Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cowboy Valkyrie

A few weeks ago I made a post about the Lives of the Cowboys radio show on National Public Radio’s Prairie Home Companion.  The episode that I listened to that day involved Lefty and Dusty on their way to renew their cowboy licenses, leading to Lefty testing his bar fighting skillz against a genuine Valkyrie.  Since I started this blog, I have spent some time considering the shared roots of both the modern western novel and the modern fantasy novel in Germanic folklore.  In time, I will dedicate a series of lofty and intellectual posts to that very topic.  For now, though, the notion of a Cowboy Valkyrie and a Wild West Valhalla have captured my mind, particularly coming on the heels of my own recent brush with mortality.

So when cowboy meets his maker, is thrown from his horse, meets the wrong end of a noose, is snake bit, scalped, shot in a range war, stabbed in a saloon brawl, freezes in Blue Norther, succumbs to a case of gentleman’s complaint after engaging the wrong soiled dove, or any of the other honorable ways that a cowpoke can pass, who descends from the heavens to measure his worth? 

Clearly, the only answer is Nancy Callahan from Sin City.  Not surprising to find the Valkyrie here, as Viking references are spread throughout all the original comics.  Normally I would choose the visual of the comics versions over film versions, but Jessica Alba really defines Nancy Callahan.  If I lay dying, breathing my last breath out on the prairie, let’s hope its Nancy Callahan who ropes me and guides me to Valhalla.

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