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WesterNoir – Book Three – Siren Song of the Mississippi Mermaids

Published by Accent UK

Dave West (writer) & Gary Crutchley (writer/artist)

Supernatural/Western Genre – b/w, 36 pages.

IMAG2147

Reviewed by Gareth Sleightholme

I picked this book up at Thought Bubble (TBF15). They had issues 1 to 4 on the table, but for a first time buy I thought I’d just try the one (though I’m regretting not picking all four up now). I went for issue 3 mostly due to the beautiful mermaid cover featuring Crutchley’s linework along with some equally excellent subtle colours by Matt Soffe.

I’m a sucker for mermaid/sea creature stories*, plus I was raised on westerns by my father so this combination seemed too good to pass up; and it didn’t disappoint. It also turned out I didn’t need to have read the other books to enjoy this issue, it being pretty much a self-contained tale.

The basic premise sees our dour but noble anti-hero protagonist Josiah Black moving through a frontier America, part Silverado, part Maverick. Black seems exhausted, a man who has perhaps seen and done too many bad things, and he appears to be looking for rest or redemption. Following a chance encounter with the beautiful owner of a riverboat casino, the victim in a crime thwarted by our hero, it seems that Black might just have found a place to rest his head. There are twists aplenty however, and soon this redemption story took a darker turn straight into the transformation folk tale territory I love.

Westernoir is definitely a series I’d be willing to read more of, Black’s character seems fully formed in the creator’s imagination and as such, has depths and subtle nuances that make the reader want to know more… the same goes for some of the other obviously recurring characters.

There is some genuine pathos here provided by West’s pacing and dialogue, whilst Crutchley’s art (black & white with some tonal greys) conveys the tale without fuss or confusing over-embellishment, though I’d love to see a whole story given Soffe’s colour treatment.

Check out more from the creators behind Westernoir at: strangestoftimes.blogspot.com, gcrutchley.blogspot.com, @mygrimmbrother and @AccentUK.

*Hence, Severed Head Cult

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The following works in progress will hopefully be available for purchase at Thoughtbubble, each print will be full digital colour at 420mm x 297mm on card with a matt finish and can be signed or even added to by the artist. Post card versions may be available – Prices to be confirmed (but expect them to be very reasonable).

I’ll post other editions as I get them to this stage.

Meanwhile, works in progress include:

Rust Punk Romeo & Juliet (or the Orange Pickers Daughter’s Serenade)

z Rust Punk Romeo and Juliet

Samurai vs. Toy Robots (or, The Robo-Hunters Dream)

The Robo-Hunters - Central Colours xx

Pirates vs. Tentacles (or, I Told You Not To Read Aloud From The Book!)

Pirates Versus Tentacles x

and

Cowboys vs. Tentacles (or, Yeah, Two More Guys With Guns Should Do It)

Cowboys versus Tentacles x

…more later!

– Gareth

This is now coming together quickly as a comic for ThoughtBubble in November…

It’s the story of an unpleasant soldier, who finds out he’s not the scariest thing in the dark…

A group of soldiers, part of a 700 hundred strong militia band heading out to deal with a camp of native American Cheyenne encamped in the southeastern Colorado territory, are asked to go off mission and track down a group of runaway slaves and a mixed gang of Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho who have stolen an artifact from the mission chapel at Merl’s Gallo.

Plus, some notional Cover Art and Interior cover page treatment…

Set in the year before the end of the Civil War in the States, and during the Indian Wars that were part of US history for just over 300 years, from the time of the first settlers in Jamestown to the last skirmishes of 1923/4… yes, 1924, that’s fours years before my mother was born.

There’s an EDIT of this story in prose form dated the 15th SEPTEMBER 2005 over on my DA site (have I really been working on it this long?), the notes say “…still having trouble finding the right voice for this guy… he’s veered from hard-bitten western colloquialism to educated and back again… and back again… Maybe I just need to picture an actor or someone in the role and see how that works? It worked with “Salamander Jack” and picturing Iggy Pop…

This remains a work in progress towards a larger work called The Cthulhiad.

A few years back I’d read an annotated collection of Lovecraft’s Weird Tales… and thought it might be interesting to have a go at writing a set of shorts or fragments based around his “Cthulhu Mythos“. But rather than dealing with the scientist who goes mad, trying to see things from the point of view of those who find their connection to the outer dark as a strengthening thing.

I’ve also always wanted to do something that dealt with the sea and our pull to water… having grown up by it.

Anyway this is just a start… along with [link] [link] [link] and [link] from my DA site.