Written by Nate Cosby
Illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos
“Justice ain’t got no age.”
Nate Cosby (Pigs, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller) and Chris Eliopoulos (Franklin Richards, Misery Loves Sherman) present Cow Boy,, the story of a young bounty hunter determined to send his entire outlaw family to jail. He travels the Old West on a horse that ain’t his and won’t stop ’til everyone’a his kin’s in the clink. Also in this volume are short stories by the likes of Roger Langridge (The Muppet Show comic book), Brian Clevinger, and Scott Wegener (Atomic Robo), Mike Maihack (Cleopatra in Space), and Colleen Coover (Jim Henson’s The Storyteller).
This book isn’t coming out until May, but I thought it was high time we start talking about it. Why? Because this book is pretty much amazing, and it’s proof that when a book is truly all-ages, it’s about as big of a crowd pleaser as you can get in comics.
Check out my full thoughts after the jump, and if you don’t believe me, read it for yourself on the Cow Boy site.
“Bounty huntin’s simple.
A man done wrong.
You get that man. Give him to the law. Get paid for your effort.
Ain’t hard math.
Nobody’s taught me math just yet.”
With that opening page of narration from ten-year old bounty hunter Boyd Linney, I knew I was going to love this comic. It’s wonderfully simple, but also remarkably clever. That’s a perfect way to describe this book really, as it takes a pretty simple high concept but infuses it with such humor and occasional touches of humanity that it makes Cow Boy, the story of Boyd trying to wrangle up his law breakin’ family, a complete joy to read.
Of course, it helps that it has art from Chris Eliopoulos, a guy whose work I’ve long enjoyed but was even more impressive than usual in these pages. I know a lot of people will compare his work in this book to Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes work, and it’s a fair comparison for sure. The style and look of the book is reminiscent of it for sure.
But one of the things that Eliopoulos does incredibly well in this book that was an underrated Watterson trademark is excelling at using his art to make humor and emotion stand out all the more. The physicality in the expressions of the characters in this book makes everything pop all the more.
This book is really all about collaboration, as Cosby and Eliopoulos do a wonderfully effective job of bridging the written word with the art. While the three quarters of the story do a stellar job of showing that, with Boyd going after his family and getting into all kinds of trouble, the part that really took this book to the top for me from a creative standpoint was the last chapter.
While I won’t get into too much detail as to what happens to make sure that it isn’t spoiled for you, it finds Cosby and Eliopoulos tearing Boyd’s armor down and showing him as just a normal kid who wants a normal life for once. The innocence of the character finally stands out, and in a way, it makes the whole book seem all the more effective in retrospect. And it certainly makes the way the book ends unexpectedly tragic. The final page is pitch perfect, with Eliopoulos art showcasing our hero(es) on a beautifully rendered page (I love the dirtied effect around the edges of the page as well), buried under the weight of the final seven words.
Knowing the creators and their gifts, I knew I would be greatly amused by the book. But the way it ends? The emotional resonance to it? Takes the whole deal over the top.
Really, when you get down to this book at its most basic it is all about Boyd, and man, what a character this kid is. He’s a little gruff, a little short (of stature and of words) and just outrageously clever, and he’s honestly my favorite new character in comics so far this year. I know it’s not cool to say you’ll follow characters around from book-to-book these days, but man, wherever Boyd Linney is, I’ll be.
To close, I have to give a ton of praise to the team of Cosby and Eliopoulos. Not only did they tell a remarkably entertaining story with great characters and beautiful art, but they managed to make the whole experience all the more valuable by getting friends like Colleen Coover, Roger Langridge and especially Mike Maihack to add charming little interludes in-between Boyd’s adventures. This book doesn’t drop until May 1st, but I highly suggest pre-ordering it. Cow Boy is not to be missed, and it’s a perfect addition to our list of Off the Cape featured books.