Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Boom! Studios Six-Gun Gorilla Trade Reviewed

I remember the time of the monkey...when all you had to do to sell a comic or cartoon was put a monkey on the poster and ..KaPow..Gold. These days, I'm told the giant gorilla on the cover of "Six-Gun Gorilla" may be hampering sales as readers most likely expect a gimmick book with a gun totin', wise crackin' ape at the center of the action. While that prospect does sound tedious, I'm happy to say THIS book offers so much more. The press blurb offers little insight, or deviation from your misconceptions...
Welcome to “the Blister” -- a bizarre other-world colonized by humans sometime in the 22nd century, which quickly became a hotly-contested source of fertile land and natural resources long ago exhausted on Earth. In this new frontier, a rogue gunslinger and his companion wander across a wilderness in the grips of a civil war, encountering lawlessness, natives, and perversions of civilization in a world at the crossroads between the past and the future. The fact that said gunslinger is a bio-surgically modified silverback gorilla toting a pair of enormous revolvers is neither here nor there.

See...even the press blurb does its best to mark this as a common book...that same old tired western-esque or semi-post-apocalyptic tale we've read time and time again! They are doing the book a disservice! "Six-Gun Gorilla" opens with men going to war on a dusty planet. We run with the blue coats, a squad with tech embedded in their brains allowing viewers at home to watch (first person shooter style) as these suicidal volunteers charge the field of battle and, more often than not, are blown to kingdom come. It's a rinse-repeat form of programming that offers little to spark imagination...but on a deeper level, that's its purpose. To pacify the populace and drive advertising. On one such common day, a volunteer strays from the path and finds himself with purpose; a dangerous element to hand to an expendable soldier, much less one former librarian with a broken heart.

As "Blue" journeys further into the expanse of this angry planet to complete a mission, he comes across the promised ill-tempered beast packing dual hand cannons that can put a hole in a man the size of a pie plate. The gorilla appoints himself protector of Blue, stating that the tech in his head will help to tell his story. This plot point is a re-occurring one as any character, large or small, almost instantly recognises they are on TV whenever Blue looks at them, giving them a soap box to stand on as they air their grievances against a tyrannical government, or just tell their sad story. Meanwhile, the folks back on Earth who implanted that tech are reveling in the high ratings this new drama is producing while simultaneously cringing at what nefarious plans Blue might accidentally reveal. For Blue, he ignores the fact that people are just talking into a camera and enjoys the attention. Blue has always loved a good story, and now he gets to hear them all. On Earth, the populace is exposed to something they haven't experienced in a long time. Uncertainty. Not knowing how this tale might end sparks their imagination and worse, gets them asking questions their government would rather they not even conceive.

All at once, a silly little book about a massive, cigar smoking gorilla blowing the bad guys to holy hell becomes a story of one man finding his place in the world...settling into his own story and taking command of his life, and through that, wakes up the minds of millions of formerly docile, complacent people. This message is not beat over your head as a clear agenda, but rather slipped into the narrative among Blue's charming bumbling into situations both fortuitous and sinister against a highly imaginative backdrop ripe for further mythology. "Six-Gun Gorilla" emerges as a ridiculously fun tale with buddy-cop movie sensibilities, Jackie Chan-esque hapless heroism, shockingly gory,  unexpected violence and a great big beating heart at the center of it all. One trade will take you through the whole story, so go eat it up! Find your nearest comic shop at

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