Six Gun Gorilla
A six issue series
Published by Boom!
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Jeff Stokley
Letterer: Steve Wands
Six-Gun Gorilla Created by Creators Unknown
This version created by Simon Spurrier
Six-Gun Gorilla was published in Wizard, a UK boys paper (comics with more words than pictures), in 1939. The creators were uncredited and to the best knowledge of Comicdom are unknown. Simon gives credit to those Unknown Creators.
I must say I’m not familiar with the original. I’m fairly sure it is safe to say that this version isn’t a lift of the other. My research informs me that the original was set in the Wild West. I understand he fought bandits and righted wrongs. No idea how he ended up in the Wild West.
This version isn’t in the Wild West, we are transported by Mt Spurrier to The Blister. To but it simply by my understanding its a planet in a pocket universe where some of the rules of physics don’t quite work the same. The settlers are in revolt, the Government are fighting back.
More worryingly the war is live streamed for the entertainment of the masses on Earth. Some people volunteer for suicide detail, have a camera surgically implanted in one eye so they can be a camera on legs to give people the full-on deadly experience from the safety of their armchair -‘Psychic TV’. These are the down-trodden or forgotten people and they do it for money, a huge payout goes to their nominated person.
Spoilers are below and though only Issue one is pictured above (that’s the 2nd print by the way) I’ve read up to Issue four and I’m discussing the whole journey I’ve read. So if you haven’t read it yet and don’t click the ‘Continue reading →’ below.
Blue-3452 is the main character… well he has a name, a real name. His ex-wife is Sue.
We don’t learn these things for a while in to the story. Blue is a volunteer in a war, a suicide soldier, the camera-eye is a tell-tale bright blue. The uniform of these desperate individuals is blue, hence Blue-3452. Dehumanised so that the mass market can enjoy him die.
Blue arrives in The Blister on a dropship filled with regular soldiers and a smattering of Blues. All the Blues have different reasons. Our Blue’s reason? He lost his wife because he wanted to keep his library running… no idea what her issue is!!!
In The Blister there is no combustion, no electricity. So war runs a bit differently, to be fair I’m not too sure anyone in the war really understands it all. But what works is clockwork, pneumatics or some such. And it is all televised with ratings hourly, advertising revenue
Blue accidentally fails to die. He meets a Gorilla. One armed with six-guns that work.
Blue also encounters a dying General with a watch he wants returned to his beloved wife.
Blue also encounters a colonial village trapped in the middle of a war they didn’t want.
All this is good viewing figures yet the powers that be dispatch an assassin to kill Blue-2342…
OK so that brief summing up of the plot so far includes spoilers but I’ve tried to keep them as light as possible. These few points are what I think I need to explore the themes of the series.
Is it a Space Western?
Well yes, in many ways it is. We have frontier towns, we have a Gorilla with six-guns. There are elements of The American War for Independence and the American Civil War.
So is this about Colonialism?
Yes, it certainly does seem to be.
We have a heavy handed Government an reactionary revolutionists. We have a population trapped in the middle. We have the general public dumbed down by War for Entertainment.
We have one solitary voice on Earth calling out for people to take stock of the situation and stop this senseless activity. And we have a Government that silences this voice.
So it is about exploitation?
I’d definitely say so.
It is also about the desperate struggle for an individual to find his worth. To look at his life and see it is worth something. I think it is about life, death and the struggle between the two.
The pacing is pretty darn good. Each issue brings new revelations and new twists, new knowledge to Blue that alters his world. The characterisation is intriguing, we learn more about Blue and Six-Gun Gorilla as we go but we are always left needing that little bit more.
Auchenbran, the assassin, is partly played for laughs but at the same time rather menacing. In fact the whole book has some very light moments for such sombre setting.
The art is cartoonish, almost Western manga perhaps. And it is free flowing, the colours are brilliant and atmospheric. We know where we are and who is who in the time honoured use of colour. The panel use is varied as are the angles so the eye is kept busy.
All in all it is a fine comic. Thoroughly enjoying it and glad to be getting caught up before it ends.
Now I’m going to do some looking in to the original which is available online thanks to Jess Nevins, an author from USA. You can read the saga here.