James Harren & Ramon Perez Cover Simon Spurrier’s Crazy New Dystopian Western, ‘Six-Gun Gorilla’
“A hole in the wall of reality, a mass-market TV show based on violent military suicide, a world where the laws of physics don’t work quite right, and — yes — a f***ing enormous primate with a f***ing enormous gun” is how longtime 2000 AD and X-Men: Legacy writer Simon Spurrier has described his audacious new project from BOOM! Studios, a dystopian sci-fi saga based on a public domain pulp fiction character whose true creator’s name has been lost to history. A proposition that Spurrier admits is as absurd as it is potentially awesome, we must say that the early cover artwork by ComicsAlliance favorites James Harren (B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth) and Ramón Pérez (Tale of Sand, Wolverine and the X-Men) go a long way towards winning us over. The first I’d heard of Six-Gun Gorilla was when CA contributor Sarah Horrocks created a pin-up of the character that we featured in a 2012 edition of Best Art Ever (This Week). As it turns out, the character originally appeared in British publications throughout the 1930s and was, according to the great pulp historian Jess Nevins, a what you see is what you get kind of serial. Played completely without irony, the Six-Gun Gorilla aka O’Neil wandered the Old West on a quest for revenge after the murder of his human mentor.
Also the writer of numerous sci-fi works for 2000 AD including Judge Dredd and Tharg’s Future Shocks and a contributor to what we’ve called the best crossover event of 2012, Spurrier became enamored with Six-Gun Gorilla after acquainting himself with Nevins’ research. “Part of what made Six-Gun Gorilla so enticing to me — besides all those conflicting layers of absurdity and awesome — is that the maestro who wrote all those original stories was never named,” Spurrier wrote on his blog. “Nobody knows who he or she was. That plays so deliciously into the mythos of The Western as a trope – as a thing responsible for its own legend – and it’ll come as no surprise that on the acknowledgement page for this series, right beside Jess’s name, you’ll find a dedication to ‘[CREATORS UNKNOWN].'”
Drawn by newcomer Jeff Stokely, Spurrier’s intention is to use the bizarre premise as a way of synthesizing his passions for the various genres it inhabits, particularly the Western. “I love Westerns,” he wrote. “Six-Gun Gorilla is the culmination of all my obsessive theorizing and cultural sampling: a love-letter to the most beautiful, most tragic, most self-fulfillingly-obsolete genre of them all.
“It’s is not about a Gorilla in a cowboy hat.”
BOOM! Studios’ solicit text offers more insight into the book and its world:
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.
Six-Gun Gorilla debuts in June from BOOM! Studios.