Outlaw Territory, the western anthology from Image, is now onto its third volume and there’s been a load of very talented creators involved throughout. I guess everyone loves a western, eh? I do – Deadwood, Daniel Woodrell, Cormac Mccarthy, a Van Zandt of apocalyptic alt-country songs (that’s the collective noun) and Unforgiven to name just a few. So I was really pleased to be asked to contribute an eight page story. Let’s do something simple and straightforward, I thought. Let’s race through the bulk of American history in those eight pages, as we follow a mythical firearm through its inception and its numerous owners, right up to modern day.
I was really very happy with the script. Quite different to my usual tone. I was coming off the back of writing the first series of Ichabod Azreal for 2000AD and the narrator’s voice there kind of flowed into this story. And the narrator’s voice in Ichabod was basically heavily influenced by the language of Woodrell’s superb Civil War novel Woe To Live On. Probably my favourite of his books. Incidentally, if you’ve not read any Daniel Woodrell, then do. He’s one of life’s born writers.
Anyway, so the script, I was happy with, but could I find the right artist? Ben Oliver was originally supposed to draw it. I’ve worked with Ben before, we meet for coffee occasionally in Bristol, where we both live. But Ben was busy and eventually had to pull out. I asked a few good people I knew – I didn’t want to compsomise and really felt this one was worth waiting on the right person. No one was up for doing a creator-owned eight pager. In the end, I gave up and asked Michael Woods, the editor of Outlaw Territory, if he knew anyone. He said he knew this guy, Rey Macutay who was, apparently, great. I had no clue. By this point I just wanted the thing drawn and agreed, kind of lamenting the fact that this script that I really liked was in the hands of a stranger. Who knows what it would look like? Brace for disappointment.
I got very, very lucky. The pages come back and they were just outstanding. Outstanding to the point where I showed them to a very good artist friend of mine to ask what he thought. “This is the best artist you’ve ever worked with,” I was told. Rey, it turns out, is a brilliant artist from the Phillipines who has been working in animation. The eight pages of Evangelyne he turned in not only captured the tone of the script completely they improved it beyond all recognition. Rey was good enough to sell me two of the pages. One of which is framed on my office wall right now. If I ever get the money together I’ll frame the other one too.
And, in similar good fortune, Matt Wilson kindly agreed to colour the story, which made it look even better. Here’s a page just to prove it.
So, only an eight-pager but a very, very beautiful eight pager that turned out better than I could’ve ever imagined. Sometimes, in the arranged marriage of a comics partnership, you hit the jackpot. A bit like turning up on a blind date and finding that Olivia Munn’s waiting for you.
Here’s the solicit details for Outlaw Territory #3.
OUTLAW TERRITORY, VOL. 3 TP
STORY: Joshua Hale Fialkov, Rob Williams, Chris Ryall, Matz, Corinna Bechko, Joshua Ortega, Michael Woods, and more.
ART: Tradd Moore, Greg Scott, Amilcar Pinna, Jonathan Way$hack, Rey Macutay, Kyle Latino, and more.
Cover: Ryan Sook
296 PAGES / FC / M
Join us one last time as the critically acclaimed anthology Outlaw Territory returns with it’s largest volume ever! Thirty-five tales of the Old West from some of the biggest and brightest talent in the industry today. A wonderful addition to any comic lover or Western enthusiast’s bookshelf. Overlooking such an extraordinary collection of graphic storytelling would be downright criminal!