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ISSUE NO. 830
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We begin our look at Doug Wildey's Rio stories with the character's debut in, "The Hide Butchers," a three-parter that originally ran in several issues of Eclipse Monthly, an anthology title with rotating lead features, published by Eclipse Comics.
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In this story, Rio, a former outlaw, is on a mission for President Grant. He begins by visiting an old friend. Pictured below is a page of original art, followed by printed version.

As you can see, Wildey is not a fan of the heavy-handed coloring found in most comics. There's barely a difference between the original art and the colored page. Wildey keeps the colors light, giving a feeling of the open, airy spaces of the great outdoors...
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Now Rio goes to talk to the bad guy, bringing him a "cease and desist" message from the President. Seen below is the page's original art, followed by the printed panels...
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One of my favorite Rio panels -- a tall, cool, aloof killer giving orders to some punk guards, with a serious rifle slung over his shoulder. The implication is clear: move it, and move it NOW... or get blasted.
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Cowed by Rio, the men DO move it...
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Inside the train, Rio tries to talk sense to the bad guy, named Parrish (a Dickensian name that invokes both the churchly parish, and the word for dying, perish).

Now the colors suddenly darken and fill every panel to the edge, indicating that we are INSIDE a small, closed space. I love Rio's reaction when one of the bad guy's henchmen starts mouthing off -- "Uh-huh."
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Parrish refuses to cooperate, and instead he lays a trap for Rio in town...

As all western fans know, the genre follows certain long-established conventions. One of them is the gunfight at high noon, where the hero faces down the villain in a quick-draw gunfight to the death! Usually this scene shows the hero out alone on the dirt street, waiting for the bad guy to appear.

By completely flouting this convention, Doug Wildey creates a scene that is my favorite moment in the entire"Rio" series, one of my favorite moments in ANY western in any media, as well as one of my all-time favorite scenes in all comic and movie-dom.

Once in a blue moon, you see or read a scene that is just SO off-the-charts entertaining, you just want to stand up and cheer. THIS is such a scene. It begins with the bad guys surrounding poor Rio in a restaurant. They wait for him to exit so they can gang up on him, and shoot him to death!
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In a typical western, Rio would go out into the street to face off with his enemies. Butenter as you know, Rio is anything but typical. He doesn't rush out to his death. Instead, he simply sits in the restaurant, and enjoys a great breakfast, taking his sweet-ass time about it. Five minutes go by, then ten, then 20 -- THIRTY FULL MINUTES elapse while Rio cools his heels in warmth and comfort! And, outside...
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"Those shooters must have pretty cold hands by now."

AWESOME! Stand up and cheer! Rio! Rio!


GO GIT 'EM!


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They do, and it does NOT work out well -- for THEM.
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Still, Parrish manages to get away, but Rio
seems to know exactly where he's going...
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And he DOES -- in our next issue!

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BELOW: The original ad, and Robby's mash-up
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