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Wild West town provides inspiration for north-east comic book artist


By Kyle Ritchie

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A member of the Tranquility Wild West Town has found inspiration from the visitor attraction and his love of westerns to create and publish a comic book.

Atholl Buchan (37) has released Frontier Tales, the first part of a fictional story set in the 1860s featuring Jimmy Nicol, a Scottish cowboy.

His love of Westerns stemmed from watching the films as a youngster on Saturday afternoons with his late grandfather.

Tranquility Wild West Town member Atholl Buchan with the comic he has published.
Tranquility Wild West Town member Atholl Buchan with the comic he has published.

Atholl, who grew up in Hatton of Cruden and now lives in Bridge of Don, said: "I have been a member of Tranquility Wild West Town near Forgue since 2014 and have used my inspiration from it and my love of westerns to complete and self-publish a hard back comic.

"I have been drawing and working on it for the past four years using my iPad and an app called Comic Draw. The comic book is published through a website called Artithmeric.com which is a fantastic made to order self-publishing service. Creators keep all rights to their work but don’t have to go through expensive print regimes or Kickstarter campaigns."

Frontier Tales sees Jimmy Nicol stumble into the middle of a battle and has to help a lone sheriff save the town from a rampaging gang of outlaws led by the ruthless Colonel Simmons.

The comic includes some extra features showing Atholl's original hand drawn version of the comic and how it developed into digital art over time.

Frontier Tales features Scottish cowboy Jimmy Nicol.
Frontier Tales features Scottish cowboy Jimmy Nicol.

Atholl added: "Tranquility Wild West Town was a huge source of inspiration, which is a really unique, educational and fun place to have locally.

"My friend and award winning director Paul Vernon, who filmed two movies at Tranquility that I participated in which were called Return of a Son and Trail to Tranquility, kindly provided me with plenty of action photos to use as a drawing reference for the comic, although the characters are all my own creation."

A father to two young daughters, Elsie and Isla, he wanted to create a comic that appealed to all ages.

He said: "Therefore, to add some comedy, I created the character Poncho, an intelligent and unnaturally strong chameleon who wears a sombrero and Poncho."

For Atholl drawing comics is a way for him to relax after his day job in health and safety and stretch his imagination.

"I began drawing when I was a teenager and started by copying characters from the Beano and my interest branched out from there," he added.

"I learned by studying other comics, reference material and how to draw books. My style is heavily influenced by Japanese manga but is starting to become more my own.

"In 2019, I entered a competition called Summer of Manga and successfully published a nine-page fantasy Western comic strip called The Slinger, which was pitched as True Grit meets Harry Potter, featuring a cowboy with a magic freeze gun.

"It was published in the digital diverse manga magazine called Saturday AM in issue 110. That was my first attempt at publishing.

"When lockdown started and restrictions increased, I found that drawing and giving myself a target was a great way to to help my mental health. So I ploughed on and published Frontier Tales."

Atholl has created the artwork for the comic digitally.
Atholl has created the artwork for the comic digitally.

Atholl has also been involved with the RAF Peterhead Heritage Society drawing comic style representations of historical events. This has seen him work with the group's historian Mark Salt and several of his drawings have appeared on the group's Facebook page.

In the future he is hoping to create a comic based at Tranquility Wild West Town as a collaboration with the group's founder Alistair Baranowski.

Anyone who would like to purchase a copy of the comic book can do so at artithmeric.com/author/buchan-comics

Atholl can be followed on social media on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @Buchan_Comics


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