By Morris & Goscinny
As somebody who grew up on Asterix and Tintin this steady drip-drip of English translations of the Lucky Luke books is a richly appreciated treat. Endlessly inventive, and with genuine wit, they underscore just what it is I love about cartooning.
Lucky Luke has been called urgently to Washington where he is greeted by his Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Leonid and his aide-de-camp His Excellence Fedor Mikhailovich Boulenkov. The US wish to sign a trade treaty with Russia which the Grand Duke has agreed to do if he is taken to see his passion, the Wild West, first-hand. The problem is that by viewing the dangers of the West up close and personal he may not survive to return and sign the treaty, hence calling in the services of Lucky Luke (or Luxy Luxy as the Grand Duke understands it).
They need to travel incognito, so the Duke become Bob and Fedor becomes Fred, while Luke becomes cunning and wily, steering them through the dangers and the desperadoes, from cattle towns to lawless areas, from a gold rush to Indian battles.
At one stage, following a subversive attempting to assassinate the Duke, the trio require the use of horses so a couple of card sharps put theirs up for a game of poker. The Grand Duke objects and insists upon roulette instead, which turns out to be the Russian version, a gag which is returned to with great success much later.
They also face an attempted kidnapping, a run in with the Texas Ripper and almost get stuck in the middle of a firefight between to cavalry units after Luke has persuaded one of them to pretend to be Indians. It rattles along at a cracking pace and is festooned with lovely little moments such as the horses picking up the accent in the cattle town (“moo”), the manipulation of the Russians by Luke at the newspaper office, and the cavalryman that doesn’t want to act dead whilst pretending to be an Indian but wants to carry on courageously and play his role to the full.
This is volume 29 and their are still plenty more to come, but if you’ve never read a Lucky Luke before then this particular volume is an excellent place to begin.
And if you liked that: Three more titles are scheduled for release this year, so get stuck in.