Red Range: A Wild West Adventure
Publisher: It’s Alive! Press
Writer: Joe R. Lansdale
Artist: Sam Glanzman
Colors: Jorge Blanco & Jok
Letters: Douglas Potter
Editor: Drew Ford
Review by PeteR
Red Range by writer Joe R. Lansdale and the late artist, Sam Glanzman has finally been reprinted and released. Originally Red Range was published in 1999 by Mojo Press but quickly vanished after they went out of business. This edition contains an introduction by the 1999 Mojo Press editor Richard Klaw, the original story (for the first time in color), an afterword by Steve Bissette and a short story written and illustrated by Sam Glanzman called “I Could Eat a Horse”, which has been out of print since 1996.
Red Range, although brilliant, is not an easy book to read. It’s portrayal of racism and violence is shocking and graphic. Caleb Range, a black farmer in old Texas is beaten and nearly drowned while his wife and son are murdered. Range dedicates himself to exacting retribution against the Klu Klux Klan, especially those who destroyed his family. The local Klan is headed by a particularly odious man named Batiste. The running battle between Range and Batiste is relentless. Their pursuit of one another across the Texas plain takes a number of odd twists that lead to a finale that is completely unexpected.
Joe R. Lansdale is a prolific and mesmerizing writer. Some of his work in comics include three Jonah Hex miniseries (all inked by Sam Glanzman) and a Lone Ranger and Tonto series from Topps. He wrote three screen plays for Batman, the Animated Series. He has written a multitude of novels including the Hap & Leonard series. He is also a martial arts instructor. Lansdale’s writing can depict amazing horror while still providing the occasional dark chuckle. To anyone who has spent time in a small town out west, his dialogue feels unfortunately organic.
Red Range’s art was drawn by the legendary Sam Glanzman, who passed away on July 12, 2017. Among his many credits are A Sailor’s Story, Charlton’s Hercules and the recently released U.S.S. Stevens, The Collected Edition (also edited by Drew Ford). Glanzman’s art is powerful, detailed and comprehensive. The reader can practically smell the old west’s perpetual lack of hygiene as well as the carnage of the story.
As stated earlier, when Red Range was first released in 1999 by Mojo Press, it was in black and white. In this new version the colors were rendered by Jorge Blanco and Buenos Aires artist Jok. Their work adds verisimilitude to the chaos and gore of Red Range.
Why you should buy this book? Red Range is not for the faint of heart. The first page alone is enough to provide for a week’s worth of nightmares. The violence is explicit. The Klan members, particularly Batiste are unredeemable beyond measure. The reader is meant to wince upon exposure to the cavalier brutality and racism in this book. In some ways, Red Range is a cautionary tale for our times. In an era of complicity with hate groups and racial profiling by the government, Red Range is a needed bucket of cold water in the face of the reading public.
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