Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz bring to you their high-concept horror book wherein Billy the Kid is traveling the globe with a band of circus freaks, encountering murderous monstrosities along the way. With an emphasis on the weird, is this a book meant for you? Major Spoilers has the review!
Previously in BILLY THE KID’S OLD TIMEY-ODDITIES: THE ORM OF LOCH NESS: Billy and the troupe of freaks venture on a quest to destroy the Orm of Lock Ness, a creature that thirsts for blood and is wreaking havoc on the countryside. Unfortunately for the gang, the locals consider the oddities to be spawn of the devil, leaving our protagonists in an unlucky situation…
WEIRD WITH A CAPITAL “W”
There’s a clever story at play here and some interesting characters. The book opens with a tale of a child-murdering circus freak that lets the reader know that chilling moments are on the way. The “orm” is revealed later in this issue to be one of literature’s most famous bloodthirsty beasts, and his interactions with Billy the Kid and his group are done very well. The plot moves right along at a good clip, and the story is never boring…it’s a nice, creepy little tale with some chuckles along the way.
“Billy the Kid” is no doubt a series that is still trying to find its audience…hence its multiple limited series…and this is in no small part due to the high concept of the book. Even before getting to the oddball adventures, the premise of the book is one that some may find befuddling…why is Old West outlaw Billy the Kid hanging out with circus freaks? Why are they fighting monsters? What’s an “orm?” All are good questions that are only answered dubiously. However, if one can set aside these questions, there’s a lot to like about Billy the Kid’s Old-Timey Oddities. Fans of Powell’s “The Goon” will feel right at home here, although the humor of that book is sometimes missed. There is at least one laugh-out-loud moment this book with Billy’s assumption of the villain’s religion due to his multiple brides. If you’re not familiar with Powell’s work, this title may take some getting used to.
HOTZ IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS
Here is where reviewer bias sinks in…I’m a sucker for anything Hotz-related. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, and books like these or the original “The Hood” series by Marvel are titles where Hotz can really cut loose. There are lots of inks and murky shadows which go a long way in creating just the right atmosphere for this book. Horror and Hotz go hand in hand, and this book benefits greatly from his presence.
BOTTOM LINE: AN ODD FLAVOR, BUT WORTH A TASTE
The greatest strength of BILLY THE KID’S OLD-TIMEY ODDITIES is also its greatest weakness. It is extremely bizarre and wonderful, but it is so exotic that it is easy for new readers to alienate the title. Don’t fall into this trap if you love horror or are in the mood for something strange in your reading list. There’s a nifty little story in this book that feels like a classic grind-house film is playing out on the pages. Hotz creates a terrific ambiance and Powell spins a yarn like few other writers. Gooble, gobble, one of us!
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!