Wild West 1: Calamity Jane

A graphic dramatisation of the story of Calamity Jane, told by Thierry Gloris and luxuriously illustrated by Jacques Lamontagne

The first volume of the Wild West series follows the early adult life of Calamity Jane. Starting off as a chamber maid in a brothel, she’s tricked into a debt she can only dream of repaying by selling herself, becoming a laudanum addict to numb the pain.

Calamity Jane taking Laudanum

Downtrodden and beaten, she meets Wild Bill Hickok, who’s passing through town to collect a bounty. Bill offers a sliver of hope into Jane’s dark life, suggesting that the American way isn’t about men subjugating women into lives of sexual slavery, but about using the power of the revolver to carve your own path through history.

Thierry Gloris’s dramatisation pulls no punches, depicting the life and times of these characters as brutal and violent. Money rules and everyone is a slave to the dollar. His script is punchy and fast moving, showing lives lived fast and loose.

It’s perfectly complimented by Jacques Lamontagne’s art. Exquisitely detailed and beautifully coloured, it draws you into Calamity’s world, mixing the rough and rugged population with the frontier ramshackle town.

Wild Bill Hickok gets involved in a saloon shootout

It’s a fascinating start, taking a deep dive into the lives of a couple of the era’s most exciting personalities, looking like a promising series to get into if you have an interest in this period of American history. Gloris is almost certainly playing loose and free with limited facts, but it catches the dark spirit of life at the time, with the art of Lamontagne helping to turn an interesting perspective on a life into an interesting modern take on this Western heroine.

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