Book Review: The True Death of Billy the Kid by Rick Geary

The True Death of Billy the Kid is part of a series of historical graphic novels by Rick Geary.  The cover proclaims the book to be the first true and accurate graphic novel telling the story of the death of the wild west's outlaw, Billy the Kid.  One of the great folk legends of the Wild West, William H. Bonney went from cowboy and rancher's gunslinger to a pure outlaw, forever dodging justice in New Mexico before it was even a state. On the one hand, he was charming, fun-loving, often present at social events, quite appealing to the ladies. Also conversant in Spanish, “Billito” was popular with the Spanish speaking crowd. On the other hand, he had no compunction to coldly kill a man, a sheriff, a deputy—anyone who got in the way of his rustling cattle or horses for an illicit living. He also proved hard to keep in jail once he was caught. It is probably his daring escapes from jails that made him most famous, and this is the main subject of this biography, which traces his story up through his death by a gunshot in the pitch darkness, fired by lawmen obsessed with getting rid of him. 

The True Death of Billy the Kid is a black and white graphic novel detailing the life and death of Billy the Kid. While some of the details are not well documented, so Geary clearly had to speculate and fill in the gaps as best he could. The art work is neat and very detailed. It is visual pleasing and does a good job of telling the tale and enhancing the text. The labeling and explaining text were done well, and I felt like I have a little better of an understanding of what Billy was like, and how he lived. I have watched more than my fair share of movies and documentaries that cover Billy the Kid, and found this graphic novel to do a really good job of entertaining and informing readers about his life. Again, I know that Geary had to make some leaps, because we just do not know all the answers. However, I found that the choices he made in this respect seemed to be on point.

The True Death of Billy the Kid is a good graphic novel for those looking to learn more about Billy the Kid. 

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