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Underrated: The Sixth Gun

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Sixth Gun Volume One.

Published by Oni Press, The Sixth Gun  was written by Cullen Bunn and features art by Brian Hurtt. This week we’re looking at the first 11 issues collected in the hardcover (which would have been two trade paperbacks from what I.m understanding). I picked up the hardcover used for just under $20

So what’s the story about?

During the darkest days of the Civil War, wicked cutthroats came into possession of six pistols of otherworldly power. In time the Sixth Gun, the most dangerous of the weapons, vanished. When the gun surfaces in the hands of an innocent girl, dark forces reawaken. Vile men thought long dead set their sights on retrieving the gun and killing the girl. Only Drake Sinclair, a gunfighter with a shadowy past, stands in their way. But the guns have a power… and a destiny… more terrifying than anyone imagines.

Before we get into the meat of the comic, physically this hardcover is a beast. It’s big enough that it won’t fit into an Ikea Kallax shelf unless you tip it on the side, which should give you an idea (assuming you know the size of those shelves). I went on a pretty strong Western kick over the last year or two, in no small part because of the videogame Red Dead Redemption II, and so I found myself quite excited when I found the first eleven issues of the series in one giant hardcover. Admittedly, I’ll probably continue the series in softcover – not because of the cost of the hardcover, but the size. It’s half an inch too big for my shelves, but that size does make it so much easier to enjoy the art work compared to a regular size comic or trade paperback.

And man, the artwork is good. Brian Hurtt illustrates and colours the first five issues, and is joined by colourist Bill Crabtree for the following six chapters of a fairly fast paced western story with supernatural elements. It’s a story that is perfect for comic book form. I’ve honestly no idea how hard this book is to find because I picked it up in a used store that just happened to have it for $20 (based on the ever reliable Amazon pricing, this was a great price), but if you can find either the trades, the hardcover, or even the floppy issues from your comic shop, then this is a fantastic read.

Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100. Eventually.