Strangeways: Murder Moon
With Art and lettering by Luis Guaragna, Steve Lieber and others
Trade Paperback Graphic Book
Highway 62 Press, $13.95 144 Pages
Review by Kent Knopp-Schwyn
In his brief foreword, the author describes this volume and the ongoing weird western adventures posted on the Internet as a labor of love and this is evident from page 1. Through his words and story, Mr. Maxwell displays a strong appreciation of the genre by combining the lawless west, cowboys, expansion into Native American Territories, and numerous werewolf appearances into an interesting and energetic mash-up.
While not truly adding anything new to either werewolf lore or the old west as portrayed countless times; Mr. Maxwell does an excellent job getting many details just right. He does this by keeping current anachronisms from his characters’ speech patterns and by ensuring his entire cast reacts naturally skeptical and horrified when the werewolves appear just as if werewolves in America were a completely unknown concept at the time.
On the whole the story and black and white art truly shine in the relatively quiet moments of the story; most notably during a few brief, but important, conversations between main characters as they discuss their similar Civil War experiences and those events have shaped their thinking and their lives since then.
All is not perfect with this fun tale. At times, the action sequences, while very energetic, come off a bit choppy and hard to follow, somewhat like many of the fight and battle scenes in the recent James Bond film. Some of this problem stems from the art and page layout. Still, the issue also comes from the relative lack of internal or external dialogue when the wolves appear. Also, a relative sameness exists in regards to the guttural sounds issued by the werewolf during attack sequences all of which disrupts the flow of activity.
All in all, both casual and serious fans of weird westerns will enjoy many aspects of this book and will certainly get their fill here and from Mr. Maxwell’s ongoing Internet postings at Graphic 6/CBR.
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