- The Cowboy With Many Hats
- Critical Entertainment
- Written by Christopher Reda
- Illustrated by Tadd Galusha
- Available November 15th, 2023
When the Sheriff of an old western town is framed for murder by the State Marshall, he must realize that all things pass before he loses hope to move on.
There are two primary kinds of entertainment, comic or otherwise. One is purely recreation for its own sake, a thing that everyone needs now and then. The other carries itself in layers, asking the audience for an interpretation based on individual experiences. Each kind of story has its merits & flaws, with the biggest drawback being that the goal is always finding the broadest audience possible.
Readers who want to sit back and enjoy an old western shoot ‘em up can settle in with the confidence that The Cowboy With Many Hats will deliver the goods. People who want deeper meaning in the stories they read will look at those other people and shake their heads… and then realize that Cowboy has just what they’re looking for. Christopher Reda has managed to shoehorn both action, story, & sub-story into one outstanding comic, and he did it with efficiency and skill. At first look, our sheriff with no name is everything people want to see in a “hero” (confident, no-nonsense, decisive), but it doesn’t take long to realize that this person isn’t very relatable or likeable. As things move along, the layers peel back and the underlying story takes shape. The tragedy of our protagonist is that while he thought he had it all figured out, he forgot to account for the inevitability of change.
Tadd Galusha hits the brutality of what we think of as the Wild West like the hammer falling on a Colt .45. Take a quick look at the layouts on the pages below, and you’ll get the thrill of the shootout, see the adulation of the crowd, and feel pretty good about your place in life. Then look at it again, and if you’re really paying attention, you’ll start to see that the layers built up in Cowboy aren’t limited to the written script. There’s all the foreshadowing you could ask for, dropped into the panel layouts. Almost literally… pay attention to where the Sheriff is shown in shadow for some great character beats. There are moments in this book that hint at the deeper story, where Galusha gives a glimpse of what’s coming in one panel before moving on to the next.
Critical Entertainment has recently made the jump into the Previews World catalogue & Diamond Comics. So far, what I’ve seen of their lineup shows that as a stand-alone parable or the first of many, The Cowboy With Many Hats is what they strive for in all of their work… thought-provoking stories that can serve up the entertainment on multiple levels. I read a lot of comics, and now & then putting a relevant review together is an effort. Gotta say, this one was pretty easy, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes down the pipe from these creators.
Final Score: 12/13