It was just another Old West tale… until Doug Freshley refused to die. Check out our review of Archaia’s graphic novel, The Grave Doug Freshley, due out later this month.
The Grave Doug Freshley
Writer: Josh Hechinger
At first glance, The Grave Doug Freshley seems like a fairly standard Western. Many of the standard devices are present: cowboys, guns, horses, and of course, the setting itself. However, what could have been just another plot filled with the pursuit of vengeance and justice took an interesting twist when Doug Freshley discovered that he could not be killed. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. Shot in the head early in the story, his body begins to deteriorate, but mentally, he is still alive–and can’t be killed again, no matter how many bullets pass through him. This makes him the perfect man to protect young Bat McNally and seek justice for the murder of Bat’s parents by the ruthless Delancey gang.
As Doug and Bat set out on their adventure, Doug doesn’t forget what he was originally hired to do–make sure Bat, short for Bartholomew, gets an education that may help secure his future. He does his best to keep Bat safe, which is no easy task considering that Bat is a rambunctious, adventurous child eager to avege his Ma and Pa. Doug is not looking for vengeance, however; he just wants justice, and doesn’t need any extra blood on his hands.
Though the undead cowboy made for an interesting story, what really sealed it for me was the dialogue in The Grave Doug Freshley. It is so well-written, believable, endearing, and amusing that it’s hard not to love Doug and Bat. Whether it’s Doug correcting Bat’s grammar or keeping him from swearing, or the sass of the Delancey gang boss, the characters are the best thing about The Grave Doug Freshley.
mpMann’s art is well-suited for the tone of this book. He makes all of the characters look unique, which is something I personally like to see–artwork that doesn’t automatically remind me of something else. mpMann’s distinctive style is a great companion to Josh Hechinger’s story.
The Grave Doug Freshley, which collects five 30-page issues, will be out at the end of the month. If you dig a good Western yarn, then this is the story for you. The book manages to take a classic genre and keep it from ever feeling stale or cliche, which is quite an accomplishment in an industry where it feels like everything has already done.