Gunpowder Girl & the Outlaw Squaw
by Don Hudson (Active Images, 2005)

Right off the bat, I'll admit that "Outlaw Squaw" might not be the most politically correct moniker for one of the main characters of a graphic novel. But face it, tiger, that is one catchy title! And it's pasted onto a downright rootin' tootin', polecat shootin', rip-roarin' good piece of sequential storytellin'!

Now that I've used up all of my B-western alliterations, let me tell you about it.

Gunpowder Girl & the Outlaw Squaw (referred to from this point simply as Gunpowder, for the sanity of reviewer and reader alike) is the brainchild of writer and artist Don Hudson. It's the story of a trio of female train robbers who end up running for their lives after their caper goes south. During the story, the characters overcome loss, bigotry and amazing odds, while revealing depth of character that belies the typical masked western criminal of fiction. But, don't worry; this isn't a four-color lecture on morals, talking down to readers. It's actually something of a rarity in comics, today; a western tale worth the paper it's printed on.

Hudson has done comics fans a service by developing characters that are more three-dimensional than paper cutouts. He has also paid women a compliment by not taking the opportunity to exploit and exaggerate the female form for adolescently arrested male readers. The characters are believable in every way.

His artwork is crisp and expressive, with clear, bold lines. No characters look alike, each retaining her own identity. What's more, Hudson is a wonderful storyteller, the word balloons simply adding to what I believe would already be a well-presented story.

Gunpowder is recommended for all but the youngest of readers, due to some violent imagery. If you're a fan of westerns, and don't like this book, I'll slap leather with ya!

Hey, whattayaknow, I still had one alliteration left!

review by
Mark Allen

14 July 2007

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