First, let’s define “Weird West”.
Weird West is a literary sub-genre that combines elements of the Western with another literary genre, usually horror, occult, or fantasy.
DC’s Weird Western Tales appeared in the early 1970s and the Weird Western was further popularized by Joe R. Lansdale who “is best known for his tales of the ‘weird west,’ a genre mixing splatterpunk with alternate history Western almost entirely defined by the author in the early nineties. His work reads a little like the sort of folklore in which Mark Twain dabbled (or the Gothic in which Flannery O’Connor was involved), but with zombies and gore.”
Examples of these cross-genres include Deadlands (Western/horror), The Wild Wild West and its later film adaptation (Western/steampunk), Jonah Hex (Western/superhero), BraveStarr (Western/science fiction) and many others.
I have to single out a couple of examples here. The Wiki page mentioned BraveStarr, a tv show set in the future, from my childhood. BraveStarr played a big part of my childhood. If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest you go out and find a copy. It’s an 80s cartoon, but has huge potential for a reboot or redesign.
My most recent foray into the wild world of the Weird West was a book series by Mike Resnick centered on Doc Holliday. I immediately fell in love with these books, starting with book 1 – The Buntline Special. I ate up the next two books in the series as quickly as I could and I’m eagerly looking forward to the 4th.
I also feel that i must pay homage to the first Weird Western story, arguably the first Steampunk story, but definitely the first published mechanical man dime novel – The Steam Man of the Prairies by Edward S. Ellis. You can read the story itself here:
Over the next week I’ll be focusing on the Weird West genre and everything Weird West. Our friends over on Facebook helped me compile a list of books, comics, movies, tv, and more. Each day I’ll focus on a different group as we explore the wild world of the Weird West!
Check back for more and KEEP GEEKIN’!