Cowboys & Aliens

I probably won’t see Cowboys & Aliens this summer — it’s due out July 29 — since I found out they’re playing it straight, without the comedy I would expect. But I admit, I was curious to see the graphic novel it was based on, since I felt as though I already knew so much about it without having ever seen it.

I didn’t read the comic when it originally came out from Platinum. Then, it was only $5 — now, it’s a handsome hardcover with dust jacket, cover-priced $24.99 for its 100+ pages.

Cowboys & Aliens cover
Cowboys & Aliens
Buy this book

I don’t really want to get into the credit situation, other than to say that I’ve become leery of any work with too many hands touching it. I prefer more focused visions, although in this case, once you get past the high concept of the title, I’m not sure there’s much more to say about it.

The story itself, such as it is, is full of action scenes, beginning with cowboys being attacked by natives. Then a spaceship lands, which leads to aliens vs. Indians, aliens vs. the calvary, aliens attacking the town, several “fight then team up” encounters, plus sacrifices, battles, and sneak attacks.

The art is competent — you can tell what you’re supposed to be seeing, but there’s no heart to it, and sometimes it’s just a bit off in terms of the perspective or anatomy. The dialogue is pure exposition, as characters talk to themselves or others to tell us what we’re seeing. Events happen abruptly, there’s no characterization, and the cast is barely two-dimensional in motivation.

I suggest ignoring the laughable preview completely, which uses overwritten prose to compare the treatment of Native Americans with the alien conqueror — equating the cowboys to interstellar slavers, in direct contrast to the rest of the book, which is very modern in the way all the humans team up, whether occupier or native. (You can see some of the prologue, as well as other random pages, in this online excerpt.)

If you’re at all interested in seeing the movie, I would recommend you not read this book. Actually, I don’t recommend anyone read this book, since it’s nothing but a string of clichés. I don’t know how faithfully the movie is following it, but I suspect enjoyment of the film will be damaged if you know the plot twists, predictable as they are, ahead of time. That this book exists is a testament to the power of the right title, even one as obvious as this.

On the other hand, if you see the movie and love it, getting this book to remember it by is likely going to be cheaper than the Blu-ray. (The publisher provided a review copy.)


6 Responses to “Cowboys & Aliens”

  1. William George Says:

    I’m purposely skipping this movie because even downloading it would be a form of support for that parasite Rosenberg.

    Everyone should do the same.

  2. Jim Perreault Says:

    I am not familiar with Rosenberg. What makes him a parasite?

  3. New Cowboys & Aliens Poster Emphasizes Star Power » DVDs Worth Watching Says:

    […] (That’s Jon Favreau, since his name doesn’t appear that big.) The movie, based on a graphic novel developed just to become a film, is due out in the U.S. July 29. Here are some more pictures, first […]

  4. Catching Up With Comic Book Movies: Cowboys and Aliens Flops, Green Lantern Continues » DVDs Worth Watching Says:

    […] particular column I’m linking to points out that, since Cowboys & Aliens (based on a graphic novel written solely to get movie interest) effectively tied with The Smurfs, The Smurfs is considered to […]

  5. Cowboys & Aliens Comes to Blu-ray, DVD December 6 » DVDs Worth Watching Says:

    […] & Aliens, starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in a sci-fi/Western mash-up based on a graphic novel. Cowboys & Aliens on […]

  6. A Creator’s Horror Story: Losing Control of Your Work » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] a deal with Platinum Studios (you know, the group that bought their way onto bestseller lists for Cowboys and Aliens because they wanted more Hollywood interest and destroyed a great free comic website). They […]

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