Howard Chaykin To Adapt John Benteen’s ‘Fargo: Hell On Wheels’ Into Graphic Novel

Illustrious comic book creator Howard Chaykin launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new graphic novel adaptation of John Benteen’s Fargo: Hell on Wheels.

Fargo: Hell on Wheels (2023), Gizmoe Press

In a video promoting the crowdfunding campaign on Zoop, Michael Stradford, the founder and publisher of Gizmoe Press provided details about Chaykin’s adaptation.

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Stradford stated, “It’s based on the classic paperback adventure series by John Benteen. Neil Fargo is a great character. Sometimes described as an early 20th century American Conan the Barbarian. He’s tough, rye, fast with his fists, and deadly with his weapons arsenal.”

“Fargo is a taciturn soldier of fortune who’s always looking for the next well-paying job, a feisty female wildcat, strong liquor, and a good fight,” he added.

He then detailed, “Fargo: Hell on Wheels is a hardcover, full color, 96-page graphic novel adaptation of the paperback of the same name.”

The book also includes an art gallery with art from Dave Johnson, Walter Simonson, Sedat Ozgen, Butch Guice, Robert Tanenbaum, Ron Garney, Denys Cowan, Giancarlo Bernal, Mahmud Asar, Dalibor Taljic, Dan Panosian, Cully Hamner, Philippe Xavier, Tim Fielder, Enrico Marini, Frank Cho, Jordi Bernet, Eduardo Risso, Lee Weeks, Gary Grank, Steve Epting, Doug Pgosh, and more.

Art pinups of Neal Fargo by Sedat Ozgen and Butch Guice

Following Stradford’s brief introduction to the character, Chaykin provided details about the story and his vision, “I’m here to tell you all about Hell on Wheels by John Benteen. I’m adapting it for a big comic book. Not a graphic novel to help with you guys, a big fat comic book that will be coming your way soon.”

“Fargo: Hell on Wheels is a classic representation of the kind of novel that existed in the late 60s and early 70s and it’s functionally vanished from the landscape,” Chaykin observed. “Back when there was a generation of people who read on public transportation. There were short, quick, compact reads. Adventure along the lines of say James Bond and Don Pendleton’s work and Richard Stark, Donald Westlake’s work, early Elmore Leonard stuff.”

“To a certain extent Fargo could have been a character that was derived from Leonard’s work had Leonard, instead of shifting from westerns to crime had done something that’s transitional because Fargo to a great extent uses a western motif to do adventure crime fiction and that’s how the character plays,” Chaykin added.

Fargo: Hell on Wheels (2023), Gizmoe Press

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The official description for the story reads, “In Hell on Wheels, Fargo is hired to protect a small railroad under relentless attack from a corrupt and ruthless competitor with money to burn, and hired guns to do the burning. Fargo is a man ready for any challenge, and for this hardboiled soldier of fortune, payback is fair game.”

It continues, “Packed with fist fighting brawls, gunplay, women and whiskey from running start to stunning finish, this story is the perfect example of why Neal Fargo is a timeless character in the timeless world of adventure fiction, and perfect for the modern graphic novel. Combine that with the unique creative sensibility of Howard Chaykin, no stranger to tough, smart protagonists (with an eye for the ladies) and Fargo: Hell on Wheels will be one of the most exciting independent graphic novels of the year!”

Fargo: Hell on Wheels (2023), Gizmoe Press

The crowdfund campaign on Zoop features two covers. One by Chaykin and the other by Dave Johnson. The hardcover by itself is listed at $40, but there are other options including signed copies as well as bundles that one can back.

The campaign also features a number of add-ons including prints and commissions by Chaykin. There is also the option to be drawn into the background of the series and even get killed during a fight scene.

Fargo: Hell on Wheels (2023), Gizmoe Press

The campaign has currently raised $41,112 from 473 backers. It has a goal of $60,000.

Do you plan on backing Chaykin’s Fargo: Hell on Wheels adaptation?

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