Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Many many moons ago, I walked into Big Pete’s Comics and Collectibles and found a Smiling Big Pete. Pete is big, usually, the sort of tall that makes you think that maybe he’s smuggling back mushrooms from a certain kingdom or maybe he did, in fact, defeat the King of the Koopas. And he often does smile. He is an affable fellow.
The smile on this day, though, was different. It was a special smile. A smile rooted in the discovery of something no one was ever supposed to know about. A smile that spoke of those maddening gifts that sometimes one is lucky enough to find, and – if one is paying attention – lucky enough to acknowledge.
Such treasures need to be shared.
“Have you ever heard,” Pete asked, speaking in the tone of one who has discovered a great truth, “of Shaolin Cowboy?”
The comic he placed in my hands was madness – starting with a wordless splash page fight scene that lasted an entire issue, where an unassuming old man in frumpy clothes fought an army armed with a stick that had two chainsaws attached to it. There was pathos here, somehow, an implied ethos and uncertain logos that left one stripped of order and adrift in chaos.
It was gory, ridiculous, and beautiful.
Geof Darrow is the mad prophet that brings us this vision of greatness, this salivating and glorious insanity. In the latest chapter of Samurai Cowboy the frumpy old man battles beachfront property and some of its associated horrors. Those horrors are looking for revenge for things maybe in a comic that has won and lost Eisner awards. Do not look away. Stare into the void. Read the comic. Look in the mirror.
Your smile will shock you, but only then will you Understand.