Cow Boy: A Boy And His Horse by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos is obviously a comic made with love. I could tell that just from Cosby's tweets about it. I couldn't wait to dive in.
Cow Boy will fool you. If you look at nothing more than the cover – which you shouldn't ever do, incidentally – you'll think it's an adorable comic for kids. You'd be half wrong. It is adorable, but the subject matter is for all ages and the well done combo makes this a story you'd be silly not to check out.
Meet Boyd. He's a kid. He has a horse that's not his, and he's figuring out the fine art of being a bounty hunter. Oh, he also has an impressive gun that isn't what it seems to be. He's far from your average ten year old. He's got determination and all the spunk a kid needs to make it through the world on his own. He's not just hunting any old bounty either - he's bringing in his no good father.
This story and art tugged at my heartstrings. It went from grabbing me with cuteness to catching me off guard by causing strong emotional reactions. Some of the more adult themes that are touched upon include kid/parent relationships, bullying, and racism. Sometimes that stuff feels inserted as if the writer were trying to meet a "serious subject matter" quota. Not here. It's all organic and serves a purpose. Every panel tells or shows. Each panel propels the story and characters forward.
I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats. MUCH better. Really though. I did laugh, I felt pity and anger and loads of admiration for this kid. He's got a little curmudgeon sprinkled into his temperament that I can relate to, but he's still likable. It's easy to put yourself in his shoes, too. Who didn't want to be having adventures like this when they were kids? And now you get to see someone actually live it out.
Every detail in the background and even the palette capture the setting to such a degree I wanted to watch a Western immediately after I finished reading Cow Boy. Short comics by the talented likes of Colleen Coover, Mike Maihack, and Roger Langridge break up the chapters. They're all Westerns, and the stories stand separate from Boyd's tale.
In the end, it comes to this: Cow Boy takes me to a happy place. I see it having that effect on about everyone who reads it.
Keep up with news on Cow Boy at Tumblr! You can also stalk the creators on Twitter: @NateCosBOOM @ChrisEliopoulos. Archaia will be releasing five issues of Cow Boy digitally in January, and a hardcover collection will follow in the spring.
crossposted at Geek Girls Network