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Ed BryantJoe R. Lansdale's certainly a modern legend himself, having been around for some time now. But comics artist Sam Glanzman's got an even more legendary historical grounding, having been professionally drawing for six decades or so. These two worthies have collaborated on Lansdale's graphic novel series, Red Range. The 1937 N.C. Wyeth cover painting strikes a chord of tranquil calm - the last time that mood appears in the book. The first page of Red Range itself begins full tilt with graphic ultraviolence as Lansdale and Glanzman plunge us into a 19th century Klan lynching of a black Texas family. Abruptly in the midst of the atrocity, the Kluxers are interrupted by a mysterious rider who's a deadly shot with both his pistols and long-range Sharps buffalo rifle. It's the feared and hated (by the KKK, at least) Red Mask, a tough, lethal, black man who wisely keeps his identity concealed. The Red Mask slaughters most of the assailants and rescues the lone victim survivor, a young boy who's been hurled down a well. On the run from what appears to be an endless supply of racist homicidal loons, the Red Mask and the boy hole up in a secret sanctuary that's a bucolic first cousin to the Bat Cave. Their respite is brief as the Kluxers hire a crazed tracker to ferret them out. More hair-breadth escapes, more pursuit, and the graphic novel abruptly veers into Burroughs-style (Edgar Rice) pulp SF adventure as our heros and the surviving pair of bad guys get tumbled into a weird underground world populated with dinosaurs and an exotic polyglot settlement of multiculturalism gone berserk. Writer Lansdale's unerring ear for exotic period and regional dialog remains constant. His penchant for grim humor appears throughout. His hardcore, hard-nosed sense of social conscience remains intact. The final page of Red Range urges readers to await The Pirates of Fireworld, so presumably the Red Mask's exploits will continue.