By Morris & De Groot
Cinebook continue their brilliant Lucky Luke series with The One-Armed Bandit, where our sharp-shooting hero is tasked to escort two naive brothers who have invented the world’s first slot machine and want to tour it round the West to gauge a reaction.
They get to meet the League Of Women Against Gambling, Indians, desperadoes and the obligatory ne’er-do-well intent on scuppering their plans, and it’s all done with the trademark humour, quick-fire gags and general silliness that makes Lucky Luke so special.
The difference with this story, however, is this is one of the first stories to be written after the death of Goscinny, but Bob De Groot steps so effortlessly into the rhythm and spirit of the books that you’d be hard-pressed to notice, while giving Morris ample opportunity to show his versatility and skill drawing the varied visual gags and scenarios.
In one town the gambling is so second-nature to the citizens that the home they stay in has a roulette betting table to sit around and eat from and the lady of the house serves pancakes like she’s dealing cards. Luke discovers that everyone is also proud to cheat and the population sneers at the machine the brothers have invented, leaving Luke to demonstrate a little fancy gun-play to encourage the card-sharps to at least have a try of the one-armed bandit. Needless to say, once tried, the citizens don’t want to get off, resulting in a mass brawl and an order for ten machines.
What’s got me scratching my head is that the villain of the piece (not shown here - you’ll have to buy it to see) seems to me by the way he’s been drawn to be a carefully depicted caricature. The book was originally created in 1981 so I suspect he’s a political figure of some sort, so if anyone buys this and recognises him I’d be grateful to know.
All-in-all, another top-notch Lucky Luke for your reading pleasure.
And if you liked that: Treat yourself to De Groot’s rather marvellous Clifton, also from Cinebook.
The main bad guy is modelled after Louis de Funes, one of France's most popular actors. He was very prolific, and did mostly comedies; he was well-known for his range of facial expressions, grimaces, mannerisms and 'sound effects'.
Think of him as our Peter Sellers - without the international fame (although he's actually well known in some unexpected countries like Russia or Turkey...)