lucky luke the cursed ranch cover detail

When Good Books Go Bad: Lucky Luke v62: “The Cursed Ranch”

This is another collection of short stories featuring Lucky Luke.

Unlike “Seven Stories,” it’s a mess and completely skippable.

These stories were originally published in the 80s, years after Rene Goscinny’s death.  The Cinebook credits list the artist as “Morris (with the participation of M. Javier)”.

In reality, it’s more like “M. Janvier drew the book, and Morris let him get away with it.”

The art isn’t the worst part of the book, though.  It’s Morris Lite and good enough for the most part.  Nobody will draw exactly like Morris, so anyone attempting to come close to the style will only look worse for not aping it 100%.  That’s the danger of taking on a book like this.

If the stories were stronger, though, I probably wouldn’t complain so much.  That’s where this book falls apart.  The stories and the jokes are uneven throughout.  Being short stories, they’re going to have a different cadence to them than a traditional album-length tale, but there’s still just not enough in these stories to recommend them.

They saved the worst for second to last, with “The Statue.”  It’s a confused mess of a beast, opening up with a series of not funny anachronistic jokes that just don’t make sense and confused me. I went into this story knowing it was created in the 1980s.  The open sequence is set in present day, so I’d expect it would take place in the 1980s.

The characters in the scene take great pains to reference Elvis, Ronald Reagan, and Nicolas Cage in “National Treasure” (a movie released in 2004). Once you make that reference, the Reagan reference feels dated and the Elvis reference is out of left field.  I’m thinking this is a translation issue.  This is the problem with “timeless” stories that reference current events and pop culture.  “Lucky Luke” got trapped in it, and not in a good way, like with dated references in Looney Tunes cartoons.  Asterix uses it with caricatures of then-famous people, but it never distracts.

The rest of the story makes little sense and makes little effort to cover that up.

“The Fortune Teller” has a plot that’s painfully obvious, yet takes way too long to attempt to “surprise” the reader.

“The Cursed Ranch” is a Scooby Doo story that Lucky Luke doesn’t belong in.

“The Log Flume” is a cute gag story that’s undermined by poor storytelling choices in the art.

So, yeah, this one is a low spot in an otherwise great series.  Thankfully, I have plenty of Goscinny/Morris books yet to read…

Recommended?

Lucky Luke v62 The Cursed Ranch cover

Click to buy on Amazon, if you’re a masochist

Absolutely not, unless your house is freezing and you’ve run out of fuel for the fireplace.

I think I’ve learned my lesson here.  Stick with the Goscinny/Morris books.  Approach the rest with trepidation.

Sorry this review didn’t go into greater detail, but it’s not worth your time or mine to explore that.  There’s too much better stuff to pay attention to, instead.

Might I recommend “The Campbells” or “Ken Games” again?

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #59.)

 

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