Comic: "The Cowboy Wally Show"
Published by: Other
Written by: Kyle Baker
Artist: Kyle Baker

Reviewer: Max Burbank
Posted: 2/27/2008

Plot: A documentary on the rise and fall of legendary entertainer Cowboy Wally.

Review: This is hands down, bar none, the god damn funniest graphic novel I have ever read. If I make that claim for anything else, shoot me in the face.

Long out of print due to various contractual squabbles, “Cowboy Wally” is the creation of Kyle Baker, a guy who wrote and drew for both Marvel and DC, both serious work and comic. He dropped largely out of site for quite some time in the 90’s when he discovered he could make way more money optioning scripts in Hollywood that never ended up getting made then writing comics. He’s been back in recent years, writing and drawing “Plastic Man” for DC, which I tried, but it doesn’t have the phenomenal spark and ear for dialog of some of his earlier work, and “Cowboy Wally” is the best.

The book is a ‘Mockumentary’ in graphic novel form, chronicling the career of a fat, happy, drunken conman. We see his beginnings as a kiddie show host, his earliest film “Ed Smith, Lizard Of Doom”, the entire French Foreign Legion Epic “Sands of Blood”, but the highlight for me has to be “Cowboy Wally’s Hamlet”, most of which ends up being filmed on super eight in jail.

Bakers simple pen and ink black and white line drawings may at first seem odd to those more used to wash and color, but it allows him to zero in on faces and body language. Baker’s drawings seem to act in a way I’ve never seen another artist capture. In his prime, I don’t think anybody matched Baker’s ear for dialogue, either. Check this line from his lawyers defense right before he ends up getting thrown in the slammer:

"The evidence against my clients is circumstantial, and those girls brought their own drugs and Wally and Lenny didn't know it was a Laundromat, and the pony was there when they arrived."

Have I stolen from this guy? You damn well bet I have. Now that this gem is back in print, I implore you to buy it, it’s a friggin’ masterclass in comedy. Honest to Christ, if you find yourself disappointed sell me your copy and I’ll give it to someone else as a Christmas gift.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Mr. everywhere
Feb 28th, 2008, 01:40 PM
that guy on the cover is faaaaat!
Shining Beacon of Virtue
Feb 28th, 2008, 07:43 PM
I'm really freaking digging the art style in those pictures. This might be worth a read.
Last of the Time Lords
Feb 28th, 2008, 08:51 PM
I personally really enjoyed Baker's run on Plastic Man. Kind of reminded me of Freakazoid and The Tick.

But I certainly agree that Cowboy Wally is his best work by far. Pure genius.
Feb 28th, 2008, 10:10 PM
I was about to ask why you would torment us by showing us an awesome out of print book.
The Goddamned Batman
Feb 28th, 2008, 11:58 PM
Wait till one of us does a review of Miracleman
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Feb 29th, 2008, 09:20 AM
When this came back into print I bought three copies right away, seriously, because they are excellent gifts for friends who love comedy or comics.

Does anyone know if they collected his run on DC's the Shadow back in, I think, the eighties. He co-wrote it with someone, I can't recall who. I started out serious, and when it was clear the book wasn't going to survive it got hillarious.
Fookin' up planets!
Mar 2nd, 2008, 03:45 AM
All Kyle Baker stuff is amazing! Check out any of his books and be amazed... My favorite is "Kyle Baker Cartoonist", it shows a grip of his one off stuff and his comic book style views on being a dad... sweet, sweet stuff.