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Western Tales of Terror #1
"13" by Dan Taylor and Chuck BB
"Quicksand" by Josh Fialkov and Scott Keating
"The Deserter" by Jay Busbee and Jared Bivens
"Ghost Town" by Benito Cereno and Nate Bellegrande
"Reckon This" by Steve Niles and Nick Stahal
"Phineas Gold: Part One" by Josh Fialkov, Porter McDonald and Scott Keating
Published by Hoarse and Buggy Productions; $3.50 USD

Josh Fialkov has assembled a top notch group of creators for his new western horror anthology series, Western Tales of Terror. This is an excellent presentation by several new talents entering the comic industry. The stories range from twisted justice ("Quicksand") to bittersweet revenge ("The Deserter") to horrific mystery (Phineas Gold: Part One"), and the majority of the tales please in both writing and art.

"13" is about a gunslinger named Sidewinder Kid that claims to be the best gunslinger around, sending folks to Hell left and right. That is, until he has to face Grampa Lomenzo; then Sidewinder Kid finds himself facing some folks that he never thought he'd ever have to face again. Taylor and Chuck BB (hey, that's his name) craft a great opening story that finds this gunslinger right in the midst of former adversaries he'd rather not have to face again, but now he'll have to face them for eternity.

"Quicksand" finds us joining Walton as he "takes care" of his cheating wife, only for his wife to actually have the last laugh in the situation. This is Fialkov's first story for the book with great art by Scott Keating that suits the tone and style very well.

"The Deserter" is my favorite story of the book. Rebecca McKinnon is left on the farm to keep the home fires burning as her husband goes to fight in the Civil War, but little does Peyton know about what Rebecca has waiting for him upon his return from the "war". Busbee tells a excellent short story here, actually performing a remarkable dual narrative here with his words and Bivens pictures terrifically complement it. The best story of the bunch, hands down.

Hector Plasm in "Ghost Town" was a quirky, quick story about allowing freedom to the little, dusty, trapped town of Lagos. The only problem that I had with this story was the lack of any type of information about the lead character, Hector Plasm. We don't know who or what he is, just that he's able to kill a demon and set spirits free. I know that the space wasn't available to give a lengthy background for the character, but this story didn't click for me as the other stories did because, with the other stories, all you needed to know about the characters was contained within the story itself. You didn't have to know anything about any of the characters from elsewhere. But, like I said, a quirky, quick story that was somewhat enjoyable to me, nonetheless.

"Reckon This" was the story from the most well-known creator associated with the book, Steve Niles, and was my least favorite story; it's a disjointed tale about a son exacting revenge on the leader of a gang of land-stealers. Equally disjointed artwork accompanies the script, reminiscent of Ashley Wood or Ben Templesmith, neither of which have ever been a favorite of mine, so I suppose the story was doomed to begin with as far as I am concerned. I hope that if Niles ever contributes to this anthology again that he will be contributing a much better story.

Finally, "Phineas Gold: Part One" by Fialkov, Porter, and Keating wraps up this impressive anthology with a story of a group of bank robbers that have made out quite well from their most recent villainy, with the help of a former bank teller, the "inside man" for this particular job. As the gang is fleeing the crime, they take refuge in a nearby cave filled with whores and something -- else. This is Part One of Three and I'm eagerly awaiting Part Two to see what Fialkov and Porter will do with this particular idea and what will happen to the reluctant "inside man". Also, Keating does a great job of making each character distinct and displaying all of their sinful actions in this story.

Western Tales of Terror #1 is 40 pages of black and white western horror goodness for only $3.50 with a few ads respectfully placed between stories, not in the middle of them. Editor Josh Fialkov, editor-in chief Greg Matiasevich, and publisher Chris Arundel have an exciting, thrilling, brand new hit on their hands with this anthology series, with even more professional talent on tap for future issues, including Phil Hester (Green Arrow, Firebreather), Eric J (Rex Mundi, X-Men Unlimited), and more. Grade: 4.5/5

-- Chris Hunter



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