As spotted by Robot 6, First Second this week announced that they will be the publishers for an all-ages western from writer/artist Andy Hirsch, ‘Varmints’. Is there a single part of the prior sentence which doesn’t fill you with glee?
Hirsch is best known perhaps for his work over at BOOM! Studios, where he’s been with KaBOOM! for a little while, working on books like Adventure Time and Garfield. Varmints, however, is a story entirely his own. Previously self-published via, it appears, Gumroad, this will now take the form of a collected graphic novel, which folds in the previously released issue, adds in extra pages amongst them, and then adds on a whole new section for readers, I believe.
The story follows a sister and brother duo as they blaze a trail across the ol’ Wild West, encountering many unbelievable things along the way – such as giants, as you can see in the preview below.
Giants wearing bears! Yee-haw.
In the interview, Hirsch sayeth:
Opie and Ned’s relationship is central to the story, and a frontier setting provides a good way to isolate them at times and force them to interact one on one. Also, Westerns are rife with mythmaking and tall tales — that built-in measure of exaggeration is perfect for the tone I’m going for. Events can escalate to cartoonish degrees, but the characters are still grounded in (a version of) the real world, keeping them relatable.
Or maybe I just wanted to draw a bunch of horses. There’s really no telling.
Making him THE FIRST ARTIST TO EVER SAY HE LIKED DRAWING HORSES.
Varmints will be published through First Second… at some point. I’ll let you know when I find a date for it.