Weird West is a term used, often collectively, for the hybrid genres of fantasy Western, horror Western and science fiction Western. The term originated with DC's Weird Western Tales in 1972, but the idea is older as the genres have been blended since the 1930s, possibly earlier, in B-movie Westerns,...
Weird West is a term used, often collectively, for the hybrid genres of fantasy Western, horror Western and science fiction Western. The term originated with DC's Weird Western Tales in 1972, but the idea is older as the genres have been blended since the 1930s, possibly earlier, in B-movie Westerns, comic books, movie serials and pulp magazines. Individually, the hybrid genres combine elements of the Western genre with those of fantasy, horror and science fiction respectively. Two early examples of Western fantasy are the short story "The Horror from the Mound" by Robert E. Howard, published in the May 1932 issue of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, and the novelette "Spud and Cochise" by anthropologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oliver La Farge, published in the non-genre magazine The Forum in January 1936. One of the earliest novels to introduce fantasy into a Western setting was The Circus of Dr. An example is Dead in the West , in which zombies rise after an unjustly lynched Indian shaman has cursed the town of Mud Creek, Texas. The prolific Western author Louis L'Amour sometimes ventured into science fiction, as with The Haunted Mesa which is set amid the ruins of the Anasazi. The main character was Jonah Hex, whose popularity secured his own eponymous series. In the mid-to-late 1990s, Desperadoes by Jeff Mariotte, from Image Comics/WildStorm Productions returned Weird Western comics to the stands at a time when none of the major publishers had Western comics in their line-ups. Preacher Special: Saint of Killers, a 4-issue mini-series, was a spin-off from Preacher by Garth Ennis. While the origin of the Saint of Killers in the Old West is the only true western element in the comic book Preacher, the series has been described as a "Splatterpunk Western" or a mix of the Western with the Gothic. In films, The Phantom Empire is sometimes considered the first fantasy Western. Gene Autry, in his first starring role as a singing cowboy, ventures down a mineshaft and discovers a futuristic lost kingdom of the type depicted in Flash Gordon. Horror Westerns began in the 1950s with the vampire western Curse of the Undead, and continued in the 1960s with films like Billy the Kid Versus Dracula , which depicted the real-life outlaw fighting against the fictional vampire, and The Valley of Gwangi in which Ray Harryhausen's special effects were used to pit cowboys against dinosaurs.
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