Tales of the Wild West


Reed Gunther and the Steak Snacking Snake!

Reed Gunther is a rough, tough, fast-talking cowboy who rides a bear named Sterling. What kind of cowboy rides a bear instead of a horse? He’s either the toughest cowboy in the Wild West, or his bear is unusually pleasant and vegetarian. Reed and Sterling are camping out on the range when Reed runs afoul of a woman rancher named Starla — he tried to spy on her while she was bathing in the river, and she didn’t take too kindly to that. Starla is soon distracted by Sterling, who she thinks is about to eat all her cows. And soon enough, they’re all severely distracted by the thing that’s really got Starla antsy — there’s a giant rattlesnake living in the river, and it’s been all she can do to keep it from eating her whole herd. Can the three of them figure out a way to stop the monster snake? And if they do, will the solution be worse than the original problem?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Shane and Chris Houghton have cooked up a very funny and accessible most-ages comic (“most ages” ’cause there’s a little killin’ here and there, and some young’uns could get upset). Reed and Sterling are very entertaining characters, and Starla makes a great action heroine. The dialogue is excellent, the action is exciting, and the artwork is the best kind of cartoony — fun and funny while also pushing the story onward and upward.


Reed Gunther in a Stalac-Tight Spot!

The second Reed Gunther adventure finds the cowpoke and his ursine sidekick venturing underground on a quest into a cursed cave to find gold. Unfortunately, the shady character who organized the expedition is looking for riches that have nothing to do with gold, and everything to do with capturing a few of the rampaging, underground, monsters in the cave to display in a circus. And worse than that, he doesn’t care what happens to Reed as long as he gets his monsters — and Sterling — for his show. Starla makes another appearance, rescuing the one person who could help save Reed and Sterling, but his idea of a solution doesn’t have much to do with saving anyone — more like “blowing up the caves and the whole town,” which isn’t really a good plan of action.

Verdict: Another thumbs up. Reed, Sterling, and Starla are still lots of fun, but even the supporting cast gets some great characterization, without being turned entirely into Western stereotypes. The action is even better here, with several outright cinematic moments, and the suspense, even for a mostly-kids’ comic, is first-rate.

Y’all go hunt these down.

EDIT: I got Sterling’s name wrong all the way through both reviews. How hyoomiliatin’.  :/

No Comments

  1. Reed Gunther.com | Hero Sandwich Review! Said,

    October 7, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

    […] Check it out!  The super nice Scott Slemmons reviewed both The Steak Snacking Snake! and A Stalac-TIGHT Spot! over at his awesome comic blog, Hero Sandwhich! […]

  2. Chris Houghton Said,

    October 13, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

    Thanks a lot for the great review Scott! Glad you liked the issue!