February 05, 2007


Here's the lowdown on the DESPERADOES series of mini-series, two of which feature Indians. The first one came out in 1998 and the fourth one is appearing now.

How the West Was Weird:  Mariotte Talks “Desperadoes” Return“The American West, in the Year of our Lord eighteen-hundred and seventy-nine, was a place of miracle and wonder, of powerful forces and magical acts.” It was with these words that writer Jeff Mariotte introduced us to the Weird West world of “Desperadoes” in 1998. And this January, IDW Publishing brings you the latest chapter in the Desperadoes saga, “Desperadoes: Buffalo Dreams.” CBR News caught up with Mariotte, who told us what to expect in the next chapter of his Weird West saga.

The first installment, “Desperadoes: A Moment's Sunlight,” came about when then Homage editor in chief Jim Lee approached Mariotte about doing a project set in the American West. The book married the Western and Horror genres at a time when neither genre was prevalent in the comics marketplace. In “A Moment's Sunlight,” former Texas Ranger and stock detective Gideon Brood set out to exact vengeance on the serial killer who murdered his Native American wife and their young son. Driven by self-loathing, the killer, Peik, of mixed white and Native American background himself, “preyed on half-breeds like himself, who were, to his twisted mind, ‘prisoners of their own skin.' He liberated them by skinning them, and the ritualistic way in which he did it gave him temporary powers of invisibility and enhanced strength,” said Mariotte.
Gideon Brood and his Desperadoes Ride Again!In Desperadoes: Buffalo Dreams, we catch up with the Desperadoes in Lordsburg, NM, right where we left them at the end of Desperadoes: Banners of Gold. As the group recollects themselves following their previous escapades, events soon conspire to draw them back onto the trail where they are mysteriously led to a rendezvous with the legendary Apache leader Geronimo. At his request, Giddeon Brood, his psychically gifted friend Abby DeGrazia, and the rest of their crew find themselves on a mission to investigate the cause of the dwindling buffalo herd.

"Western comics have made a bit of a comeback in recent years, which I'm glad to see, and I'd like to think the acclaim for Desperadoes over the years had something to do with it,” says Desperadoes creator Jeff Mariotte. “With Buffalo Dreams I hope to remind people that it takes more than hats and horses to make a real Western story--it takes a genuine understanding of the historical and mythical West and a willingness to do the necessary research. My ranch is smack in the middle of historic Western turf, in Geronimo's country, just down the road from Tombstone, and I'm a proud member of the Western Writers of America. I know the West and I think Alberto and I have come up with a tale that's both authentic and imaginative, that'll keep readers flipping pages to see what comes next--while confounding their expectations at every turn."
Rob's review:  I bought the first issue of BUFFALO DREAMS after reading about it in Emmett Furey's article on Indians in comics. My thoughts:

The story and art are decent but nothing special. The only Indian content is the desperadoes' meeting with Geronimo and Lozen.

Mariotte presents Geronimo as a spiritual leader and visionary, which is good. There's nothing stereotypical about this encounter.

Geronimo has to explain why he's helping the Sioux and why he wants the desperadoes to carry out the mission. The setup is somewhat contrived but the mission sounds promising.

We'll see how it pans out. For collectors, I'd say skip this issue, which is mainly a prologue, and start with #2.

To see some of BUFFALO DREAMS's pages, click on the links.

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