Review: Bikini Cowboy
When you review comics as often as I do, it’s refreshing to have a comic come up where you know no one involved. I can just read the comic, and any preconceived opinions about the writer or artist don’t matter. Bikini Cowboy is one of those unknown books, but am I damn glad that I know of it now. Bikini Cowboy was a fantastic read.
The book follows Jill McKay as she makes her way across the American Frontier in 1812. As you might expect, she wears a bikini for the entire volume. Fresherluke, the creator, doesn’t focus on the bikini, but uses it for laughs. Naturally, every guy around her is staring at her and questioning why she is wearing her bikini. The reason is never really explained, but it’s hard to care when the story is so enjoyable. There is a loose plot about Rod, a boy that Jill finds in her journeys, being a messiah, but it’s never developed much. That may be the only real weakness of the entire volume. It’s hinted at, occasionally brought up, but never developed enough to the point where all the questions have been answered. The rest of the issue is a simple Western tale. Person is on the run from an evil person, showdowns ensue. Fresherluke jumps the lines between writing for adults and an all-ages crowd. The word bitch is used quite a bit, and there are a few sexual innuendos, but this book feels all-ages.
Every character is a joy to read. Fresherluke goes for the “show me instead of tell me” angle, and it works wonders. Seeing the characters develop as you go through the book is more satisfying than characters monologuing about their past and why it hurts them to talk about it. Jill is a great play on classic Western heroes without just being a gimmick. Rod is fun, especially when he is generally confused by what Jill is doing. There are a few weird moments between Rod and Jill, where it seems like some type of romantic relationship is sparking. Considering he is a little kid, it’s quite weird. But they don’t go anywhere, so it’s all good in the end. The best villains are ones that the reader can sympathize with. The Marshall is an interesting villain. While the reader doesn’t feel as connected towards him as some villains, they can at least sympathize and understand why he is doing these bad things. As with the rest of the cast, he seems to be a play on classic Western villains.
Fresherluke’s artwork is very cartoony. Characters have big, expressive faces. Their bodies are relatively normal, except for Jill. I’m glad that Fresherluke didn’t go skin comic on us, having Jill occasionally slip a nip. Fresherluke gives us a very funny scene to play off this thought near the beginning of the book. Many pages have a lot of panels, showing the characters moving and reacting in real time to the things going on around the. I miss this in comics. It’s decompression with a purpose. The scenery is gorgeous. Fresherluke ops to make Bikini Cowboy black and white, and it was a great choice. Not every comic can look good in black and white, but this is one that benefits from it.
Considering that Bikini Cowboy is only $5.99 on comiXology, you’d be stupid not to give it a try. You’ll be happy you did. It is part of the comiXology Submit section for those of you looking to buy it.
Bikini Cowboy gets 4.5/5.