Saturday, 17 March 2018

Review: Hot Lead: Issue one - The Piccadilly Cowboys

The fanzine  of vintage western paperbacks. 60 pages full colour. Debut issue traces The Piccadilly Cowboys phenomenon, with reviews, articles and interviews not the controversial western paperbacks perhaps best typified by the George G Gilman Edge series. 

Although I am familiar with the story of the Piccadilly Cowboys having read some Edge, Crow, Hart, Jubal Cane, and Adam Steele over the years, I was keen to get my hands on this fanzine. Yes, you can find everything you want to know on any subject on the Internet but being familiar with at least two of the contributors behind this publication (Paul Bishop and Steve Myall), I was interested to read their combined perspectives tidily bundled in one place.

My initial reactions to its release were '£6.50 for a magazine?' and 'Where's the e-format version?'. However, I was very impressed with it when it dropped on my mat. First and foremost, I liked its nice manageable size, glossy colourful cover and the overall quality feel it has.

Once you open it up, you are bombarded with Piccadilly Cowboy (PC) cover art on pretty much every page, which in itself, is very interesting. However, the pictures are there not to distract you from a lack of content, but to enhance your enjoyment of the articles that accompany them.

Laid out neatly in six sections, the fanzine offers an introduction to the Piccadilly Cowboys (where they came from, what they did, their impact on the genre) and the series of books that forms their catalogue. Steve Myall of the renowned Western Fiction Review blog gives knowledgeable insights into some of his favourite PC titles. Justin Marriott interviews Terry Harknett and also provides a couple of reviews. Paul Bishop gives a nod to another fanzine, this time from the 80s, Western Magazine.

As if all this was not enough, the premier issue is dedicated to the memory of two prolific western writers Bill Crider and Dusty Richards, both of whom left us this year.

Justin Marriott in his closing paragraph asks that readers 'spread the word' and I am more than happy to do that. I closed the cover feeling that my hour or so spent curled up with the dog on my lap and the magazine in my hand, had not been wasted.

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