Long ago, greed for silver and gold cursed the small Colorado town of To Hell You Ride (Telluride), when miners disrupted the natives’ burial grounds. Now, a hundred years later, when miners have given way to skiers, the curse hits the popular ski resort town with a vengeance. Flesh and blood melts off the bones of those unlucky enough to run afoul of the curse, and soon, the entire town may perish. Nefarious government agents scramble to “contain” this plague. The fate of the town rests in the hands of self-destructive hero Two Dogs, a Native American torn between his past—the past of his father and grandfather—and his future.
I’m always a fan of horror-western mashups, and I have to admit, that’s what drew me into reading To Hell You Ride. It’s something of a vanity project for actor and artist Lance Henrikson, who wrote and developed the comic alongside Joseph Maddrey and artist Tom Mandrake. As such, it is a bit heavy-handed in blending Native American folklore with new age mysticism and a “you’ve destroyed the earth” environmentalist message, and even moreso with its nefarious government contractors hidden behind the vague “Blackwash” paramilitary group, a reflection of the real-world Blackwater using foreign soldiers during Hurricane Katrina. Still, as a pet project, it’s rather good and not as preachy as it may sound.
To Hell You Ride is kind of like a b-movie script that was never sold, and was instead converted into a comic; it’s a bit cheesy and pulpy, mixed with that very blunt message about respecting other cultures and the earth. The pacing is a bit rushed, too; after the first few issues blend in some cool flashbacks of Two Dogs’ forefathers, the last few issues are a breakneck rush against time (and against Blackwash). But overall, it’s a pretty good read; the art is nifty, and the story is entertaining and evocative. I wouldn’t rate it as the best horror comic out there, but it’s a neat little series that should give horror aficionados a few hours of fun reading. Worth picking up, especially if you can find it on sale (I picked it up for $1/issue on a Comixology sale, and at $5 it was totally worth it).
Do I recommend this/will I continue reading it?: It’s not bad, but I’d recommend holding out for a sale or discount.
Recommended for fans of: Jonah Hex, East of West, Deadlands, Scout. For fans of apocalyptic horror and weird westerns in general.
Not recommended for readers who: don’t like limited series; don’t like heavy-handed and unsubtle narratives; don’t like b-movies or a bit of cheese in their horror.
Title: To Hell You Ride
Author: Lance Henriksen, Joseph Maddrey
Illustrator: Tom Mandrake
First Published: 2013
What I Read: Dark Horse, 2013
Price I Paid: $0.99/issue (Kindle/Comixology sale)
MSRP: $24.99 hc / $12.99 ebook
ISBN/ASIN: 1616551623 / B00FPYRBP8