Five MORE close encounters of the cowboy kind

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Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford hit the big screen this summer as cowboys in the Old West fighting off an invasion of gold-stealing, body-snatching bug-eyed aliens in the big-screen adaptation of the Platinum Studios’ graphic novel. But these two aren’t the only cowpokes who have had a connection with extra-terrestrials over the years; here’s a look at a few more close encounters of the Western kind.

 

1. Jonah Hex

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One of the comics’ most widely-known cowboys, Jonah Hex has bopped around quite a bit in the DC universe. His best ‘and alien’ situation can be seen on the cover of the Justice League Europe Annual #2 from 1991, a crowd image that includes Hex and, among others, the three founding members of the Legion of Superheroes (Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad), all of whom are technically aliens. The storyline inside the book includes several shorts describing the adventures of various members of the JLE as they are scattered pell-mell throughout time and history. Metamorpho ends up in the post-apocolyptic world of Hex, and while Rex isn’t himself an alien, his condition of being the Element Man is a result of exposure to a radioactive meteorite, so there’s also an extra-terrestrial connection there, too.

(Television’s Fringe also includes Jonah Hex on a Justice League cover in the show’s Alternate Universe Comic Covers, swapping Hex into the crowd image to replace Green Lantern Guy Gardner. Also in the crowd, among others, is the Martian Manhunter, bolstering the cowboy-and-alien connection.)

 

2. Doctor Who

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This one’s a bit of a cheat, because the Doctor is an alien, but at the start of this year’s Series 6, he also showed up as a cowboy (or at least in a cowboy hat) in the late 1960s American Southwest. (“I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.”) There’s even an official action figure of the eleventh doctor in his cowboy hat, so you know it’s for real.

 

3. Michael Ansara

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I know, I know… you’re saying, “Who?” But Michael Ansara has more cowboy, Indian, and alien chops than pretty much anyone else you can think of. Born in Syria in 1922, his family moved to New England, and then to Los Angeles when he was still very young, and he has had an acting career spanning from the 1940s on into the 21st century. He played Cochise in the television series “Broken Arrow” in the ‘50s, and Deputy U.S. Marshall Sam Buckhart in “The Rifleman” and “The Law of the Plainsman” t.v. series in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Along with tons of other roles in Westerns- such as “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide,” “The Virginian,” and more- he also showed up on the original Star Trek series in 1968 as the Klingon Kang. He reprised this role in 1994 and 1996, in ST:DS9 and ST:Voyager, respectively. He can also be seen in the Buck Rogers t.v. series as Kane, and also made an appearance on Babylon 5. Like Doctor Who, you might argue that Ansara is also both an alien and a cowboy. Or at least an actor who has played both cowboys and aliens…

 

4. Woody

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You know, the cowboy toy from the Disney/Pixar Toy Story franchise. And I’m not counting Buzz Lightyear as an alien. Instead, the ‘alien’ part of this scenario is the pack of three-eyed little green men from the pizza parlor grab ‘em game. Throw in Emperor Zurg from Toy Story 2, if you want to, just for good measure.

 

5. Will Smith

In the same way that Michael Ansara is on this list, let’s give a nod to Will Smith. He gets his cowboy bona fides by way of playing James West in the big screen version of “Wild Wild West,” (‘though it’s said to be the film that he most regrets having made.) With that established, we can count him as a cowboy going up against aliens in Independence Day and Men in Black (I, II, and III). And just as a nice way to wrap up the list, Smith has said that his Independence Day performance of the character Captain Steve Hiller was based on the Harrison Ford performance of the character Han Solo in Star Wars and the subsequent SW films. Harrison Ford, as in Woodrow Dolarhyde, in this summer’s Cowboys and Aliens. Isn’t it nice when things come full circle?

FURIOUSFANBOYS Writer
FURIOUSFANBOYS Writer