Holliday by Dabbs & Bowden

Remember Tombstone - the awesome western movie from 1993 with Snake-Plisskin-esque Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer (in probably his last good role) as Doc Holliday? It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. This graphic novel is that story but in a modern inner city and a ton more curse words.

by Doug Dabbs and Nate Bowden
Oni Press
May 2012

The story focuses on Holliday from the start and stays with his perspective throughout. “Doc” isn’t just a nickname in this story, he is an actual dentist when not a lecherous murderer. He still suffers from an illness, but this time it’s a much more frightening and modern virus, and he is still as feared for his quick draw as we would expect. In fact, almost everything is the same as the familiar movie story.

Wyatt is still a cop along with his brothers. Curly Bill is still the head of the Cowboy gang. The city is still going to Hell. The Earps and Holliday walk the long walk down the street, looking tough just like the movie. The same people die and the same people live. Holliday has a line about being a “daisy” just like the movie. Wyatt stands up from behind a car and walks towards Curly who is firing his shotgun point blank at him but he isn’t hit, extremely like the scene in Tombstone when Russell gives his most famous line, “No.” One of the only differences – and it’s very minor in the story – is that Ringo is a female.

If you know the Tombstone story you know this one, which shouldn’t be flattering for the creators as this book is almost a complete knock-off with nothing original.

I wanted to like this book. The black and white artwork is well done and strikes the appropriate mood. But the story was just too similar to the one we already have in Tombstone that I have to wonder why it was even made.

Creators taking a familiar story and putting a twist to it often create stories as entertaining as the originals, and sometimes more so. But this story never rises above the comparisons to Tombstone - and it doesn’t compare well. It isn’t putting your own twist on a story to move it forward in time less than a hundred years and adding in f bombs. (Tombstone the movie ended in 1929).

In a crowded graphic novel marketplace and only limited budgets for money and time, consumers should pass on this book. Check out Rust , Baby’s in Black or Oni’s own Coldest City.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.