Lucky Luke Billy the Kid by Morris and Goscinny introduces Europe’s most popular cowboy to the English speaking world.
The man ‘who shoots faster than his shadow’ ® rides through the Old West on his trusty steed, Jolly Jumper, ‘the smartest horse in the world’® -delivering justice to all he meets.
But when he gallops into Fort Weakling he might have meet his match in notorious outlaw Billy the Kid!
Billy has the whole town under his thumb and its people are too scared to fight back.
Alone and faced with a villain prone to temper tantrums, will Lucky Luke manage to save the day?
Set in the Old West with gunfights, jokes and plenty of (bad) puns –Lucky Luke Billy the Kid is a great introduction to this classic series!
Read on to find out…
Riding Out of a Childhood Dreams…
Lucky Luke Billy the Kid takes me back to my childhood! The series about the ‘poor, lonesome cowboy’ is so popular it’s hard to explain to somebody who’s never seen the mania in action!
There are spin-offs featuring popular characters from the series, an old animation that is always being repeated on some TV channel and some sort of live-movie adaption every other year.
The thing is that Lucky Luke as we know and love him almost didn’t happen! Morris, the pen name of Belgian artists Maurice De Bevere, started the series as a tribute and parody of the Wild West so beloved by Europeans.
But something was missing. Some of the early graphic novels are dark, Lucky Luke is a ruthless gunman who has no problem shooting his enemies down.
That is until Rene Goscinny took over writing the series!
Morris and Goscinny worked together in what is now considered the ‘golden-age’ of the series.
All of a sudden we see a kinder, less violent Lucky Luke. More of a travelling marshal or good-hearted vigilante than a cowboy.
A man who doesn’t shoot his enemies dead. Who, instead, shoot their weapons out of their hands or uses the environment to disable and trap them.
Needless to say I’m a big fan… back to Lucky Luke Billy the Kid…
A Town Full of Cowards Run by a Spoilt Brat (Who’s Really Good with a Gun)
Little Billy has always been a prodigy with guns. When he was but a boy the little rascal stole his Daddy’s six shooter and robbed his first stagecoach!
Needless to say that anybody looking for historical accuracy or realism a la Blueberry will not find it in Lucky Luke Billy the Kid.
When Lucky Luke rides into Fort Weakling, he quickly runs into Billy. The little thug is impressed by the fact that Luke doesn’t know about him and our hero doesn’t put up with his nonsense.
After smashing a cream cake into Billy’s face in the local salon, the only reaction Lucky Luke gets is Billy laughing himself to death!
The barkeep takes note and informs the Sheriff that there is a mysterious stranger in town who doesn’t fear ‘The Kid’.
The Sheriff and local newspaper editor Josh Belly offer Luke a job with one purpose –get rid of Billy the Kid.
Since our lonesome Cowboy is looking for work, he accepts the job and becomes a Deputy Sheriff.
How hard can this be really?
Thing is everyone in Fort Weakling is a world-class coward!
Billy robs the bank, nobody has seen a thing. Billy robs the stagecoach, the travelers don’t know anything about a robbery. Billy steals hard candy from the grocer, it’s a gift!
When Lucky Luke catches the little brat in the act, a journey acquits him of all charges…
Will Lucky Luke manage to bring down Billy the Kid on his own?
Especially when Billy finds out that Lucky Luke is a better shot than him! Will he end our cowboy’s adventure with a bullet before they begin?
You’ll have to read Lucky Luke Billy the Kid to find out!
The Art and Writing of Lucky Luke Billy the Kid
As always Rene Goscinny delivers comedy gold! His story of the Old West is charming, funny and incredibly entertaining.
Billy truly behaves like a kid…
Lucky Luke is the calm, strong bringer of justice.
The archetype of the good guy, but one who does what is right without being preachy or obnoxious.
Goscinny loves to take characters and make them the embodiment of character traits and stereotypes. All for comedic effect… and it works.
That being said I have some issues with Lucky Luke Billy the Kid that go beyond Goscinny’s writing.
Lucky Luke Billy the Kid isn’t the best Lucky Luke graphic novel I have ever read. But it’s as good a point as any to introduce you to the world of this beloved Franco-Belgian graphic fiction titan.
Morris’ art is so iconic, it’s hard not to gush about it! It’s cartoony but every character, every scene is render with such love, detail and simplicity –you can’t help but fall in love with it!
If you’ve never read Lucky Luke, get Lucky Luke Billy the Kid and enjoy it for Morris’ illustrations alone.
Is there anything I didn’t like about Lucky Luke Billy the Kid? Yes…
Like I said it isn’t the funniest Luck Luke graphic novel, and some of the humor gets lost in translation.
I’ve seen this before with Asterix and Iznogoud, they are outrageously funny in the original French and even the German and Italian translations are awesome.
Yet somehow the English translation doesn’t manage to capture the same ‘je ne sais quoi’.
It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of Lucky Luke Billy the Kid, it just that I have a baseline against which to compare this novel.
Then again Cinebook is really good at this sort of thing, so I’m going to cut them some slack and put it down as teething pain for a new series…
If you like the Old West, good laughs and want to meet the world’s most popular cowboy –read Lucky Luke Billy the Kid today!
It’s a fun read and good introduction to one of Europe’s most popular comedy graphic novel series!