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The Big Book of the Weird Wild West

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These bizarre tales are a far cry from the Wild West you remember from the movies. Among the stepping stones to the conquest of North America: cannibalism, mummified murderers, sadism, lynch mobs, bad-luck curses, unexplained decapitations, mysterious airships, cults, communes, and more.


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These bizarre tales are a far cry from the Wild West you remember from the movies. Among the stepping stones to the conquest of North America: cannibalism, mummified murderers, sadism, lynch mobs, bad-luck curses, unexplained decapitations, mysterious airships, cults, communes, and more.

30 review for The Big Book of the Weird Wild West

  1. 5 out of 5

    Quentin Wallace

    I love the "Big Book" series from Factoid Press, and this was by far my favorite volume. I have written a few weird western novels myself, so I knew going in this would be one I'd enjoy. There's too many great things in this book to go into, but there's plenty of weird factual tales mixed in with some legends and tall tales as well. If you enjoy weird westerns, old west history, or really just westerns in general this one is really worth tracking down. I love the "Big Book" series from Factoid Press, and this was by far my favorite volume. I have written a few weird western novels myself, so I knew going in this would be one I'd enjoy. There's too many great things in this book to go into, but there's plenty of weird factual tales mixed in with some legends and tall tales as well. If you enjoy weird westerns, old west history, or really just westerns in general this one is really worth tracking down.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    Love this curation of the Wild West as you not know it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Daniel A.

    The Big Book of the Weird Wild West, primarily written by John Whalen, was one of the better volumes in Paradox Press' The Big Books Of… series. This Big Book manages to adeptly straddle the line between romanticizing the Wild West and not at all sugarcoating it; it more than adequately presents the Wild West as a grand land of opportunity for thousands, if not millions, of Americans in which much of modern American culture developed, but it also tells of the racism, genocide of Native Americans The Big Book of the Weird Wild West, primarily written by John Whalen, was one of the better volumes in Paradox Press' The Big Books Of… series. This Big Book manages to adeptly straddle the line between romanticizing the Wild West and not at all sugarcoating it; it more than adequately presents the Wild West as a grand land of opportunity for thousands, if not millions, of Americans in which much of modern American culture developed, but it also tells of the racism, genocide of Native Americans, lawlessness, and Manifest Destiny like they really were. I was a history major in college, but the Wild West wasn't an area I extensively studied; The Big Book of the Weird Wild West, while not entirely "weird" per se, provided a fair amount of information that I had not known or knew only a little before, and its extensive and thorough bibliography provided sources for much further reading. That Whalen et al. frequently make clear when a story they tell is apocryphal or has different amounts of apocryphal information is a benefit; however, there are certain minor lapses in narrative in which certain omissions are partially elided, although these omissions are rather minimal. (For example, it would've been nice if the strip on the Glanton Gang would've specified not only that much of the story was apocryphal, but that Whalen et al. derived their story heavily from Cormac McCarthy's fictionalization of the gang in Blood Meridian.) Add to the equation that The Big Book of the Weird Wild West contains early artwork from Tales Designed to Thrizzle's Michael Kupperman and the first creative appearance anywhere of My Chemical Romance leader and The Umbrella Academy's creator Gerard Way (then an art student in New York City), and this Big Book almost entirely succeeds on its own merits. Perhaps most importantly for a reader more than twenty years after its writing, The Big Book of the Weird Wild West in no way glosses over the rampant racism and genocide perpetrated by European-Americans of Asian-, Native, and Black Americans; Whalen et al. devote entire chapters to the stories of these marginalized folks in Wild West history, which at least I seem to recall was not as prevalent back in the 1990s. Add to this that the sources consulted include Native American and Black American sources, and Whalen and co.'s sensitivity to their many subject matters shines through. The Big Book of the Weird Wild West isn't perfect, but it is an excellent addition to any comics library (assuming one can find it, out of print).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This collection of black and white entertaining comic-style renderings of vignettes about the West is really well put together. Most of the stories concern actual events from the times of Manifest Destiny to Turner's "End of the Frontier". Everything included in the collection is backed with bibliographic citations. Thus this collection with judicious use could be used as a supplement to a study of American History. This collection of black and white entertaining comic-style renderings of vignettes about the West is really well put together. Most of the stories concern actual events from the times of Manifest Destiny to Turner's "End of the Frontier". Everything included in the collection is backed with bibliographic citations. Thus this collection with judicious use could be used as a supplement to a study of American History.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mati

    I am from European country and tales from the Wild West have very romantic air for me. However they are partly gone because of this book. The bloody tales about murders, lynching and other very violent acts are packed in to short stories about the most notorius criminals and weird creatures who roamed free in those times. You think only one thing you would never ever want to meet them. Artwork styles are changing from story to story and sometimes it was ill fitting to the whole mood.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Kahn

    This is a fun, interesting read. It provides a lot of quick, bite-sized, fascinating anecdotes about the old west, most of which were new to me. The brevity of the entries, combined with the fact that it's a graphic novel, lets the reader read a quick one when only a couple of minutes are available, or sit down and read several when they have more time. This is a fun, interesting read. It provides a lot of quick, bite-sized, fascinating anecdotes about the old west, most of which were new to me. The brevity of the entries, combined with the fact that it's a graphic novel, lets the reader read a quick one when only a couple of minutes are available, or sit down and read several when they have more time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Harris

    Check out my review of this nostalgic comic and others in the Factoid Books series on my Booklikes article, Big Book of Factoids! 100% true, maybe not, but 100% '90s definitely! Check out my review of this nostalgic comic and others in the Factoid Books series on my Booklikes article, Big Book of Factoids! 100% true, maybe not, but 100% '90s definitely!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Love everything this series, Big Book of Thugs FTW, though

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pascale

    After seeing this book at some friends’ cabin, I was delighted to find a copy at Powell’s Book. Strange tales told in graphic novel format.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Fun, graphic novel looking at lesser-known history. You know it's a serious book when references are given at the end! Fun, graphic novel looking at lesser-known history. You know it's a serious book when references are given at the end!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wallace

    Vastly entertaining.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  13. 5 out of 5

    Max

  14. 5 out of 5

    Regan Sharp

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jimi

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike orum

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sugarmama

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maarten Van Meer

  20. 4 out of 5

    Boyd

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  22. 5 out of 5

    debra blanton

  23. 5 out of 5

    1001DRock

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carpii

  25. 5 out of 5

    Avi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Fuchs

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lloyd-holt

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ipumputi

  30. 5 out of 5

    Louise

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