After reading comics for long periods of time, we tend to see the same sort of things. This isn't to say the current crop of comics and stories are bad. They just tend to be different variations on the same themes. Once in a while, we do get something a little different. A reminder that comics are meant to be and can be fun.
After reading the hardcover release of COW BOY: A BOY AND HIS HORSE from Archaia, I knew we had to get to the bottom of some deep and important questions concerning the origin and evolution of Boyd Linney, aka Cow Boy. Writer Nate Cosby was kind enough to answer a few questions (along with sharing the original crayon picture of Boyd.
Comic Vine: Where did the idea of a ten-year-old bounty hunter come from? Did you have doubts about doing a Western comic at all?
Nate Cosby: It all started with my desire to write something for Chris Eliopoulos that would show off his art and crazy-great storytelling abilities. Chris (or “Eeyore,” as I like to call him) tries to downplay his abilities, claiming he “lives in the medium shot.” But I knew he could go widescreen, and create beautiful visuals.
I love Westerns, so I asked Chris to draw a little kid cowboy. He sent me a pic colored in crayon. I looked at it and said “Cow Boy.” That one image immediately inspired me to write the first chapter, and discover Boyd’s character.
I never doubted doing a western…it’s one of the most durable, popular genres of the last century, in nearly all entertainment mediums. The Western is a great setting to tell a personal story, especially one full of hardship and heartache.
CV: What kind of research did you do to fully capture the feeling and atmosphere of what it'd be like to be a ten-year-old bounty hunter?
NC: It’s weird, but most of the “research” into it was thinking back on my own childhood. I tried to remember the alienated feeling of being ten-years-old, when you’re tired of being babied, but also dependent on others to survive. Being a kid can be fun, but it’s also hard…you’ve not fully educated, you’re being given lots of information that you don’t fully understand, you don’t know who to trust…it’s a trying time. I wanted to capture that frustration in Boyd. He’s in the middle stages of growing up…he acts out, makes mistakes, wants to be taken seriously. No matter how grown up he wants to be, he’s still a kid.
CV: Obvious question, will we be seeing more COW BOY stories?
NC: Nooooooooo doubt. Chris and I are already busy on volume II, which we’re calling COW BOY: UNCONQUERABLE. It’s a different kind of story from the first volume…it’s about the idea of a life path. No matter how much you try to control your journey, it never ends up going how you thought it would. Especially when you’re young.
CV: What's the origin behind Boyd's gun? Will that be told in a later story?
NC: That story’s coming. Boyd didn’t make Horse himself…someone realized that Boyd’s too little to lug around an adult-sized gun.
CV: Boyd's determined to bring in those who've 'done wrong.' Didn't he steal the horse he was riding in the beginning? He mentions it isn't his. Whose horse is it?
NC: That story’s coming as well…I’ll say this:
-CeeCee is definitely not Boyd’s horse
-CeeCee’s owner definitely didn’t give CeeCee to Boyd
-Boyd definitely didn’t steal CeeCee
But you’re alluding to something that’s at the heart of Boyd’s story. His ideas of “wrong” and “justice” are absolute, and absolutely flawed. He’s gone through a lot of bad in his life and had to mature faster than a normal kid, but that doesn’t mean everything he does is going to be the right, mature decision. With every step of his path, he learns new things, and realizes concepts like “wrong” and “justice” aren’t what he thought them to be when he chose to become a bounty hunter.
CV: Have you given thought to what Boyd would do if he captured all of his outlaw family? Would he continue bounty hunting?
NC: I’ve given it lots of thought, because while he’s got a lot of kin, it’s a finite number. I’ve written the broad strokes of his final bounty hunt. It’s gonna be the hardest one, and even if Boyd accomplishes what he wants to do, it’s not necessarily going to give him satisfaction or closure.
CV: Can you address the rumors that COW BOY is loosely based on actual events? (okay, maybe I made that up).
NC: Gotta come clean: Cow Boy is actually the adventures of a young Chris Eliopoulos. I’m just his biographer.
Boyd is a lot of me (plenty of my friends have said they can “hear” me talking when they read Boyd’s words), but he’s really evolved into something different than I’d originally conceived. I have a basic idea of what’s going to happen in future Cow Boy adventures, but if Boyd tells me different, then I’ll trust him and we’ll see where the trail takes us.
Here's a few more early looks at COW BOY.
Be sure to ask your comic retailer for COW BOY or order it online at your favorite online book shopping site.