I grew up with a father whose main entertainment pleasures were war films and Westerns. Really, anything with a gun-toting hero would do — it didn’t matter if it was Audie Murphy or Rooster Cogburn. Growing up in the coal region of Pennsylvania gave my friends and me a seemingly limitless number of mountain battlefields where we could bring the gun battles we saw on screen to life.
Then finally a Western came out geared specifically for us: Young Guns. Billy the Kid was the Man! (Well, he was the Kid.) We all wanted to be the Kid when we were playing, but we loved the movie so much it didn’t take much for us to be convinced to embody one of the other characters. Then Young Guns II came out with a soundtrack by Jon Bon Jovi! — trust me, it seemed really cool at the time. I still love that album….)
As I got older, I grew apart from childhood gun battles and fell in love with comic books. Guns weren’t enough; I needed control over the space-time continuum.
But then, another Western came along that I felt was made for me, Tombstone. This time it was different. I wasn’t motivated to go out and play guns, I was motivated to be as cool as Doc Holliday or as cold-blooded as Johnny Ringo.
These things are deep. They are ingrained to some degree in how boys become men, and they reflect what we as a society hold up in the masculine. I’m not saying that America creating a country full of lone guns is a good thing (or a bad thing), but yeah, we’re all cowboys.
— Jp Jordan