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.