The Kickstarter for “Warriors of the Wild Lands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans” continues to go well. After Day 2, we’re more than halfway there. Thanks for the support. Please continue to spread the word, and if you haven’t jumped in yet — get your moccasins on and hit the trail!
Historian Paul A. Hutton and True West Magazine publisher Bob Boze Bell are obsessed with the tale of Mickey Free. And that’s a grand and wonderful thing.
Mickey Free (born Felix Ward) was a Mexican kid whose kidnapping by Apaches in 1861 led to the Cut-the-Tent affair and touched of decades of war between the U.S. and the Chiricahua Apaches. Free became a scout and interpreter for the U.S. Army, and a protégé of the great scout Al Sieber. He features heavily in Hutton’s magnificent new history of the Apache Wars, which is a must-read item for your Frontier Partisans library.
For several years, Hutton has been working with Bell on a graphic novel treatment of Mickey Free. We’ve gotten teasers and excerpts, and the two saddle partners obviously can’t let the story go. The current issue of True West is largely devoted to Mickey Free and the Hunt for the Apache Kid. It’s a magnificent issue — go grab it off the news stand. I got two copies — one to keep and the other to cut out and paste the tasty art in my journal and tack it up on the office walls.
I love Bell’s artwork — it’s authentic as befits a man who is pursuing the truth of the West, but it retains a vivid, almost pulpy flair that honors the fact that these stories are intense and larger-than-life. Colorful, you might say. He’s really made a visual feast out of True West, combining his own art, photography and really exceptional graphic design. It’s a hard job in today’s market to create a magazine that has solid and worthwhile content while feeding the screen-driven addiction to exciting visuals, visuals, visuals. It’s especially hard when you’re audience is traditional, but you also want to appeal to a younger demographic to whom you can pass the torch of passion for frontier history. Believe me, that conundrum occupies a fair bit of my own attention.
I think the folks at True West have done a magnificent job on that. But of course I am biased due to the fact that they regularly hit me with a spike of my personal drugs of choice — Apaches and the Mexican Revolution.