cover image Law of the Desert Born

Law of the Desert Born

Louis L’Amour, Charles Santino, Beau L’Amour, Katherine Nolan, and Thomas Yeates. Bantam, $25 (160p) ISBN 978-0-345-52812-4

Revered western writer L’Amour finally gets the graphic novel treatment. At the opening of this engaging tale, a lone rider shoots down two men at a ranch house, then flees into the desert. Flashbacks reveal the killer’s motivations, as a posse follows him and civilized notions of right and wrong are left far behind. L’Amour dashed off the original yarn for a pulp magazine in the mid-1940s, and it has passed through several versions—an audio play, a screenplay, and comics. This actually may be the story’s ideal form, since the author’s son Beau came to realize that the core of the tale was the tense relationship between the murderer, Shad Marone, and Lopez, the Mexican-Apache tracker pursuing him; the graphic novel version provides room to develop this theme. Yeates’s black-and-white depiction of the rugged landscape and the hard-bitten characters is superb. The result is stunning and richly textured. (Sept.)