Who's that hairy, firearm-wielding figure above? Why, that's none other than Six-Gun Gorilla, a now-public domain hero who was almost (and cruelly) lost to the vicissitudes of time and taste.
Six-Gun Gorilla first appeared in late 1930s adventure magazines that are nowadays extremely rare finds. But thanks to author, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annotator, and io9 contributor Jess Nevins, you can now enjoy the completely deranged adventures of Six-Gun Gorilla from the comfort of the twenty-first century.
As part of his recent Kickstarter campaign to compile a guide of Golden Age comic superheroes, Nevins has scanned the adventures of this unlikely gunslinger for posterity. Notes Nevins of Six-Gun Gorilla's history:
"Six-Gun Gorilla" originally appeared as a fifteen-part serial in the British story paper Wizard in 1939. Anonymously-written [...] Six-Gun Gorilla would have been consigned to the dung heap of pop culture history if not for E.S. Turner and his Boys Will Be Boys (1948), the landmark account of British magazine popular culture.
Some of you may be wondering how the heck Six-Gun Gorilla acquired his ability to wield a Colt and a bandolier of bullets. O'Neil (Six-Gun's main moniker) was adopted by kindly old prospector Bart Masters after a sailor brought him from Africa to San Francisco. After the ruthless Strawhan Gang murders Bart, O'Neil simply picks up his deceased pal's gun and goes rampaging across the Old West for revenge. Fortunately for the plot, O'Neil already knows how to use a firearm, thanks to Bart's, uh, gorilla pistol training. Seriously, the story gives you no choice but to roll with it:
A strange expression came to O'Neil's eyes. He pulled the gun out and examined it. It was not the first time he had handled it. He knew all about this strange toy from his master.
In his spare time Bart Masters had delighted in teaching O'Neil unusual tricks. He had show him how to hold the gun, point it, and fire. He had even show him how to load it with those little metal things called cartridges.
You can read all fifteen installments of Six-Gun Gorilla at Nevins' website, and here is a selection of the series' decidedly gonzo artwork.
[Via Jess Nevins]