Book Review: Presenting the Best of Tumbleweeds: An, Uh, Unusual Saga of the Old West

In one way, today’s Monday Western review is nothing out of the ordinary. Every Monday, I review a Western book or movie, and today is no different. It’s a book. But it is a little bit different.

Today’s review is for a 1994 collection of comics, specifically Tom Ryan’s “Tumbleweeds” — his long-defunct daily comic.

Ryan was irreverent about, while being respectful of, the Old West. He played with stereotypes and put together a silly, but memorable, collection of characters. While based in and on the Old West, using cowboys, Indians, town folks and deserts as the background, the strips were really just about people and could have been set just about anywhere. But they weren’t, they were set in the Old West, which makes them just that much more fun to read.

When I bought the book, I thought I’d keep it on my nightstand and read one strip a day, savoring them and making the book last a while. Didn’t work out that way at all. I wound up devouring the strips, finishing the book in a few days and enjoying every page.

If you read it years ago when it was running in your daily paper, or are new to “Tumbleweeds,” I think you’ll enjoy Grimy Gulch, the Poohawk Nation, and of course, the 6 7/8 Cavalry. Kind of hard to not have fun reading about the exploits and foibles of Snookie and Snake-Eye McFoul, Pajamas, Lotsa Luck, Colonel G. Armageddon Fluster, Hildegard Hamhocker, and of course, Screaming Flea.

For Kindle fans, there is a color version available so you get the full impact of the Sunday artwork.


Three horseshoes


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