cover image The True Death of Billy the Kid

The True Death of Billy the Kid

Rick Geary. NBM, $15.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-68112-134-5

Geary adds another solid volume to his reliably good A Treasury of Murder series of graphic true crime histories with this chronicle of the blood-soaked final adventure of Henry McCarty, aka William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid. After a brief biography, the story opens with the Kid, age 21, in jail. He wastes no time breaking out and goes on the lam for two months, hiding out with sympathetic friends, tracked all the while by tireless sheriff Pat Garrett. It’s the raw stuff of classic Westerns, but Geary approaches it as a detective story, filling his pages with forensic details, theories, maps, and cutaway diagrams. Geary’s unmistakable rounded, hatch-marked art evokes an antique look without coming off as stiff; instead, the characters and settings are gently softened and cartoonified. “Now folks will see what it is to be a bad man,” the Kid reportedly crowed during his escape, but Geary coaxes out the human side of the larger-than-life figure: the troubled criminal, the angry young man, the charismatic antihero loved by the locals (including local women). While the Kid has been treated to ample renderings in film, television, and prose, Geary makes his story feel fresh. [em](Mar.) [/em]