One of our folk legends of the great Wild West, William H. Bonney went from cowboy and gunslinger for a rancher to pure outlaw forever dodging justice in New Mexico when it wasn't even a state.
On the one hand, he was charming, fun-loving –often at social events like dances-, quite appealing to the ladies. Also conversant in Spanish, "Billito" was popular with the Spanish speaking crowd. On the other hand, he had no compunction to coldly kill a man, a sheriff, a deputy, anyone who got in his way rustling cattle or horses for an illicit living.
He also proved hard to keep in jail even when caught. It is probably his feats of derring-do escaping from jails that made him most famous and this is the main subject of this biography following him until he is shot in pitch darkness by lawmen obsessed with getting rid of him.
#4 in Comic Book Resources’ 10 Comics To Read If You Love True Crime
"Like all of his true-crime work, Geary sticks to facts of the story, but he isn't afraid to have fun with them, making The True Death of Billy the Kidï¿½a brisk and wonderful read."
-CBR (Comic Book Resources)
"The story of "the boy chief of New Mexico outlaws" is ultimately enhanced by Geary's thoughtful art, which joins the compendium of dime novels, ballet, films, and songs that have long acknowledged the Kid's baffling legacy"
-Santa Fe New Mexican
"I've said before that Rick Geary is a national treasure, and he proves it again with "The True Death of Billy the Kid."
-Andrew Smith, Chicago Tribune (Tribune Syndicate)
"[part of] a slowly accreting magnum opus, a life's work of capturing society's weird dark substructure."
-The Comics Journal
"Billy's life and, particularly, his violent death have been the subject of innumerable films and songs, most of which romanticize the desperado. Geary's "true death" sets the record straight in an admirably unsensationalized fashion."
"5 stars! Those who are interested in tales of the Wild West will find plenty to enjoy here, and the book is even a good pick for students, as Geary's account is both economical and factual."
-Brigid Alverson, ICv2
"An unabashedly entertaining read from cover to cover and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library graphic novel collections."
-Midwest Book Review
"His tone is quite informative, but at no point does he really sacrifice a sense of wonder or entertainment."
-Eye on Comics
"Geary's art is well-suited for this kind of reporting, as it's straightforward in showing expression and setting. With its pen-and-ink, old-fashioned flavor, the reader feels transported back to an earlier time."
-Comics Worth Reading
"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) [and] makes his story feel fresh."
See his interview on this book in the Mystery Tribune
8x10, 56pp., B&W hardcover, $15.99
Buy the e-book: $6.99