Webcomic Wednesdays: 6 Gun Mage

Kylie is a hired gun looking to get hired.  A tip lands her at the Penny Gun, owned by Gwen.  At first, things are going well… until mages from the Circle walk into town.  Luckily, Zeits, an old flame of Gwen’s, is around to help.  Unfortunately, it turns out Kylie is a Gunmage on the run from the Circle, and what’s more, she’s central to a plot that involves stealing souls.  Kylie herself doesn’t fully understand, only that she is able to use an automatic weapon, a power beyond the ordinary mage.  So Zeits, once-leader of the Right Arm rebel group, and Gwen, a descendent of the extinct Elves, join forces with Kylie to bring down the Circle.  Pursued by a Manhunter, the White Witch, and anyone out to collect the bounty, Kylie’s going to need more than magic and a gun.

Kylie versus a train robber
Kylie versus a train robber

6 Gun Mage is a steampunk story taking place in the Old West, with a few High Fantasy elements thrown in.  Technology and magic blend seamlessly in this universe; though everything generally keeps to the Western setting, there are several anachronisms, particularly the weapons.  Like all stories set in the Old West, everyone has a gun, but it’s not just Spencers and Remingtons.  Automatic firearms, such as AR-15s, are just as common as a Colt .45.  Even better, writer and artist Chris Hazelton is an expert on firearms and weapons, and this shows in his fighting scenes.  While using magic to pull off impossible bullet tricks is a common trope in techno-magic media, Hazelton focuses on realistic trajectories and mechanical operation.  Simply because a character has magic does not render them invulnerable.

In early chapters, 6 Gun Mage has an almost Wild Wild West feel to it, with comedy and shootouts; later arcs have religious and political themes, with the lighthearted elements less prominent.  But right from the beginning the violence is upfront and direct.  Hazelton pulls no punches, his characters using everything from firearms, knives, clubs, and unarmed combat.  In the tradition of true Westerns, bullets kill and they are messy.

A Gunmage conducting an interrogation
A Gunmage conducting an interrogation

For art, the comic is a standard manga-type.  Eyes are exaggerated in comparison with other facial features; women have skinny figures and often wear clothes not really meant for fighting in the wild.  The comic is in black-white-gray, with little variation in skin-tones and features.  But while the art does not present anything new, it supports the story, and in many ways, that is what the art in a comic is for.  The attention to detail on the weapons is excellent, and the blended Western and fantasy elements compliment well.  But in truth, it is the story itself that is the more interesting and not the art.

Besides this and his other comics, Hazelton also has a YouTube channel where he posts videos discussing the science (real and imagined) behind the firearms in his comic.  You can view them here.

6 Gun Mage is an interesting story combining multiple genres.  Read it at 6GunMage.com.

Sarah Pendergraft

Sarah Pendergraft is a writer who enjoys webcomics, so she decided to combine the two and become a reviewer.

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