it. I'll put it out there front and center that my copy of this comic does not have the cover that you see above. A few months back I had the great fortune to pick up a stack of coverless old comics, including some Archies, some EC crime comics, and some old westerns from the 50s. Really great reading copies, but the covers are unfamiliar to me.

What this particular comic does do nicely is highlight some of the fantastic creators who were working in comics just before the advent of the superhero (or re-advent, I suppose). This comic is cover dated just a few months away from the Flash's return to comics, so it gives us a nice idea of what was on the stands around the same time that the costumed crowd started resurfacing. The art is, truly, quite gorgeous, especially the first story, scripted by the inimitable Stan Lee, and pencilled by Joe Sinnott. I'm not sure if Sinnott did his own inks (the GCD says he did), but the textures and detail on each face and each building are just stunning.

But the stories are just not doing it for me. I wonder if it's the same reaction I have to mob stories, or war stories. I just find them to be far too close to reality, almost a sensationalizing of a particularly violent aspect of the recent past. Or maybe it's because gun violence is a remarkable prevalent part of our culture that I have such a hard time with entertainment media that hinges on such weapons as fundamental narrative devices. I'm not denying that stories, great stories, could be told in these settings, but the amount of glorification has to be reigned in, otherwise it just looks like it's celebrating killing.

I'm willing to keep going, though. I recognize that there may be genres that I'm not a huge fan of, but I also recognize that great stories can be told in any genre. Onward.

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