Western Comics

Cheyenne Kid No 11
Japanese Western Comics is a genre of comics and mangas originally used to designate comics focusing o­n stories set exclusively o­n the American Old West. These mangas and comics featured the kind of gunslingers, lawmen, and other characters so often found in American western films and books.

This genre is by no means a recent development in the Japanese comic culture, though it has experienced a resurgence in recent years, since around the mid-1990s. The single volume Angel Gunfighter, about a couple of sharp shooters who have to fight against a rogue sheriff, was published in the spring of 1949, by Osamu Tezuka, who was thought of by many as Japan’s answer to Walt Disney. Tezuka was the creator of several popular series, including Astroboy, and is considered a pioneer in the foundations of anime, manga, and comics in general.

Somewhere along the way, the western slant of these stories evolved to incorporate broader locales, carrying the Old West ideals and plots into post-apocalyptic settings, high-tech future societies, and even outer space situations. o­ne early venture into space with these western comics was Captain Ken, another of Tezuka’s stories, this o­ne published in the early 1960s. This o­ne focuses o­n a human cowboy who fights o­n the side of the Martians in a future society where the humans and Martians are in opposition o­n Mars.

Cowgirl Romances
One of the most popular examples of this branching out of location, at least of those comics written in the modern era, is the Cowboy Bebop series, written by Keiko Nobumoto. Cowboy Bebop is set in 2071, 73 years in the future from when it was first produced. “Cowboy Bebops” refers to the name given to the outlaws of this future age, who shoot from the hip, but with semi-automatic weapons instead of six guns.