By Goscinny & Morris
Lucky Luke; the fastest (and coolest) cowboy in the west, is a classic character for a good reason. Goscinny & Morris created a perfect template in Luke, allowing them to create stories where every volume relies on some new situation or character to drive the story and Luke himself is there simply to be the noble cowboy, righting wrongs and very much playing the straight man to whomever Goscinny & Morris decides will be getting the gags this time round.
The slightly strange publication order of Lucky Luke from Cinebook means this introduction to the Dalton Cousins occurs after we’ve already seen 6 of their appearances. But it’s inconsequential, every Luke volume stands on it’s own. And this is another great one as we meet the Dalton Cousins anew:
The original Dalton Gang featured in the 1954 Lucky Luke volume Hors-La-Loi (Outlaw) with Morris writing and drawing his creation. Back then, without the extra subtlety of Goscinny’s writing, things were a little less comedic, and the volume ended with the deaths of all four bandits.
But here, with more comedy and less murderous intent, Goscinny and Morris conveniently get around their deaths by introducing the Dalton Cousins. However, Joe, Jack, William and Averell Dalton are nothing like the originals. Inept doesn’t really begin to cover it:
Their first attempt at revenge just turns into a farce. But these crooks are nothing if not determined and regroup, retrain and set off in their pursuit of Lucky Luke. And that’s your story.
The Daltons are great slapstick villains and Goscinny and Morris have a grand old time milking the visual gags for all they’re worth and coming up with increasingly inventive ways for Luke to outfox them.
Initially content with merely containing their bumbling attempts, Luke eventually comes to the conclusion that he’s going to have to bring the Daltons in one by one. And that’s the basis for a series of set pieces that forms the back end of the story.
We get a new volume of Lucky Luke every couple of months. This is a very good thing for the reader, as Goscinny & Morris’ laid back cowboy’s adventures are, almost without fail, marvellous, relaxed, perfect bits of comedy storytelling, full of laughs and classic characters delivered by two creators completely in command of what they’re doing.
See you in two months for more of the same. Isn’t it great to be able to say that?