Comics have a deep history with the western genre. For many years weekly books were filled with hard-talking, quick-shooting cowboys and vigilantes. Needless to say, it is a form that is constantly being reinvented for new and interesting content. Nate Cosby (Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, Pigs) and Chris Eliopoulos (Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, Misery Loves Sherman) have taken the western in an entirely new direction with their new comic Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse.
Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse tells the story of Boyd Linney, a 10-year-old bounty hunter who is on a hunt for his very own family. Cow Boy also features four western short stories from Roger Langridge, Colleen Coover, Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener, and Mike Maihack.
I was fortunate enough to be able to talk with Nate and Chris about the origins of Cow Boy, as well as what it was like pitching the story of a child bounty hunter to publisher Archaia Entertainment.
Geeks of Doom: What can you guys tell us about Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse so far?
Nate Cosby: Right now you are catching us at the end of Cow Boy week. We just released the entire first chapter — 22 pages online at Cowboycomic.net” target=”_blank”>cowboycomic.net and the response has been really good so far, a lot of positive feedback and good reviews from reviewers. We are excited to finally let people see what we have been working on for close to a year.
Geeks Of Doom: Cow Boy also features four short stories from creators Roger Langride (Snarked!), Colleen Coover (Spider-Man), Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener (Atomic Robob), and Mike Maihack (Cleopatra in Space). Are all the shorts also western themed?
Nate Cosby: They are all westerns but they don’t tie into the main story. They are just kind of little asides. We had this idea to have chapter breaks, why not give the audience a little extra. We were incredibly lucky to have such talented people come in and do some quick two page westerns.
Geeks Of Doom: How did you guys get in contact with the additional creators who did the shorts in Cow Boy?
Nate Cosby: I just sent everyone emails, and I had worked with everyone before and I love those collaborators. So I just emailed everyone and said “Hey not for nothing, but we have 3-4 months, if you would be interested in doing a two-page whatever that would be great” and they were gracious enough to say yes.
Geeks Of Doom: How has working with the publisher, Archaia, been for you guys?
Chris Eliopoulos: It’s funny. They are a smaller company. They are more aggressive and daring. It’s sort of like the young new prize fighter who is coming up and willing to take more chances, really go beyond what people would normally do. They are doing a free hardcover comic book day, things to create excitement for their products. You know Marvel as great as they [are], tend to be more conservative and watch what they are doing. With Archaia, we originally came in and were going to do a soft cover, but they said, “Hey, no you have to do a hardcover.” Other than working with Nate, it’s been a great experience [laughs].
Geeks Of Doom: Archaia has a great history of doing a wide variety of projects both all-ages and more adult-themed. Were they more responsive to this type of project?
Nate Cosby: Yeah, I think they were. Like you said, they have a wide spectrum of products. They didn’t give us an editorial mandate or anything likes that. They just wanted us to make our book and have fun with it.
Geeks Of Doom: With Cow Boy, the idea right off the bat is a progressive concept of a 10-year-old being a bounty hunter for his own family. How do you spin that to parents, so they’ll read it to their kids?
Nate Cosby: I think one of the biggest steps I took when writing it was considering Chris’s art. Chris has such an open entertaining style and uses such a warm lovely palette that kids are immediately going to be attracted to that. And parents are going to see that and think its safe. At the same time with the writing it has more adult themes dealing with a boy who had to grow up fast. He’s not necessarily a role model that kids should follow; you should not turn your stick-horse into a shotgun and start rounding up your family. But at the same time it’s a coming of age tale and I think kids are going to respond to it positively.
Chris Eliopoulos: Plus putting it out [Cow Boy] for free online gives parents the chance to check it out in advance.
Geeks Of Doom: You both captured a very accurate western tone for the project; did you do a lot of research to create that tone?
Nate Cosby: Well, I am a big western nut, growing up I loved westerns both film and books. There are definitely some influences there.
Chris Eliopoulos: Mine actually came from the real stuff, a lot of documentaries and reading stuff and finding images online. I said this before: the limit of my western is Back to The Future 3.
Nate Cosby: So in the panel description I would have “An expansive Sergio Leone spaghetti western shot, and Chris would say, “I don’t know what that means.”
Chris Eliopoulos: What does this have to do with Back to The Future, I don’t understand?
Geeks Of Doom: Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us and congratulations on the success the book has been having so far.
Nate Cosby: Thanks so much.
Thanks again to Nate and Chris for talking with Geeks of Doom about Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse. If you would like to check out the first chapter of Cow Boy, you can head over to Cowboycomic.net. Also be sure to read Geeks Of Doom’s advanced review, then pre-order yourself a copy of Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse, which will be released on March 28, 2012.