Simon Spurrier & Jeff Stokely’s ‘Six-Gun Gorilla’ Is Insane
The future: “Blister” is an exotic frontier world originally colonized by humans after we depleted our own natural resources, but whose fertile lands have since become stained by a bloody civil war. All the action is transmitted back to Earth and directly into the minds of a depraved audience engrossed in every gruesome sight and sound from the Blister front. This is accomplished by with the service of “Holeheads” — suicidal men and women who agree to be equipped with a surgically implanted “psychic tumors” that relay the data in real time in exchange for the chance to get themselves legally killed in a spectacularly violent fashion.
There is also on this world an enormous talking gorilla wearing a poncho and carrying really big guns.Written by wild sci-fi vet Simon Spurrier (Judge Dredd, X-Men: Legacy) and drawn by talented newcomer Jeff Stokely, Six-Gun Gorilla is a miniseries launching in June from BOOM! Studios. I was curious to read it based on the crazy covers alone, which are drawn by ComicsAlliance favorites Ramón Pérez and James Harren, but now that I’ve had a chance to read issue #1, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this pseudo-space-western unfolds.
The first I’d heard of the 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 pulp historian Jess Nevins, a totally un-ironic, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of serial. Its original creators’ names have been lost in time, and the material long since passed into public domain.
While dedicated to the unnamed creator, Spurrier and Stokley’s project bears barely even a superficial resemblance to the bizarre source material. No, the BOOM! book is its own kind of bizarre — a good kind, characterized by black humor and social satire but also a kind of romantic earnestness that you don’t usually see in ultra-violent dystopian sci-fi. It’s been created from scratch by Spurrier and Stokley, and for Spurrier’s part, the mystery of the original was a major inspiration.
“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].’”
The images you see above are details I picked from latter pages to give you a truer sense of the book, as the opening sequence previewed below is largely just setup for what’s to come when Six-Gun Gorilla’s hapless, unnamed hero — a suicidal pulp fiction librarian, of all things — lands in the middle of a war-torn Blister, and encounters the series’ titular beast. Check out the first four pages, plus some excavated remains of the original Six-Gun Gorilla material.
Six-Gun Gorilla #1 goes on sale in June from BOOM! Studios. It can be pre-ordered from finer comic book stores.