By Andy Frisk
July 11, 2009 - 22:17
So, why change the title of a book about the famous Clint Eastwood character from the films A Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, from the apt title Man With No Name to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? My guess would be name recognition, and maybe it’s a good one. It doesn’t really make sense though, as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is the specific title of the film staring Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach as the three characters. A comic book by the same name would seem to be misleading. Perhaps the stories are going to be set before the events of the films, showcasing each character at different times? Maybe the Man With No Name couldn't carry The Man With No Name? Either way, Dynamite has re-launched the character(s).
This time Chuck Dixon takes the helm, and starts a new saga that is incredibly similar to every other plot we’ve seen so far involving The Man With No Name (or Blondie, as Tuco (Eli Wallach) refers to him as in the film-and what I’ll be referring to him as from here on out). There are some bounties to collect, some gold to find, and plenty of other bandits to kill. That doesn’t mean this series won’t be fun though.
Polls’ layouts recreate the wide open look of the original films, with a combination of vast landscape shots, and incredibly tight close ups which mimic Sergio Leone’s style of camera work (Leone being the director of all three of Blondie’s big screen appearances, and arguably the greatest of the Spaghetti Western directors). Also, we don’t get a full word of spoken dialogue until the end of the fourth page of this issue. Again, this mimics Leone’s directorial style. Often not a word is spoken until several minutes into his films, in particular this series’ namesake film.
One of the best and most interesting parts of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly # 1 is Dixon’s two and a half page essay “What Exactly IS a Spaghetti Western: Euro-Western 101.” It’s a well written, informative, and intelligent explanation and definition of the Spaghetti Western as a genre. It also is packed with the names of several other Spaghetti Westerns that were made in addition to the big three Leone classics. He also discusses other actors who were in them, and their directors as well. Some of the films mentioned I either haven’t heard of, or have forgotten about, and I spent many a Saturday night between the ages of nine and eleven staying up late with my Dad watching these classics on late night TV.
Overall, while not being quite convinced that the name change, and re-launch of the original Man With No Name series was really necessary, I’ll be checking out this one. Dad would have liked this series as well, and again, that’s good enough for me.