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High Moon - David Gallaher and Steve Ellis


None October 22nd, 2009

Zuda Comics was launched in 2007 as a way for DC Comics to publish new works exclusively for the web, with visitors voting on which ones they'd like to see continue. Now, however, it's no longer exclusive, as one of its early winners has made the leap to print.

That work is "High Moon," whose first three "issues" come collected in a paperback whose horizontal format preserves the comic's original on-the-monitor presentation. It's written by former Norman resident David Gallaher and illustrated by Steve Ellis.

As its pun-prone title suggest, this weird Western is a mash-up of cowboys and werewolves. In its tiny Texas town, the murder of people and livestock isn't due to the hand of another man, but supernatural creatures. A stranger rolls in to town to take care of it, and there will be blood.

One thing I liked about "High Moon" is that it's not a concept that repeats itself twice over. Each third tells its own story, with the subsequent tale moving that plot forward, rather than regurgitating. It makes for an unpredictable read "” one that mutates as its incorporates elements of steampunk and mysticism, even as it adheres to the simple template forged on the big screen by the likes of  "Van Helsing" and the "Underworld" franchise.

Gallaher's scripting is solid, although sometimes a bit muddy, as it's not always  entirely clear what just happened to this or that character. Part of the blame has to be shouldered on Ellis, too, who's responsible for telling the story visually. However, he does so with such a rich palette of colors "” particularly in his deep reds and moody blues "” that make such bumps relatively easy to overcome.

"”Rod Lott

 
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