Weird Westerns

Weird Westerns

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Weird Westerns is an exploration of the hybrid western genre—an increasingly popular and visible form that mixes western themes, iconography, settings, and conventions with elements drawn from other genres, such as science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Despite frequent declarations of the western’s death, the genre is now defined in part by its zombie-like ability to survive in American popular culture in weird, reanimated, and reassembled forms.


The essays in Weird Westerns analyze a wide range of texts, including those by Native American authors Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfeet) and William Sanders (Cherokee); the cult television series Firefly and The Walking Dead; the mainstream feature films Suicide Squad and Django Unchained; the avant-garde and bizarre fiction of Joe R. Lansdale; the tabletop roleplaying game Deadlands: The Weird West; and the comic book series Wynonna Earp.


The essays explore how these weird westerns challenge conventional representations by destabilizing or subverting the centrality of the heterosexual, white, male hero but also often surprisingly reinforce existing paradigms in their inability to imagine an existence outside of colonial frameworks.