Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Escort to Hell Ch 9

You both head west and end up in the mountain pass. Resting on top of a big slab of granite you see a type of craft called a hovo. It's a small one, but from this distance it looks intact.

You head over to examine it. The craft is wide-open and abandoned. "Where's the rider?" you ask.
"Rider? Oh, you mean the pilot. " Elena corrects.
All the lights are on and the dials seem to be registering power.

Do you:
Hop in with Elena and try to fly it (and if so, do you head NW, North, or NE since the hovo travels over any terrain) or
Make camp for the night & continue to head west through the pass in the morning?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jonah Hex #1 Vol. 1 "Vengeance for a Fallen Gladiator"

Jonah Hex #1 Mar-Apr 1977
"Vengeance for a Fallen Gladiator!"

Michael Fliesher, story - Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, art & cover

Jonah finally gets his own magazine and they start this one of right. The low point-of-view, the perspective of Jonah Hex being drug to a coffin, the Lopez art, this cover is a keeper.

Open the book and the splash page is gone!!! We start in Whalenburg, TN in the spring of 1874. Jonah is riding down toward a large plantation-looking home. As Jonah nears the gate a guard tells Jonah to drop his guns. Jonah tells the man that he has no fight with him but Jonah is suddenly lassoed and yanked off his horse. Four men start beating Jonah, punching him in the gut, kneeing him in the groin, kicking him in the head and then getting ready to bash his head with a rifle butt.

They are stopped by a man running from the house. The guards refer to him as "Doc" and he explains that Mr. Royden has sent for Jonah Hex to find Royden's son. As Doc takes Jonah into the house, he apologizes for the treatment Jonah received. Jonah tells him not to fret.

Jonah is led into the master bedroom where he sees Frederic Royden bedridden with his wife by his bedside. Royden verbally runs everyone out of his room so he can talk to Jonah. He tells Hex that his son was kidnapped six months ago and when the maid tried to stop the men, she was gunned down. The maid died before she could give a description of the two men that kidnapped Tommy. Royden explains that he is dying & will pay $20,000 to get his son back. Jonah asks why Royden has waited six months. Royden waited for a ransom note, but it never came, then they hired the sheriff, then Pinkertons, then other bounty hunters. Royden tells Jonah that Tommy is blonde with blue eyes & an odd scar on his left wrist. Jonah takes the job & leaves, heading west, figuring that the kidnappers would have a better time hiding out in the wilds.

Two weeks later in Rock Creek, Arkansas Jonah comes upon the Mange & LeClerc "boy-fighting" show. These two men have a group of boys that fight each other and the crowd will bet on the winner. I'm not sure if I fault Fleisher here for naming these two guys Blackie LeClerc & Charlie Mange or if I fault Lopez for drawing them to fit their names. LeClerc is tall, skinny, long hair parted in the middle, long skinny mustache, tall 10-gallon hat, vest, tie & black overcoat. Mange is shorter, blond, unshaven, wearing a Union coat and something that looks like a dwarf top hat. These guys just look evil and their names are a like a big neon sign that reads KIDNAPPERS!!!!!

Anyway, on to the story. Jonah watches as "bruiser" Donovan fights it out with Pablo Sanchez. The townfolk pony up their money and the fight starts with Pablo headbutting Donovan in the stomach. Donovan goes down & doesn't get up. A handy town doctor examines the boy & pronounces that he has a ruptured kidney and is about to die. LeClerc goes bonkers on Pablo for destroying some prime fighting stock and is about ready to literally whip the boy when Jonah shoots the whip in half and then punches LeClerc through a fence. LeClerc announces that he is going to draw on Hex but Mange stops him, pointing out that he is about to draw on Jonah Hex.

LeClerc shanges his tune, saying that he deserved the @$$ kicking he just got. Hex asks if either of them has seen a boy matching Tommy Royden's description. LeClerc & Mange deny it as well as almost all the boys. Jonah looks at Pablo directly & asks him, but Pablo, head hung low, denies it as well. Jonah lets them know that he'll be in town for a few days if they do see Tommy.

That night, Pablo climbs in to Jonah's second floor hotel room & tries to wake him. Jonah, of course, is not in the bed, but sitting on a chair in the shadows. Pablo tells Jonah that the injured boy is really Tommy Royden, even though Donovan had brown hair. Pablo says he will take Jonah to Tommy & prove it. As they are walking through the darkened town, Pablo explains that LeClerc & Mange mostly use orphans or runaways but sometimes they have to resort to kidnapping to replace boys who die in the fights. LeClerc & Mange have told all the boys that if they try to escape, they will hunt them down & kill them.

Finally Pablo & Jonah get to their destination & Pablo starts to climb in the back window of the building. Jonah notices that it isn't the doctor's office. Pablo tells him it is the undertaker's, Tommy died earlier that afternoon. By candlelight Jonah & Pablo examine the body and find not only has Tommy's hair been dyed but they find the scar on his wrist as well.

Just then LeClerc & Mange speak up from the shadows. They had followed Pablo to the hotel & now here. Pablo pleads with them not to whip him. LeClerc assures Pablo that he won't be whipped. LeClerc then shoots both Pablo & Jonah. Pablo falls dead, but Jonah only receives a graze on his skull, rendering him unconscious. Mange suggests shooting Hex again, but LeClerc has "A better idea". They take Hex's guns and nail him shut inside a coffin and then leave town.

Hours later Jonah wakes up and notes that the air is getting thin. He is able to pull his knife from the back of his shirt and starts to use it to pry the coffin lid up. The knife breaks! Jonah notes that he liked that knife & he'll have to make LeClerc & Mange buy him a new one. The lid has been loosened though and Jonah manages to kick his way to freedom.

Several hours later & several miles from town, the kidnappers are sitting around a small campfire drinking coffee. Mange asks LeClerc if he heard anything in the woods. Jonah steps from the shadows, announcing what they heard was him & he wants to have a friendly little chat. The kidnappers observe that Hex has the drop on them, bt what is he gonna do? Jonah states that he is gonna kill whoever is responsible for kidnapping Tommy Royden.

LeClerc says that fine with him because Mange did it. Astonished, Mange starts telling Hex how the whole thing was LeClerc's idea. Jonah sees that there is a slight disagreement so there is only one way to decide this .... a fistfight ... on the edge of a cliff.

With Jonah sitting calmly on a nearby rock holding them at gunpoint, he tells the kidnappers that whoever survives the fight must be the innocent one and Jonah will let them go scott free. LeClerc & Mange tear into each other savagely but in their struggle they roll too close to the edge of the cliff and They both topple over. Mange, screaming, plunges headfirst into the canyon below. Leclerc is able to grab onto the edge of the cliff and starts begging Hex for help.

Jonah walks over to the edge and tells LeClerc not to yell so much, Jonah is thinking about Tommy Royden and "thet nice Mexican boy you killed. Whut wuz his name again?" LeClerc starts trying to deal with Hex, he tells him he will cut Jonah in on the business, they'll be partners, Jonah will get 75%. Jonah asks how much did the boys get? LeClerc chastises Jonah for getting all "sanctified" and starts ranting about how the boys are better off in the fighting troup, how they have a chance instead of being on their own, how they....

The story ends with Jonah arriving back at the plantation in Tennessee leading a a horse carrying Tommy's coffin. The rain is pouring down as Jonah unloads the coffin in the front yard. Doc comes out & tells Hex that Mr. Royden died last week. Mrs. Royden comes out, sees the coffin, screams and falls weeping on it. The last two panels are great as Doc tries to pay Jonah what is due him, but Jonah silently gets on his horse and leaves.

This is an interesting take on a man who would take money from women and children in the past and often was seen as more motivated by profit than anything else. Here he is still bloodthirsty in dealing with the kidnappers, but appears almost embarrassed at not being able to save an innocent.

Statistics for this issue:

Men killed by Hex: 1 (or should we count Mange's death as well?)
Running Total - 110
Jonah's Injuries: Beaten and a bullet graze to the skull
Timeline: 1874, another early Hex tale.

Comparing this to the "remake" in Jonah Hex #1 Vol 2, it's hard to say which story rises above the other. Vol 2 has Hex dousing the kidnapper with blood in order to be mauled by his own fighting dogs and it goes one step further in Jonah actually killing the young boy to save him from rabies. This story however shows Jonah killing LeClerc and a few panels later appearing to mourn the loss of Tommy. Either way, this is a fine story to start off Jonah's own magazine. My only complaint, voiced earlier, is the almost cartoonish names and faces of LeClerc & Mange.

NEXT WEEK: Those damn government agents and a trip to Mexico.

And because I'm not above pandering to the ladies, I offer this.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics #18

Straight from the backup feature in Action Comics #253 (June 1959) comes Supergirl back in her Danville Orphanage days. It seems like a couple that owns a farm wants to adopt an older boy at the orphanage, but they don't make enough money. Supergirl searches all over their property for oil or minerals & turns up nothing. Then she gets a $$ making idea for them. She takes a big rock and... well, I'll just let her explain this.

Obviously this was before lawyers roamed the Earth. You'll notice that there are:
  • No handrails on the stairs.
  • No handicapped access to the telescope.
  • No fence around the hole.
I can just see some fool jumping in the hole trying to get a quick trip to Italy. How did her plan work? Several days later the hole collapsed but the farm couple made enough money to sell the farm, move into town and get a real job. Then they decided that they would adopt a different boy, since the one they were looking at enjoyed Farm Life so much, he would be bored in town. What Bastards!!!

What else could the telescope have seen that might have made the family even MORE money??? YOU DECIDE!!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Almost everyone that has read a comic has seen the cover of Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali and the huge crowd that Neal Adams drew surrounding the ring. Everyone pictured had to give their permission for their likeness to be used (Some folks didn't, which led to some embarrassing portraits since the artwork was done prior to getting permission, but we'll get to those, don't worry.), but for fun, let's try to identify the almost 200 people surrounding the Fight of Last Century. Let's see who is..... RINGSIDE!!!!

I will give you a hint with each one. They can be either:
A: Show-biz personalities
B: Celebrities from either Politics, Sports, or the Arts
C: DC Staffers
D: Warner Communication Executives
E: Neal Adams Continuity Associates
F: Muhammad Ali Cornermen
G: Editors/Writers/Artists
H: DC Characters

Granted C, D, E, F, & G will be tough, but you can do it! Just remember that it's 1978!!!

This fella up in the cheap seats on the back cover is both a writer & an artist (G). The answer will be in next week's RINGSIDE!!!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #16

An Atomic Age Air Rifle!!!! The reason it is an air rifle is that it's made out of flimsy plastic and once you put a yellow cap on the end, you squeeze the gun and the air forces the cap off. Therefore it's an air rifle. Atomic Age? The 50's & 60's were the atomic age, my friends.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Escort to Hell!! Ch 8

After heading into the woods a short distance, you decide to make camp for the night. The next morning you awaken and take stock of your surroundings.
You see a range of mountains to the West & North. It looks like your options are a possible pass through the mountains to the West, or you could follow the range North until it forces you to head East.

Do you head for hex Y or hex Z?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Weird Western Tales #38 "Track of the Wolf"

Weird Western Tales #38 Jan-Feb 1977
"Track of the Wolf"
Michael Fleisher, story - Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, art & cover

This is the last story of Jonah Hex in WWT, issue 39 started Scalphunter & they decided to go out with a bang. Any story done by Lopez gets an immediate thumbs up & I'll tell why later.

To start off, Jonah doesn't appear until page 6 in this story (I'm not counting the waste-of-space splash page). Instead we are treated to a full page of a white wolf in the snow-covered Wyoming mountains attacking & eating sheep. None of this goes unnoticed. One man in a group of four sees the wolf & attempts a shot. However, he is berated by his companions because they are out in the wild on more nefarious business. They are there to ambush Banker Haskins.

They rob him of the mortgage receipts from Josh Morgan. It is revealed that the men are led by none other than Morgan himself. Is plan is to steal back the money & keep his ranch. They kill Haskins and then claw up the body with a wolve's paw to make it appear that he was killed by the white wolf.

Several days later the saloon is packed with a meeting of the Eastern Wyoming Sheepman's Association. Josh Morgan is heading the meeting & is talking about getting rid of the White Wolf since it has been killing sheep & then the banker. One of Morgan's thugs speaks up, saying that he saw it happen. Morgan states that he has taken action to capture the wolf, he has hired Jonah Hex. The scene cuts to Hex up in the mountains in the middle of a blizzard pondering the fact that Morgan wouldn't let Hex examine the banker's body. He hunkers down for the night, making camp.

The next morning, Jonah wakes up, feeling a strange sense of apprehension. Suddenly an arrow slams into a tree next to him. Suddenly he is attacked by a large group of Crow Indians. Jonah kills one before he gets an arrow in the left shoulder. He shoots down three more, takes a arrow in the right calf. Kills a fifth Indian and runs out of bullets when the wolf appears out of nowhere, attacking the Indians. Gunfire erupts from the ridge above them and a mountain man drives off the rest of the Indians.

With the Indians gone, the rescuer climbs down to Jonah & it becomes apparent that the wolf is his pet. The man, Bearclaw Jackson takes Hex back to his cabin. Several hours later Jonah wakes up. Bearclaw has taken the arrow out of Jonah's leg, but the arrow in his shoulder won't budge. Bearclaw breaks off the fletching and cuts a groove in the shaft. He fills that with gunpowder. He lights the gunpowder to cauterize the wound and then using the butt of a pistol, Bearclaw hammers the arrow the rest of the way through Jonah's shoulder.

Jonah suffers in bed for three more days, fighting a fever & blood loss. On the fourth day He gets ready to leave and Bearclaw asks Jonah what he is doing up in the mountains. Jonah explains that he was hired to capture the wolf, but now he can't do that since Bearclaw saved him. Bearclaw snarls about the stupid sheepers and how the wolf has to eat sheep every once in a while. Jonah explains that a man died because of the wolf. Bearclaw opens a chest and pulls out a Navy telescope. He details how a week or so ago he saw four men kill another man that was in a surrey.

Jonah asks if Bearclaw could tell who did the killing, but Bearclaw says that the telescope is not that good of quality. Jonah tells Bearclaw to put a rope on the wolf, they are all going to town. Bearclaw refuses and Jonah tells him to come along.... or else. Or else what? Or else Jonah will lay the smackdown. Hex & Bearclaw trade blows until Jonah finally topples Bearclaw with a two-fisted punch. Bearclaw agrees and they load up & head into town.

As Jonah, Bearclaw & the wolf ride into town, folks from all over empty out into the streets. Morgan meets them in the street, demanding an explanation. Jonah states that Bearclaw witnessed the murder of Haskins. Bearclaw points out one of Morgan's thugs. The thug panics & said it wasn't him, it was .... Morgan shouts at him to shut up and lifts his rifle to shoot Bearclaw. The wolf lunges at Morgan, killing him. A thug starts to shoot the wolf, but Bearclaw jumps in the way to save him. Bearclaw, lying in the street dying, tells the wolf to git. The wolf runs off and three of Morgan's thugs decide to draw on Jonah. The town population is quickly reduced by three.

Jonah goes over to Bearclaw, who's dying wish is to not die in town around the sheepers. Jonah takes Bearclaw back to his cabin. With the wolf howling outside, Bearclaw passes away. Jonah blows out the lantern in the cabin and rides off.

Statistics for the issue:
Men killed by Jonah: 8
Running Total - 109
Jonah's Injuries: Arrow in the left shoulder, arrow in the right calf.
Timeline: Not really sure, could have been any period. It does take place in Wyoming.

I have a soft spot for almost any story drawn by Lopez and this was a very good story. Jonah is worked over be a group of Indians and I liked the fact that it was Crow, instead of the normal Apache or Cheyenne, and their dress and headdresses were of a different style than the southwestern Indians. A nice detail in the art. The thing that Lopez does better than anyone else in the business is give us a sense of place. He draws a town scene and no matter what angle we see that town from, everything that was in the opening shot is where it is supposed to be. If you see a blacksmith next to livery in the first panel, 5 panels later when seen from another angle that livery is still next to the blacksmith. This consistency is what endears Lopez to my heart.

The character of Bearclaw could easily have been played by Brian Dennehey. His death at the end was depicted very well and I regreted that he couldn't live to be in another story later down the line.

Next Week: The end of the useless splash page, kidnapping, boy-fighting, and Hex gets fitted for a casket. All of this in Jonah Hex #1.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Whew!! Back in the saddle.

I have finally got Christmas/New Year's/Kid moving out/Trip to Illinois/Kid moving out/Mom-in-law visit out of the way and now I'm ready to get back on schedule. What is that schedule again? Starting Tuesday the new schedule will be:

Sunday: Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics
Tuesday: Jonah Hex review
Wednesday: Escort to Hell RPG
Thursday: Pitchman-A-Go-Go
Saturday: RINGSIDE!!! (A new feature!)

In the wings? "Where are they now?" (You'll never guess what this one is)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Weird Western Tales #37 "Requiem for a Gunfighter"

Weird Western Tales #37 Nov-Dec 1976
"Requiem for a Gunfighter"
Michael Fleisher, story - Rich Buckler & Frank Springer, art - Ernie Chua (Chan) cover

As stated in the opening caption, the following story takes place in Arizona Territory in 1878. Jonah is chasing the Bart Jethro gang. He comes upon a cabin engulfed in flame. He hears someone shouting for help from inside. He smashes his way inside and finds a young man trapped under a fallen beam. Jonah drags him to safety and once they are out, someone starts shooting at them both. Jonah tells the man to stay down and tries to circle around their attackers. When Jonah gets to where the gunfire was coming from, he finds that they are gone but he notices a distinctive hoofprint.

When Jonah returns, he asks the young man if he has any idea who would be shooting at them. The man, Frank Joad, explains that it is Wade Ransome, a killer that Frank's father, a sheriff, sent to jail a year ago. Ransome broke jail a month ago and killed Frank's mom & dad then set fire to the cabin. Jonah gets ready to ride off but Frank begs Jonah to go after Ransome. Jonah turns him down and then Frank asks Jonah to teach him out to shoot, so he can get his parents killer himself. Jonah turns him down again. When Frank asks why, Jonah replies, "All yuh'd have tuh look forward to would be a lifetime of sleepless nights an' a bullet in the spine." and then rides off.

Later, while riding in a narrow canyon, Jonah is bushwacked by the Jethro gang when they throw a huge net over him. Jonah falls off his horse and when the bandits come to get him, he manages to shoot two of them before being knocked out with a rifle-butt. The Jethro gang take Jonah to the top of a cliff and tie him to a huge boulder. After beating and kicking him to get some of their anger out, they push Jonah over the cliff into the river below.

Frank, who has been following Jonah, sees everything and jumps in the river and cuts Jonah free from the stone. Frank asks Jonah one more time to train him & Jonah relents. In the days that follow Jonah teaches Frank the following gunfighting tips:
  • Draw and cock the pistol in one motion. This is quicker than drawing and the cocking the hammer.
  • Don't fan the hammer. It throws your aim off.
  • Stand sideways, you make a smaller target.
  • Keep the sun to your back, it will get in your opponent's eyes.
  • To make your draw slightly faster, wax the inside of your holster. (If ya know what I mean)
Finally Frank is ready and he and Jonah get the drop on the Jethro gang several nights later (when they are gloating over their $60,000 bank job, or 1.04 million in today's $$). All eight members of the gang raise their hands and Jonah tells Frank to keep them covered while he grabs their weapons. As Jonah advances on them, Frank suddenly holsters his gun. Bart Jethro notices this and states that it looks like they are gonna have a gunfight on their hands. Bart shouts for his men to kill them and the gunfire starts.

When the smoke clears, the Jethro gang is dead and Jonah walks over to Frank and knocks him to the ground, berating him for his grandstanding that could have gotten them both killed. The next day they take the bodies into a nearby town. As Jonah heads into the Sheriff's, he notices a horse with an odd hoof and it matches the track that he found above the burning cabin from many days ago.

He storms into the Sheriff's office and asks who owns that horse. The man talking to the sheriff owns up to it & Jonah tells the sheriff to lock the man up for killing Sheriff Joad and for trying to kill Frank Joad. The man explains that he is Ransome, but HIS dad was a sheriff that was killed by Frank Joad. He had tracked Joad to a cabin and set it ablaze to flush him out. Ransome had to leave when one of Joad's pals (Hex) tried to ambush him.

The sheriff verifies the truth of the story and Ransome decides to go out and get Joad, who is out in the street. Jonah tries to warn Ransome that he won't stand a chance against Joad. When Jonah tries to physically stop Ransome, the sheriff knocks him out with a rifle butt. Jonah comes to shortly thereafter, but by that time Ransome is laying dead in the street with Joad standing over him.

Jonah says that to Joad that he "made yuh! Now ah guess ah'm gonna have tuh un-make yuh." The following page is a beauty of simplicity. All of the panels are devoid of background or the buildings are just a sillouette. This leaves us with only the two men facing off with each other. Joad keeps bragging about how he is faster, younger, quicker than Hex and that it's time Hex steps aside for a better man. Hex then asks Joad, "Yuh know whut, Joad?"

And then they fire, Jonah collapsing to the ground. Joad stand ther gloating that he is the faster of the two and then he drops dead. Jonah picks himself up off the ground, his arm bleeding where Joad shot him. The doctor tries to attend to him, but Jonah shrugs him off. The doc says that it looked like Joad was faster, so how did....

As Jonah gets on his horse he replies "Ah been stayin' alive a long time now, doc. Take muh word fer it, it ain't enough tuh shoot the fastest.. yuh also got tuh shoot the straightest." With that, his horse rears up and he rides off.

Statistics for this issue:
Men killed by Jonah: Hard to say, let's say that Jonah killed over half of the Jethro gang (5 of 8) and then killed Joad. That makes his total 6.
Running Total - 101
Jonah's injuries: Knocked out twice, kicked in the head once, punched in the gut once, shot in the right arm.
Timeline: 1878. Jonah starts off with his striped hatband similar to the one he was sporting back in '67 and then ends up with a concho band.

I enjoyed the story what with the hidden identity of Joad as well as the training session. The art was not my favorite, some of the proportions on the characters seemed out of whack but there were a few panels and the gunfight page that really stood out.

NEXT: Wolves in the wild, Treating an arrow wound, Them Damn Sheepers, and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jonah's injury list

Here is an ongoing list of Jonah's injuries. Check the link in the gutter as this will be updated.:

Knocked out: 23 (wwt#24, wwt#27, wwt#29, wwt#30, wwt#31, wwt#32, wwt#33, wwt#37, jh#2, jh#4 , jh#7 , jh#8 jh#11  jh#12  jh#14 jh#17 jh#18 jh#19  jh#20)

Bullet wounds:

Right arm: 3 (wwt#37) (jh#4 jh#20)
Left arm: 3 (wwt#12, wwt#22, jh#3)
Right leg:
Left leg:
Torso: 2 (jh#3 jh#8)
Head: 4 (wwt#28, jh#1 jh#9  jh#12)
Neck: 1 (jh#3)

Arrow wounds:

Right arm:
Left arm: 1 (wwt#38)
Right leg: 1(wwt#38)
Left leg:

Knife wounds:

Right arm: 1 (wwt#20)
Left arm: 1 (jh#15)
Right leg:
Left leg: 1 (jh#15)

Hot tomahawk to the face: 1 (jh#8)

Knocked off horse: 1 (jh#8)

Beaten: 6 (wwt#21 , wwt#22, jh#1  jh#12  jh#13)

Slapped: 3 (wwt#33 , jh#7)

Punched/kicked in gut: 5 (wwt#26, wwt#30, wwt#32, wwt#37, jh#2)

Punched in face: 2 (wwt#29, jh#2)

Kicked in head: 1 (wwt#37)

Hit with guns/rifles: 3 (wwt#14 jh#10)

Dehydration: 1 (wwt#19)

Blinded: 1 (wwt#24)

Hot coffee in face: 1 (wwt#26)

Gnawed on by ants: 1 (jh#9)

Bitten by a gator: 1 (jh#12)

Hit with a chair:

Both hands broken: 1 (jh#11)

Whipped: 1 (jh#7)

40 lashes while tied to a ship's mast: 1 (jh#17)

Poison dart: 1 (jh#18)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Weird Western Tales #36 "Bigfoot's Death Song"

Weird Western Tales #36 Sept-Oct 1976
"Bigfoot's Death Song"
Michael Fleisher, story - Luis Dominguez & Oscar Novelle, art - Ernie Chua (Chan), cover

The story starts with a band of Indian hunters chortling over how much fun it was to wipe out a band of Paiutes. Suddenly they are set upon by a band of Indians led by "Crazy" Joe Bigfoot and they are all slaughtered in turn in an obvious act of revenge.

At nearby Fort Onodaga, Arizona, Col. Scott welcomes Jonah Hex into the Fort. He makes mention that the Army is finally ready to pay the fee that Jonah has requested and then he introduces "Rawhide" Gant, a hired scout. Gant makes some demeaning remarks about Jonah being a paid killer. Col. Scott calls Gant on the carpet for his slur, but Gant states that it's obvious that Hex is an Indian lover and that the savage Indians deserve to be wiped out.
An orderly bursts into the Col's office stating that four white men have just been found slaughtered. Gant says that proves his point but Jonah says that it was probably justifiable. The Col is worried that this could endanger an upcoming treaty signing between the US & the Paiutes.

The next day the Col and his entourage ride into the Paiute camp of Chief Running Pony. Running Pony welcomes his friend Jonah and he talks of making peace with the US. A scream is heard from a nearby teepee and Jonah storms in to find Gant attempting to force himself on a Indian maiden. Jonah beats Gant down & tells him to leave the tent. As Gant turns to go, he pulls a knife and throws it at Jonah. The Col shouts a warning and Jonah spins, shooting the knife in two in midair. Running Pony suggests that they continue with the peace talks.
While Running Pony, Col. Scott, Hex & Gant sit within the chief's teepee, Bigfoot returns to camp to be greeted by his love, Spotted Fawn, who is, yup, the Indian maid that Hex rescued. Bigfoot wants to implore the chief to not sign the treaty but before he heads into the teepee he instructs one of his men, Red Eagle, to impliment their plan. Bigfoot enters the teepee and tries to persuade the chief to not sign the treaty. He speaks of the cowardly white man and when Gant takes offense, Bigfoot dispatches him with a quick knee and a karate chop.

Bigfoot states that there is only one white man with honor & that is Hex. While Hex is sitting smoking a pipe, Red Eagle reaches through a slit in the tent a silently teals Jonah's guns from their holsters. Bigfoot states that without his guns, the white man can never defeat the Paiutes. He rushes Hex and Jonah discovers his pistols missing. Bigfoot starts laughing at having caught Hex off guard, but Running Pony basically tells him to straighten up. Jonah tells Running Pony that no harm was done.

Running Pony states that the elder council has decided to make peace with the US and as a symbol, Bigfoot & Hex will become blood brothers by cutting their forearms and letting the blood mix. Running Pony warns Bigfoot not to break the treaty with the white man or he will suffer under Paiute law. Bigfoot rides off and Col. Scott wonders if Bigfoot will honor the treaty.

The next morning, Spotted Fawn is standing near a waterfall, waiting on a rendevous with Bigfoot. However, Gant has decided to sneak back to the camp and he finds Spotted Fawn. Alone, his courage & libido running amuck, he tries again to rape Spotted Fawn. She fights back & scratches him. Angered, he punches her, she staggers backward and falls to her death off the cliff. Gant hightails it out of there, blaming Spotted Fawn's death on her not wanting to have "fun".

Some time later, Bigfoot discovers Spotted Fawn's body at the bottom of the cliff. He sees a feather clutched in her hand and recognizes it as the same feather that Gant has always worn in his hat. That afternoon Gant is leading about a dozen men when Bigfoot and his party kill and scalp the entire group. After the massacre is discovered, Running Pony contacts Jonah. Jonah sides with Bigfoot and the chief agrees that it was Bigfoot's right to kill Gant, but to slaughter the innocent Army men with him is an act deeming punishment. Running Pony asks Jonah to bring Bigfoot back.

Jonah tracks Bigfoot down, subdues him, and starts taking him back to camp. Bigfoot starts railing against Col. Scott, but Jonah sets him straight by telling him it was Running Pony that wanted Bigfoot captured. Once Bigfoot is returned to the camp, Running Pony pronounces sentence on Bigfoot. He is to be shot ten days from now. Until then Bigfoot may go and make peace with the Great Spirit. Bigfoot slowly rides out of camp and Col. Scott, who has been present during all of this, is convinced that Bigfoot will not return.

Ten days later Bigfoot returns to his execution. Bigfoot hands his horse and his rifle over to his friends and then informs the chief that he has decided on his executioner, as is the Paiute custom. He has chosen Jonah Hex. Bigfoot sits upon a blanket and starts his death song. Running Pony then paints a circle upon Bigfoot's chest and then hands the rifle to Jonah. As Bigfoot continues his deathsong, Jonah takes aim and kills Bigfoot with one shot. He walks over to Bigfoot's body, lays the rifle on it, mounts up & rides off.

Statistics for this issue:

Men Killed by Jonah: 1

Running Total - 95

Jonah's Injuries: None

Timeline: None really except that it does take place after the first meeting with Bigfoot.
This issue, more about Bigfoot than Jonah, is an interesting change from the normal 'capture the badguy'. The entire tale leans more to telling a story about the honor and disciplines of the Indians and the lack of understanding that the white men have of them. There are three viewpoints of the Indians expressed here: Gant, who sees them as vermin to be eradicated; Scott, who doesn't understand that there can be honor that is observed even though punishment & death will occur; and Hex, who has taken time to learn and understand the ways of the Indians, he may not agree with it, but he respects it.

Next Week: Cabin Fire, Vengence, & Jonah takes a Dive!!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Escort to Hell !! Ch 7

Sneaking up slowly behind the guard at the radio, you manage to grab him from behind and bury a knife between his ribs before he can even gurgle. You slowly drag him off into the bushes and lay him down.
Crawling through the grass, you get closer to the guard at the southern end of the line of slaves. One of the slaves happens to catch a glimpse of you, but as you lift a finger to your mouth to indicate that he should be quiet, the guard spins to locate what the slave has seen. Just as he sees you, your knife slams into his throat, keeping him from crying out and killing him as his life gushes from his neck. He falls to his knees and before he can try to pull out the knife, he is dead.
You sneak back into the darkness and head west. There are two guards, one watching the slaves and the other watching the perimieter. You decide to take out the first with a quick throw of your knife but the blood on the blade has made it a little too slippery and your throw is off. Rather than the blade digging into the guard's throat, the handle hits him square between the eyes. His eyes roll up into his head and he falls to the ground unconscious. When his body hits the ground his buddy nearby turns to see what has happened.
You rush forward, dive for the knife and rolling forward you slam the knife into his belly, once, twice. You pull the knife out, wipe it on your pants and throw just in time to bury it deep into the chest of the last guard.
All of the guards are dead or unconscious.

You free the slaves and they cluster around you as if you were the Messiah. An old man. a leader of some sort, comes up to you.
"You are going to Sisco?" You nod. "The western wall is filled with rebels, Look at this sign. It is the sign of those who fight against Alcala.
"If you get caught and have to enter the games, do not play the air joust."
A dark haired woman, beautiful even with her torn clothes and sad smudgy face, approaches you.
"Bless you, Jonah Hex." Before you can ask how she knew your name, she kisses you and presses a plastic card into your hand. "Use this," she whispers, "to enter the computer building." Her eyes indicate that it might not be safe to talk here.

The X on the top left is your current location. Do you head to the East or the West?