EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: ‘The Sword and the Six-Shooter,’ Book One – “The Demon Frontier”

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Sword and the Six Shooter Book 1 - But Why Tho

The Sword and the Six-Shooter Book One: The Demon Frontier is a graphic novel published by Storyworlds. It is written by Max Gadney & Simon Delafond, illustrated by Julian Parry, colored by Stefano Simeone, and lettered by Taylor Esposito. Disgraced samurai Ito Kojiro has been deputized by the Texas Rangers and is on the trail of a bandit named Tosahwi, who has carved a bloody path through all of Texas. Haunted by memories of the past, Kojiro utilizes his samurai skills and the weaponry of the West in his pursuit.

This is the latest in Storyworlds’ line of graphic novels, which includes the techno-thriller FAB and urban fantasy adventure The United States of Magic. Sword and Six-Shooter is another example of the publisher’s genre-busting content, as the plot and aesthetic of a Samurai movie are blended with the setting and action of a spaghetti Western. Gadney has said that the inspiration for the comic came when he was on holiday in Japan, as he wanted to mix the aesthetics from Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone’s films. He also credits co-writer Delafond for coming up with a ‘filmic arc’ while planning and writing the book; the end sequence definitely feels like the end of a movie’s first act.

Keeping in the tradition of samurai and western heroes, Gadney and Delafond infuse Kojiro with a stoic nature and a strong sense of justice. In a surprising twist, although Kojiro is driven by the death of his master, he claims that “destiny” is what led him to Texas and therefore his duties as a Ranger come before his personal quest for vengeance. He is continually haunted by two ghosts, who Parry depicts as writhing demons dishing out insults and/or advice. In fact, I have to applaud Parry for illustrating this comic in a style similar to woodblock art while paying attention to the fashion and landscape of 1870s Texas. And in line with the fusion elements, Kojiro carries his katana along with his six-shooter and even wears samurai armor under his clothes.

Rounding out the artistic team are Simeone and Esposito, whose colors and letters are a perfect match for the aesthetic Parry utilizes. Simeone’s color art changes depending on the location; the open plains of Texas are a sandy reddish-orange, while a fight scene taking place at night is shrouded in dark purple, casting shadows everywhere. The demons haunting Kojiro are colored a light blue and red respectively, and Esposito gives them ghostly word balloons that hover in the distance. Locations are also depicted by Esposito in a scratchy, old-school typeface that makes you feel like you’re watching a Western.

The Sword and the Six-Shooter Book One: The Demon Frontier blends elements from samurai and western films, resulting in a unique action-adventure. In the same vein as Heavy Metal’s The Boy Who Conquered A Mountain, this comic is a must-read for fans of samurai stories, or those looking to spice up their reading list with something unorthodox.

The Sword and the Six-Shooter Book One: The Demon Frontier is available now via Kindle.


The Sword and the Six-Shooter Book One: The Demon Frontier
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TL;DR

The Sword and the Six-Shooter Book One: The Demon Frontier blends elements from samurai and western films, resulting in a unique action-adventure. In the same vein as Heavy Metal’s The Boy Who Conquered A Mountain, this comic is a must-read for fans of samurai stories, or those looking to spice up their reading list with something unorthodox.