“A very big ape with very big guns blowing very big holes in very bad people.”
About this project
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Howdy pardners! The Wild West just got a whole lot wilder! Hang onto your britches, because you’re in for one heck of a ride with more gun-fights, saloon brawls, chases, bloody vendettas, noble heroes and sadistic villains than you can shake a banana at!
Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance is the rip-snortin’, bone-crushing, brain-blasting story of a pistol-packing Gorilla and his bloody quest to hunt down and destroy the gang of cut-throats who murdered the man who raised him like a father.
East Congo, 1849: While on Safari in Africa, an English big-game hunter slaughters an entire troop of gorillas. While butchering the animals for trophies, his bush guides discover a survivor among the carnage: an infant gorilla, still clinging to his mother’s breast. The orphan is placed aboard a boat to Europe where he captures the attention of two passengers: an Irish circus owner named Malloy and his young daughter, Abigail.
Malloy wins the baby gorilla in a card game and brings him to America, where grows up as a member of the circus family. They name him “Kumba”, an African word for “roar”.
America, 1865: Taught to use giant, hand-crafted pistols as part of a sharpshooting act, Kumba has become a frontier sensation.
Although he loves his adopted father, Kumba’s closest relationship is with his “big sister”, Abigail, who has become an accomplished trick horse rider. The unlikely siblings communicate through sign language, making Abigail the only one who can truly understand him. As the Civil War rages in the East, the circus tours the American Southwest staying as far away from the conflict as possible. But the war is about to come to them.
Enter mysterious stranger Giuliano Schmidt, a European immigrant on the run from a gang of ruthless outlaws led by Gravesend, the meanest knife-throwing killer West of the Pecos. Wounded in battle with the gang, Giuliano stows away in one of the circus caravan’s gypsy wagons where he is discovered by Malloy and Abigail. Together, they nurse the stranger back to health.
Understanding that he’s put his saviors into great peril, Giuliano slips away at the first opportunity. But it’s too late: Gravesend and his gang have followed his trail to the circus and, in a display of savage violence, exact a terrible price on the family for meddling in their affairs.
Driven half-mad with grief and rage, Kumba takes up his guns and sets out to kill the men who have shattered his life. The strangest, most startling Western hero of them all has been born.
Kinda bad-ass, huh? And the next four issues are going to be even better. More shoot-outs, more breath-taking chases, more brawls and even a… but I can’t spoil the surprise. Are you along for this ride? Help us to complete Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance and help Kumba get the righteous payback he deserves!
We’ve got heroes:
We’ve got bad guys:
We’ve got one very pissed-off gorilla cutting a bloody swath through the Old West in search of righteous payback!
When I published the first issues of Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance, I expected that some of the critics would get a kick out of it. What I didn’t expect was the veritable stampede of praise the book has garnered since the release of that first issue in 2013. Critics and fans alike have just gone bananas over it. (That’s not me boasting, by the way, that’s me being very, VERY grateful!)
“It don’t get much better than this, Pal. A rootin–tootin’ six-gun shootin’, Western adventure that makes me run off at the adjectives. Wonderful stuff.” – JOE R. LANSDALE (author of Bubba Ho-Tep and Cold In July)
“Cartoonish by only a pinch, the story does a great job of walking that line of being too fantastical, yet has just enough realism to make you understand that this is a story with heft and emotion… (an) indie powerhouse of a book.” – AIN’T IT COOL NEWS
“…it has real weight and emotion… a well-crafted western that just happens to have a gun-toting gorilla as the main character. If you like westerns, gorillas, crazy concepts, or just plain ol’ good comics, then this is one worth checking out.” – COMIC BOOK THERAPY
“Hats off to creators Brian Christgau and Adrian Sibar (whose art on this book is just magnificent!) because they have created a very compelling world.” – CRUSTULA.COM
“Who can say no to a well-executed western starring a ferocious six-gun wielding simian? …a really good comic-book.” – THE COMIC AGE
“Christgau’s story is setting itself up to be a fantastic reimagining of a lost classic, and one worth keeping an eye on.” – SUPER ATOMICA
“Together with artist Adrian Sibar, writer Brian Christgau has revised and changed-up the classic Six-Gun Gorilla pulp tale, blending it with beloved old school western cinematic tropes that make it an ingenious cross between Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider and a wild Twilight Zone episode.” – NERDVANA
“Read this comic book. I’m dead serious. Find it, buy it, and enjoy how Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance succeeds as any good comic book should.” – COMIC BASTARDS
“…a well-crafted western that just happens to have a gun-toting gorilla as the main character. If you like westerns, gorillas, crazy concepts, or just plain ol’ good comics, then this is one worth checking out.” – COMIC BOOK THERAPY
“…a work of art that pushes the classic notions of a true western with modern ideals and updated storytelling providing a cohesive product that is a ride to read and pleasure to look at.” – PULP CULTURED
“…an indie book that deserves to play with the big boys.” – GEEKASM
To call Six-Gun Gorillaobscure is an understatement. The only reason anyone knows of the story and its titular character is thanks to a 1948 book about British Pulp literature called Boys Will Be Boys. Scholars and other interested parties couldn’t help but be captivated by the author’s description of that story and so it took on a mythic, Holy Grail status the way lost films like London After Midnight often do. Jess Nevins, an authority on this subject, recently got a chance to scan the story and has posted it on-line as a free download, bless his heart. Check it out – it’s a real hoot!
The character first came to my attention sometime in 2011, when I was perusing a website on Golden Age and Pulp superheroes (i.e. Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Spider). As a kid I was absolutely obsessed with great apes and was a huge fan of the original King Kong and Mighty Joe Young. I’m also a huge Western fan so the concept clicked with me instantly. I looked for the story and discovered, much to my chagrin, that not only was it out of print, it had never been reprinted and that the only two know copies in existence were under lock and key in a British museum!
But I just couldn’t get that title out of my head. That afternoon I drove to my local shopping mall (listening to the Hawk the Slayer soundtrack of all things) and the story basically wrote itself. By the time I pulled into the parking lot I had the entire yarn, beginning to end. As a writer it’s rare that stories emerge fully formed like that, but this was one of those times. If there was no Six-Gun Gorilla for me to read, dag nabbit, I was gonna have to write the dang thing myself!
What initially inspired me about the character was the sheer outrageous nature of the concept. The more I thought about it I realized how it would make for a great story about loss, grief, revenge and redemption. That’s just how my mind works. I love taking different genres and throwing them in a blender and seeing what comes out. Of course, you can’t just rely on novelty alone; you’ve got to have a good story populated with characters you genuinely come to care about for the thing to work.
There’s something really fun about taking a gorilla and just dropping him in this familiar setting where he couldn’t be more out of place. Talk about a fish out of water! Making that work is a real challenge, but holy sh-t is it a fun one. It’s a balancing act. I wanted to craft a story that was played straight, but also needed to make sure that it didn’t become ponderous and self-aware; that it had a sense of fun and adventure.
I see it as Tarzan flipped on its head: instead of a human raised by apes in the jungle you’ve got an ape raised by humans in the Old West. Tone-wise, think of the original Robocop. Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance has outrageous moments aplenty – you’d hope so, given the outrageous premise – but at its core it’s a very “human” story about the things we want to do versus the things we should do.
Wait… there are TWO Six-Gun Gorilla comics!?
Despite the uber-obscure nature of the story, turns out I wasn’t the only one who got the idea to do a comic book inspired by that long lost Pulp yarn.
Just as the finishing touches were being put on the first issue I got an e-mail about an article on Comic Book Resources about an upcoming comic called Six-Gun Gorilla… and it wasn’t mine. Turns out I wasn’t the only one to get bitten by the gunslinging gorilla bug! BOOM! Studios announced a new project, loosely based on said pulp, written by Si Spurrier and drawn by Jeff Stokely.
What were the odds of two Six-Gun Gorilla comics to coming out at the same time? I knew this was a public domain character so the possibility was always there, but that the likelihood was “slim and none”. Turns out “slim” won the day. And when did I get this news? On April Fool’s Day. You can’t make this stuff up!
It’s a case of Hollywood refers to as “parallel development”. Both of us were fired up by that title and concept, largely I’m guessing because the actual story wasn’t available to read, so our imaginations filled in one very big blank. We both knew that the character was falling into the public domain in 2013 and so we set to work on our books completely oblivious of each other.
Luckily, our stories couldn’t be more different. For starters they’re in two totally different genres. The BOOM! Six-Gun Gorilla is a Science-Fiction “re-imagining” (set on another planet in the 22nd Century about a televised blood sport ala The Running Man) while mine is a straight-forward, traditional Western… with a very odd twist.
I’m old enough to remember that in 1983 there were two James Bond movies that came out that same summer: one with Roger Moore and another with Sean Connery. In the end, both films ended up benefiting from the controversy and were successful, but the real winners were the fans who got to have two James Bond movies in the same year. I was hoping there would be room for two Six-Gun Gorilla comics but, alas, the major indie publishers didn’t feel that way.
Despite changing the title of my book to Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance and managing to get the digital version of the first issue out a full week before the BOOM! one, the damage had been done. Despite all the glowing reviews and enthusiasm from readers, despite selling over 300 copies at the New York Comic Con, I still haven’t been able to find a publisher for the book. As a result, I’ve had to do the comic on my own dime… hence this Kickstarter!
1. Finish the last four issues of the first ten issue arc.
2. Release a graphic novel compiling all ten issues.
That’s it. Couldn’t be simpler.
Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance is 100% creator owned. I’m not an established industry professional that’s using crowd-sourcing as a promotional platform. I’m just a guy who is making the comic book he always wanted to read. I’m off to a great start, if the critics and readers can be believed, but the the only way I can wrap this tall-tale up is with your generous assistance.
Brian Christgau – That would be me, your humble author. . suburban New York where he lives with my exceedingly handsome cat Figaro (aka. Mr. Figs, Mr. Handsome, Mr. Sexy, Sexecutioner). When I’m not exhuming obscure Pulp characters I volunteer at the local animal shelter, collect monster toys, practice German longsword fencing, and serve on the Board of the Rockland County Depression and Bi-Polar Support Alliance. (That’s an old pic, but can you blame me? Look at that sweet Lemmy I was rocking!)
Adrián Sibar – Adrián is one of those artists who has a distinctive style but also a great deal of versatility, painting snazzy pop art canvases as well as crafting beautiful sequential art for comics like Batgirl for DC and Star Wars and Planet of the Apes for Dark Horse. Not only is he great illustrator, but he has a visual storytelling ability that is great at conveying drama and a sense of the epic. Most of all, he invests his work with the one thing I value most: heart. He’s also just a genuinely good person and incredibly easy and fun to work with. He lives in beautiful Buenos Aires, Argentina. His sexy Latin accent makes him the Antonio Banderas of the team, but sorry ladies – he’s taken!
Wes Huffor – Our cover artist. Wes is a Southern Californian artist best known for visceral, seductive, and pathological crime and horror storytelling. Wes started out working for small press publishers in the Los Angeles and Inland Empire. In 2011, Wes was selected by the Historic House Trust of New York to have one of his illustrations entombed in the freaking wall of the Edgar Allen Poe cottage in the Bronx. How bad-ass is that? Aside from being a very sexy man, Wes has been instrumental in helping me get Six-Gun off the ground.
Bram Meehan – Our letterer. Bram designs, writes, account manages, creative directs, and produce the materials companies and individuals need to sell their products and services. He’s all you could hope for in a letterer: fast and great!
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges
I promised myself a while ago that I would finish this book if it killed me. The time to quit would have been five issues ago. The scripts for the remaining four issues are finished and I already have covers for issues #7 through #9. If I can scrounge up the money to pay Adrián Sibar, Wes and Bram there’s no way I’m not finishing this book. The biggest challenge right now will be meeting the June 2016 deadline, but considering the fact that so much of the work has already been completed I’m pretty confident we can meet it.
So that’s the pitch, folks! What d’ya say? Does this seem like the kind of graphic novel you’d like to read? If so, help us make it happen!