Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The True Death of Billy the Kid

While reading this book I realized that pretty much all I know about Billy the Kid I know from popular versions of his story, like Young Guns or Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, which means I have really only been acquainted with lots of legends and lies about the guy. This book, The True Death of Billy the Kid, is not a full biography of the infamous outlaw, but it is a well researched and fully realized account of his last days: After being captured, tried, and found guilty, Billy enacts a daring escape and goes on the lam for a time before he is finally tracked and gunned down.
As you can see from the excerpt above, this book features lots of action and intrigue. It is a relatively short work and a page-turner as well. The art is crisp and beautiful to behold. And unlike most books by this author, this one features larger pages, which help feature the maps, floor plans, and lots of other details that help bring the story to life. I feel that this book is pretty economical in terms of storytelling, but it is still affecting and fascinating. It was a fun read, plus it taught me a bunch to boot.

Long time readers of this blog may have realized that I am a huge fan of Rick Geary's work. He has been making comics for decades now, winning major awards for his efforts, and telling all kinds of historical tales in graphic novel format. He is meticulous in detail and research, and I love his specific art style. He is especially known for his Victorian Era and 20th Century series of murder tales. Go check out these reviews and see what I have written about them over the years. He talks about his work on this newest book in this interview.

The reviews I have read about this book have been positive. Publishers Weekly concluded, "While the Kid has been treated to ample renderings in film, television, and prose, Geary makes his story feel fresh." Johanna Draper Carlson stated that "Geary’s art is well-suited for this kind of reporting, as it’s straightforward in showing expression and setting. With its pen-and-ink, old-fashioned flavor, the reader feels transported back to an earlier time." R.C. Harvey wrote, "As always, he is scrupulous in covering the known as well as the unknown ground."

The True Death of Billy the Kid was published by NBM, and they have a preview and more info about it here. This book was funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign a few years ago.

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