What would you do to save the one you love? Necromancy may not be the best solution, but it sure is a start for a lone bounty hunter who has sold her soul to a forgotten love god.
Goth Western is a stand alone graphic novel about a gunslinger and a tale of forbidden love. Set in the old west, but containing fantasy elements, this story is a love letter to cowboy stories and legends. The story begins on a cold open of a duel. A woman is held back by two burly men on the side while a woman in dark attire is readying to fire. There’s a cut to a ‘bang!’ and the title. We follow Jack and Evelyn, two star-crossed lovers caught in a tragedy. Evelyn’s saloon is taken over and Evelyn gets caught in the crossfire. Her death leads Jack to the extreme- calling out to Millustra, a god from her grandmother’s religion. Millustra grants Evelyn’s life back, but takes Jack’s soul as payment, employing Jack to do his dirty work. Her first job? To hunt down a serial killer who is targeting Millustra’s followers.
Created by SCAD Alumn Livali Wyle, this graphic novel is illustrated like a traditional ink wash comic. While there is evidence of a digital component in the stylistic process, the texture and warm greys create a stunning, classic look that fits the history of the novel. The most interesting pages are those with Millustra. He is depicted in a red line with very little shading on his form. Symbols of him such as flower petals or blood are also red-lined and colored in a soft pink to pop off the page.
While only having three chapters to spare for the whole story, the mythology of Goth Western could have been explained just a bit more than it is. Jack’s grandmother is said to have introduced Jack to worshipping Millustra, but very little is expanded outside of that. Three gods are mentioned within this pantheon which are Millustra, Tulla, and Mag. Though this story was stretched for space, a little more context on what this religion is would have been an interesting read.
The antagonist of this story is underserved as well. Though his story is interesting, he’s never given a name and his band of goons are all interchangeable. However, the layers of his actions speak volumes symbolically in the story. It’s never confirmed visually that the followers of Jack’s religion are Native American coded, but Jack is a person of color and mentions the victims as being “kin”. The drive to be acknowledged and chosen is ultimately his downfall when his actions place him on the hit-list of the god he was trying to appease. What we have of him in the story serves its purpose, but to be given a name would have cemented his place fully in the story.
Goth Western is a tale about how love can conquer all and the protection of dying cultures. Jack and Evelyn are a delight to follow on this journey, and the mystery and action of this story keeps you reading for more. The Goth Western tale may be over, but the impact it makes continues on as readers return again and again to see a story about love everlasting.
Be sure to check out Goth Western at https://www.gothwestern.com/