Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jonah Hex #20 "Phantom Stage to Willow Bend!"

Jonah Hex #20 Jan 1979
"Phantom Stage to Willow Bend!"
Michael Fleisher - story, Vincente Alcazar, art - Luis Dominguez, cover

Our tale begins with Jonah Hex upon his horse on a hill overlooking the Willow Bend stagecoach being robbed. Jonah really doesn't have an interest in the robbery, but he figured that somehow, some of the robbers just may have a bounty on their heads. He dismounts, pulls his rifle and take careful aim.

Down below the robbers are badmouthing the old driver when suddenly one of them is shot off of his horse. Just then another one falls, and then a third. The robbers are spooked and return some fire but a fourth falls and as they ride away, a fifth robber is shot from his saddle. Jonah rides down to collect his bounties and the old driver is thanking him for the help.

Jonah dismissed the gratitude, saying he was in it for the money. The driver said that he knew that Jonah wasn't doing it out of the kindness of his heart, Hexes don't do anything unless there is a profit to be made. Jonah's jaw drops open as he suddenly recognizes his father is the driver! They load up the bodies and head on for town.

During the ride back, Woodson keeps jabbering nonstop, saying that he has heard tales of Jonah. He knew that Jonah would become the fastest Hex, but he would always be the craftiest Hex. Woodson steals Jonah's cigar and then asks what happened to Jonah's face. Jonah decides to ignore the old man, pulls his hat over his eyes.

We then have a flashback (almost 25 years) to July, 1851 (putting this story in 1875 or early 1876) when Woodson decides to head to California to the gold rush. Woodson and Jonah with a bunch of Apaches. Woodson sells the Apaches a whole shipment of moonshine in exchange for a pile of pelts. The Apaches then bring out another load of pelts and tell Woodson that these are for Jonah, as they had agreed earlier. Woodson takes the pelts in order to get a grubstake up for the gold rush and leaves Jonah with the Apaches.

Back in the present, the stage arrives at Willow Bend and Woodson introduces Jonah to Mr. Barton, owner of the stage. Barton tells Jonah that there is a bounty on each of the outlaws and then offers Jonah a job guarding tomorrow's shipment to Willow Bend. Barton explains that his stage has been hit repeatedly and tomorrow they will be sending a quarter of a million dollars in Double Eagles.

Let's see, a Double Eagle is a $20 gold piece that contains about .9675 ounces of gold. 12,500 coins are required to equal $250,000. 12,500 X .9675 oz = 12093.75 oz / 16 oz = 755.86 pounds. And in case you are wondering, the face value of the shipment today would be 4.3 million. But the face value of the gold would be just over 8 million. But these are Double Eagles and if they were minted in Carson City, then they would be worth about $1700 each (the San Francisco coins are worth far less) so the total worth of the stash would be $21.25 million. Nice pickings, IF ya can move all 755 pounds of it. But I digress.

Jonah takes the job but requests some carpentry tools, extra long reins and extra clothes and he tells his dad that they are pulling out at 4 AM.

The next morning the stage approaches a narrow gulch and high up in the rocks overlooking it are five armed men. They carefully take aim and are able to shoot the stage driver dead center but to their surprise the stage keeps going. Inside the stage are Jonah & Woodson. Woodson is congratulating Jonah on his good idea of putting dummys up on top of the stage and then controlling the reins from inside the stage itself. Woodson says that he always knew that Jonah was the fastest Hex but HE is the craftiest and then he knocks Jonah out with a whiskey bottle.

Woodson stops the stage and the robbers come down form the hills. While the strongest cowboy in the whole world unloads the stage, one of the men asks Woodson what they should do with Jonah. Woodson replies, "Yuh mean muh boy? Muh flesh an blood favorite son? We ain't got no choice but tuh kill im. After all, he's a Hex, ain't he? If'n we don't kill im, he'll just dog us down and kill us all." He has the men douse the stage in kerosene and light it on fire.

This panics the horses and they bolt. Inside the flaming stage, Jonah comes to and realizes that:

A) The stage is on fire.

B) The door is locked.
He totally misses

C) There is no glass in the door window and

D) if stage doors locked, they would lock from the inside.

So he decides the only way out is to kick a hole in the roof and crawl out the top. Jonah sees that the stage is heading for a cliff, he jumps down on top of the horses, trying to stop them and at the last minute jumps from the horses as the whole shooting match rockets over the edge of the cliff. Jonah manages to snag onto a tree limb and save his neck.

Much later we find Jonah buying a horse from a farmer and he takes off after the robbers & his pappy. That night the robbers are camped and have a fire going when Jonah steps out of the shadows with both pistols drawn. One of them draws and Jonah sends three of them packing toot sweet. Jonah confronts his dad, demanding to know where the other two robbers are.

One of them calls Jonah's name and Jonah spins, shooting him dead and getting nicked in the right shoulder. The last robber steps between Jonah & Woodson and as he is about to gun down Jonah, Woodson throws scalding coffee into his face and then shoots him dead.

Jonah thanks his dad for the save and Woodson replies that he has been thinking about what he had done and was feeling some remorse. Woodson suddenly grabs his chest and topples over. Jonah picks him up, loads him on a horse and takes him to a doctor.

At the doc's, the sawbones opens the door and says, "Forget it mister! No medicine known to man is ever going to cure that face of yours." Jonah throws open the door and hauls his dad inside. The doc tells Jonah that the doc needs to examine Woodson alone. Several minutes later the doctor comes out and tells Jonah that Woodson has had a heart attack.

Jonah goes into the room and sees Woodson lying on a table, barely gasping for breath. Woodson asks Jonah for one last favor, could he please have a fancy funeral. Jonah agrees and asks where the money is buried. Woodson says that he and the gang hid it in ....... and then he dies.

Jonah leaves the doctors and the next day after the funeral the doc asks if Jonah loved his dad. Jonah replies that he hated the old man but he guesses that a man only has one pa and then Jonah rides off.

The doctor returns to his office to find Woodson getting dressed. Woodson pays the doc, asking if the funeral for the box of rocks was a good one. The doc says that Woodson's instructions were followed completely and then says that it all seems kind of cruel. Woodson replies that Jonah & he play jokes on one another all the time.

Later in a mountian cave we see Woodson digging up something and then riding off, laughing to himself the whole time.

Statistics for this issue:
Men killed by Jonah: 9
Running Total - 195
Jonah's Injuries: Knocked out with a whiskey bottle and a bullet wound to the right shoulder.
Timeline: The opening reference in the flashback would place this in 1875 or 1876. I'm more inclined to say 1875 because Michael Fleisher was a very lazy historian and everything happened in 1875. This story covered 3 days.

The body count was pretty high in this one and I liked the relationship between Jonah & his dad. It seemed pretty traumatic to have Jonah meet his dad and then have him dead 3 days later. The title, while dramatic, is very misleading. I guess you could consider the stage to be a phantom since it appeared that no one was driving it.

Next Issue: This one is full of whore slappin, double crossin, crowbar swingin, child beatin, Hex drownin, and everything ends with a bang. Oh, and Jonah has a really close shave.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hex movie preview

Okay, if they ARE gonna make a Jonah Hex movie, here is how the preview should play out:

We see a man on horseback riding hellbent for leather on a horse in the dark. He keeps looking over his shoulder. He rides into a rainstorm and as he enters town the horse falls and throws him into the mud. He gets up, running still looking over his shoulder.

We see a another man on horseback ride into town. The storm is in full swing. The first man tries shooting his pursuer but it has no effect. He finally throws down his pistol and keeps running. He runs through the livery, down an alley and then finally finds a back door open to a store. He runs into the store turns around and runs into his pursuer. He screams and in a lightning flash we see the scarred face of Jonah Hex. Jonah's face is still illuminated by the gunfire as he shoots down his bounty.

With a dead man at his feet, Jonah lights up a smoke and then is suddenly knocked over the head and is knocked out.

Later we open with a close up of Jonah's face in daylight. He slowly opens his eyes and looks up. The camera spins around to Jonah's pov and we see a huge tentacled monster rising from the sand and just as Jonah reaches for his gun, laser fire from a hovercar blasts the monster to pieces. The camera does a fast pull out so that we see a high shot of Jonah surrounded by 3 hover cars.

Close up of Jonah. He smiles and then goes for his gun. the screen goes black as we hear gunfire.

End of preview.

Of course, this is for the Hex movie that Mike wants to see.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jonah Hex #19 "The Duke of Zarkania!"

Jonah Hex #19 Dec 1978
"The Duke of Zarkania!"
Michael Fleisher, story - Vincente Alcazar, art - Luis Domiguez, cover

This story starts off with the SallyP seal of approval, meaning Jonah is buck naked in a pond taking a bath. But wait, we suddenly realize that Jonah is back in the States with no explanation of how long he has been there or what happened to him between here & Brazil. I feel a tumor in my brain and I think it is shaped like Michael Fleisher.

But I digress (as I am wont to do, as I am doing even now) and now back to the action. Jonah gets out of the pond, puts on his pants and hears something in the brush. He thinks it sounds like a grizzly bear and sure enough it is!!!! This happens to Jonah a lot. He thinks a gator might tip his canoe & it does, he thinks a bear is in the brush and it is. If I were Jonah I would start thinking "Thet sound in the brush, it sounds lahk a hot Swedish babe with two saddlebags fulla gold." or something like that.

But I digress. The bear, having scared off Jonah's horse, takes a huge swipe at Jonah and suddenly three bullets slam into the bear, effectively killing it and causing it to topple onto Jonah. Jonah climbs out from under the bear and is greeted by his rescuer, Jaques LeFevre, a foreign painter traveling across the American West. Jonah asks if he has a spare horse but LeFevre says that he himself is on foot due to poverty. However, there is a town five miles down the road. LeFevre is going to stay until dark, painting as much as he can with the available light.

Jonah decides to hoof it down the road and since he passes a Suarro cactus, we know he is in Arizona. After a bit a fancy stagecoach comes thundering down the road. Jonah steps out into the road to flag it down. As the stagecoach starts to slow, the occupant shouts out to the driver asking why they are slowing. The driver explains that he is about to pick up a hitchhiker but the man tells him to continue on & run down the hitchhiker if need be. Of course Jonah doesn't take to being almost run over.

He dives out of the way, turns and jumps on the back of the stage, climbs over the top, punches the daylights out of the driver and then pulls the stage to a dramatic halt. Inside the stage are two men, the Duke of Zarkania and his bodyguard, Mr. Manson. Jonah, wearing the driver's top hat, pokes his head through the window, announcing that they have stopped to take on a passenger. The Duke is not pleased and as Manson pulls his gun and exits the stage, Jonah belts him a good one, deadlifts Manson over his head and tosses him over a cliff! I'm betting Manson is dead.

Jonah climbs back into the stage and introduces himself. The Duke explains that he isIvan Veston, the Duke of Zarkania, and he had hired Manson to be a bodyguard. Veston's cousin, Lucien, has tried several times to assassinate Veston in order to turn Zarkania into a dictatorship. Veston offers the bodyguard job to Jonah for the next several weeks. Jonah says that his usual fee would $5,000, but since this is a special case, he'll make it $10,000.

The driver recovers and the stage continues on its way. Shortly the driver realizes that he would have been better staying knocked out because he ends up getting shot by some men hiding behind some rocks. Jonah hands the Duke a pistol and tells him to squeeze off a shot every 15 seconds. Jonah then sneaks out of the stage and attempts to circumnavigate the three men.

Up in the rocks, the men start lighting buckets of kerosene to throw unto the stage when Jonah pops up and guns down all three of them. Later, in town, the stage arrives and the stage driver is taken to the local doctor. The Duke dismisses Jonah for the evening and Hex heads off to the saloon to get a steak.

While at the saloon, Jonah is approached by LeFevre who asks if Jonah would prevail upon the Duke so that LeFevre could paint a portrait of the Duke. Jonah tells LeFevre to ask the Duke himself but he would put in a good word.

Later that night, the Duke is playing roulette and has already lost $20,000. Jonah points this out but the Duke tells him to mind his own business. He asks Jonah to go to up to the room to fetch some more money. While he is gone a drunk stumbles up to the table and starts harassing the Duke for a handout. The Duke gives him the brushoff but the drunk ends up spitting on the Duke and the Duke then challenges the drunk to a duel. It turns out as you would expect.

The next morning Jonah and the Duke are boarding the train when LeFevre approaches the Duke, requesting that he be allowed to paint the Duke's portrait. The Duke agrees and makes an appointment for that evening at his hotel. Once on the train, the Duke has taken up the sport of shooting buffalo from the train. After fifteen kills, the Duke notices that Jonah is silent. The Duke asks what is wrong and Jonah replies that this seems more like hog butchering than hunting.

This pretty much hacks off the Duke who orders Jonah off the train and out to the buffalo. The Duke is about to have Jonah butcher the buffalo for him, but there is a sudden stampede of the buffalo herd. The Duke wants to make a run for the train but Jonah grabs the rifle and stands his ground. He shoots the four buffalo in front and they fall, making a wall in front of Jonah & the Duke, forcing the herd to pass by on both sides.

Jonah escorts the Duke back to the train and then goes out on his own, investigating why the herd suddenly charged. Jonah finds horse tracks among the buffalo tracks as well as whip marks in the dust. Jonah spends the rest of the day following the horse tracks and ends up at an abandoned barn. As Jonah starts to peek into the window he is knocked out with a rifle butt.

When he wakes up he is hanging by his wrists from the rafters in the barn. LeFevre is there with two other men. LeFevre explains that he is Lucien Veston, the rightful ruler of Zarkania. The Duke had been the ruler for years but there was a revolution and he was overthrown. Before the Duke could be tried, he stole the royal gems and fled the country.Veston explains that they will take the Duke captive and return the gems to Zarkania. Veston leaves the two men to guard Jonah as he goes to paint the Duke's portrait.

Naturally, the guards don't pay very good attention and Jonah is able to pull himself up the ropes, gain some slack, pull his knife, and cut himself free. Jonah jumps from the rafters, kicking one guard and punching the other. He grabs a horse and heads for town.

In the Duke's room, Veston has set up an easel and has the Duke sit in a large chair. Once the Duke is in the chair, Veston handcuffs the Duke's arm to the chair. Veston removes his beard and demands the jewels. The Duke says that he will never tell. Veston pulls a bundle of dynamite from his bag and threatens to light it but the Duke reveals that he knew the plan all along, he couldn't be fooled by his cousin in a beard. The Duke shouts for his driver who enters the room and shoots Veston.

Veston falls, pulls his pistol and shhots the driver dead. Just before Veston dies he whispers "die tyrant" and manages to light the dynamite. At that moment Jonah arrives at the room and kicks the door open. Now take a look at the room setup. Jonah is about 6 feet from the dynamite. The Duke is about 6 feet away as well.

The Duke starts screaming for Jonah to put out the fuse but Jonah wants to clear up a few things first. He wants to know if the Duke had been lying all along and that there are jewels involved. The Duke screams that what Jonah says is true and that Jonah is not one to preach morality. The Duke offers all of the jewels to Jonah but he has to put out the fuse. Jonah explains that the fuse is too short and he couldn't reach it in time but the Duke points out that Jonah could shoot the fuse. Jonah pulls his pistol and shoots and then the Duke realizes that Jonah has missed. Jonah thinks that odd, either his sights...


..need adjusting or he is losing his touch. And Jonah calmly walks out of the hotel and people rush up the stairs.

Statistics for this issue:
Men killed by Jonah: 4
Running Total - 186
Jonah's Injuries: Knocked out
Timeline: This could be any random Jonah Hex story, no clues about any continuity whatsoever.

This has to be in the bottom of Jonah Hex stories. The lack of continuity with the previous Amazon River tales was a big let-down. The real killer was the ending. The Duke can't drag a large chair in order to reach the dynamite? And from the time Jonah says that the fuse is too short until it blows up is about 17 seconds (I timed myself reading the dialogue and acting it out). If dynamite was involved I can run around my entire house twice and on top of that, Jonah is standing 6 feet away and nothing happens when it blows up. This is lousy sloppy storytelling and I blame editor Larry Hama as much as I blame Fleisher for this crap sandwich.

Next Issue: A burning stagecoach, an unexpected reunion, and Hex dies! No, he really dies!

Jonah Hex movie???

This has been tried before and didn't get too far, but here is the latest:

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. Pictures is saddling up to bring DC Comics' Western anti-hero comic book "Jonah Hex" to the big screen, with the writer/directors of the thriller "Crank," on board to adapt.

Hex, known for having the right side of his face disfigured and wearing a Confederate army uniform, was a rough-and-tumble gunslinger and part-time bounty hunter whose adventures always ended in blood.

"Hex" first appeared in the early 1970s in the issues of "All-Star Western" before graduating to his own series in 1977 that ran for about 10 years. A new series was launched in 2005. The character also had a run in the 1990s that combined the Western genre with supernatural elements.

It will be developed by "Crank" filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who are not making a straight-ahead Western but plan to develop the character with some of the supernatural overtones in the hopes of creating a franchise.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jonah Hex Timeline

Here is my shot at a Jonah Hex timeline. I have built this with Google docs and will be updating it as I can.

Friday Night Fights

..aaaand we are back to Friday Night Fights! The first round had Evil Blacksmith beating Jonah's Horse severely with a whip, but the horse was saved by the bell.

Here is the start of round 2 and Evil Blacksmith dances to the center of the ring..What's THIS?!?! JONAH HEX has climbed into the ring... runs up to Evil Blacksmith and .... ONE PUNCH!!!!!!

That's it folks, the fight is OVER!!!!

From All-Star Western #10

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jonah Hex #18 "Amazon Treasure... Amazon Death!"

Jonah Hex #18 Nov. 1978
"Amazon Treasure... Amazon Death!"

Michael Fleisher, story - Val Mayerik & Danny Bulanadi, art - Jose Luis Garcia Lopez & Luis Dominguez, cover.

Surprisingly, Jonah Hex is still in South America, the Amazon River to be exact and he is still paddling the canoe that he used last issue to escape from the cannibals. Jonah hears a scream and pulls over to the bank of the river to investigate. He finds five men threatening a native boy with what looks like a hot poker of some kind. Jonah throws a knife into one man's chest, uses the canoe paddle to smash one guy upside the head and then grabs a dropped pistol. He then guns down the three remaining men while giving a running commentary on the downside of using a 'cheap French pinfire model'.

Jonah then cuts the boy loose from the tree. A native man is watching from high up in another tree and uses a blowgun to put a poison dart into Jonah's shoulder. Staggering from the poison, Jonah staggers back to the canoe and launches it into the river.
Unconscious, Jonah floats downriver (probably back the way he came since he came from the ocean) and, of course, goes over a pretty small waterfall and washes up on the bank.

A couple of men fond Jonah and take him to a large plantation. There, they turn him over to a woman they address as Miss Vanessa. The text tells us that Jonah is out for weeks until one day he wakes up, with Vanessa at his side. Vanessa calls for her brother, Paul Venal, the owner of the large rubber plantation. Venal explains to Jonah that he was found along the river with a curare dart in his shoulder. Venal tells Jonah that the dart was made by the Kre-Ena-Krore tribe. The poison is a fast acting type and that it takes an unusual man to survive it. Jonah tells them about being on a sailing ship that sunk.
Venal offers to show Jonah around the plantation but offers to lend Jonah a revolver. As they enter the library, Jonah spies a pair of ivory-handled Colt .44 Dragoons hanging on the wall. Venal compliments Jonah on his knowledge of weapons and asks if he is a collector or if he uses guns in his work. Jonah says that it's something like that.

Several hours later, Venal and Jonah are admiring the view of Venal's property. Venal states that it is getting late and that they need to head back, night brings forth roving bands of bandits. Sure enough, before they can get back to their horses, they are stopped by four men who announce, in Spanish, that they plan to rob Jonah & Venal. Jonah tells Venal "Muh Spanish never wuz fluent, Mr. Venal, but you speak the lingo real good, dont'cha?"


Jonah Hex isn't fluent in Spanish? And I suppose Anita Blake is written by Shakespeare.

But, back to the impending carnage. Jonah tells Venal to tell the robbers that he is about to shoot all of their gold teeth out. Venal translates, not exactly, but politely and the robbers bust up laughing and then the 'greatest grand master of the sixgun the world has ever known' drops all four of the bandits like gum from a gumball machine.

Later, back at the plantation, Venal details the adventure to Vanessa and explains that he plans on using Jonah to locate the hidden treasure of the Kre-Ena-Krore. Venal had sent five other men to locate the treasure and they never came back. Venal plans on tells Jonah that he will be sent on a rescue mission to find those men and then will move in after Jonah has slaughtered the tribe.

The next day Jonah sets out on the 'rescue mission' along with about a dozen men and Vanessa. For three days the group cuts their way through the jungle and Jonah is starting to get suspiscious. He's been drawing comparisons between the five men they will rescue and the five men that Jonah killed several weeks prior. During a rest stop, Vanessa gets attacked by a python. Jonah stops a man from shooting the snake to keep the natives from hearing the shot. He grabs an axe and throws it to cut the snakes head off. Vanessa throws the snake carcass off of her and runs into Jonah's arms.

The band continues on into dusk. They have encountered a quicksand pool and one of the men starts to walk around it. Jonah notices that the ground has been dug up but suddenly the man falls through teh ground and into a spiked pit trap. Jonah orders the men to retrieve the body, sink it into the quicksand and then reset the trap so that the natives don't know that the trap has been sprung.

Once darkness falls, Jonah orders everyone that there will be no fires, they eat and set camp in the dark. One bellyacher decides to light up his pipe and gets an arrow in the chest for his efforts. Jonah pulls his knife and goes after the native. Jonah manages to catch him and kill him but there is another native that escapes into the night. Later Vanessa is begging Jonah to turn back and she spills the beans about Venal and the treasure. Vanessa begs Jonah to get them away from there and to take her with him, but they are suddenly surrounded by natives. Jonah starts to put up a fight but gets knocked out (!?!?!).

When Jonah comes to, he is tied to a stake, one of many in a line, in the center of the native village. Several men are already dead, large spears run through them. Right before Jonah is going to get speared, the young boy that Jonah saved earlier recognizes Jonah. The chief orders Jonah freed and starts talking to Jonah with sign language. Jonah realizes that it isn't too much different from the sign language he knows.

The chief tells Jonah that he wants to give Jonah the tribal treasure. Jonah goes into a large lodge and sees that the treasure of the tribe is a pile of shrunken heads!! The chief hands Jonah a small bag that contains the head of Vanessa. Jonah decides he better take it and is then sent on his way. Jonah rides for quite a ways until he comes to the quicksand pool. He stops and rolls himself a cigarette because he is expecting Venal to show up soon.

Jonah isn't wrong because shortly Venal and two of his men arrive. Venal greets Hex and Jonah tells him that everything he has been looking for is in the small sack. Venal is surprised but sends his henchmen to get the sack. They start towards Jonah but they end up falling into the pit trap. Venal grabs his rifle, and avoiding the pit, he heads toward Jonah. Jonah tosses the sack toward Venal, but Venal suddenly realizes that he is stuck in the quicksand. He starts begging Jonah to save him, offering to split the treasure, no, he'll give Jonah everything. Jonah tells Venal that he can keep it.

Venal opens up the sack, sees that it is Vanessa and then slips beneath the sand, screaming for help.

Jonah rides off for parts unknown.

Statistics for this issue

Men killed by Jonah: 13. He knifes 2, hits one with a canoe paddle, shoots 7, lures 2 into a pit trap and lures 1 into quicksand.

Running Total - 182
Jonah's injuries: Falls over a waterfall, knocked in the head, and gets a curare poison dart.
Timeline: This is a continuation of last issue, but we have no indication if this is prior or after the Hex fugitive storyline.

Next Issue: International intrigue and dynamite death.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday Morning Macking

Steve likes to start the week with love, not war. Guys, just remember that some women love to play Florence Nightingale, they love to be the nurse, to be the restorer of health, they love.... bare-chested men with gunshot wounds.

Therefore, they love Jonah Hex!!! Look at her, she's ready to take a great big BITE!!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Who Drew Jonah Hex Quiz

Well, I've seen "Who Drew J.J.J?" & "Who Drew Iron Man?" so I thought I would toss a DC hat into the ring and bring you "Who Drew Jonah Hex?" In this first round we will look at 11 Jonah Hex artists. Just send your guesses to okiedokiegamesATsbcglobalDOTnet & the winner will get nothing at all!!!












Answers & winners will be announced on Saturday the 14th.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Night Fights


Ladieeeeeees & Gentlemen!!! In this corner, weighing in about 257 pounds, Kurt, the Bare-Chested Slobbering Rapist!!! And in the other corner, weighing in approximately 210 pounds, Jonah Woodson Hex.


The winner & still champ...JOOOOOONAAAAAH HEEEEEEEXX!!!!!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Jonah Hex Spectacular "The Last Bounty Hunter!"

Jonah Hex Spectacular Fall 1978
"The Last Bounty Hunter!"
Michael Fleisher, story - Russ Heath, art - Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, cover

This appeared at what I guess was the pinnacle of sales for Jonah Hex. It was also a defining moment in the history of the character. It has become one of the most talked about stories in Jonah's timeline and was somewhat unique in comics history. It's also sad to say that this was published about the same time as the amazingly awful dreck that was in Justice League of America.

But let's forget that icky icky ca-ca and get right into our story.

Jonah is lying on a rocky outcropping, using binoculars to track the George Barrow gang who just robbed a bank in Cheyenne. They have broken up into two groups of four. Jonah, his face in shadows, walks back to his horse and contemplates how much the world has changed. Folks are riding in gasoline powered buggies, a couple of guys actually flew for 59 seconds and he is feeling too tired to try to take on all 8 guys in the Barrow gang. Yup, 1904 is a strange time to be in. We then see Jonah in the sunlight, 66 years old, wrinkled, haggard looking, wearing wire-rimmed glasses.

We cut to the Barrow gang setting up camp later that night. They know that Jonah has been following them and they have a plan to double back and get the drop on Jonah. Once the fire is going, Frank & Larry go off to 'collect firewood' but they actually climb the hills surrounding the camp and come up behind Jonah, laying on a rocky outcropping. But it is actually all of Jonah's clothes, laid out to look like he is lying there. Suddenly a lasso snakes out of the darkness, tightens around Frank's neck and Frank is yanked back into the shadows. Larry quickly jumps to his feet just as a Bowie knife is thrown into his heart. Jonah emerges from the shadows wearing red long johns.

back at the campfire, Zeke & Pete are getting nervous about Larry & Frank being gone so long. Jonah calmly states that maybe those two are dead. Zeke & Pete spin around to see Jonah calmly lighting up a cigarette. They start to draw on Jonah but he guns both of them down. Pete manages to get a shot off that goes through Jonah's right arm. Hex, fingering the hole thinks "Yo're gettin' slow, Jonah boy! Mighty damn slow!"

The next morning, the city of Cheyenne is greeted with the sight of Jonah dragging four corpses through the middle of town. Jonah heads to the police station and checks in with Hank, the chief of police. Hank tallys up the reward to $12,000 for the four men. While Jonah is signing the voucher for the reward, Ernie, the deputy, takes it upon himself to try to educate Jonah in modern police methods. Ernie states that the modern system really doesn't need old men from the 1870's doing dirty bounty work.

Jonah's reply?

Jonah walks out and Hank calmly tells Ernie that he got off lucky, Jonah could still stitch his name in bullets across Ernie's forehead. Hank then laments to himself that Jonah's world is gone now & that they don't make men like that anymore.

Jonah heads over to a general store to stock up on supplies. While he is there, he encounters Michael Wheeler, an American History professor at Princeton. Wheeler explains that he has traveled out west to meet Jonah. Hex replies that he hopes that it has been a scintillatin's experience and then walks out the door. Wheeler follows him, explaining that he wants to write the history of Jonah's life, of the entire way of life of bounty hunters. Wheeler wants people to be able to remember how it was for these men. After some thought, Jonah tells Wheeler he can come out to Jonah's cabin.

Several hours later the two men arrive at a cabin in the foothills. A beautiful Indian woman, Tall Bird, comes running out to meet them. Wheeler remarks on her beauty and asks if she is Jonah's daughter. Jonah replies "not hardly", pulls her close and kisses her deeply.

Over the next several days, Jonah recounts to wheeler his life with the Apache, being a buffalo hunter, his days as an Army scout (post Civil War). Oddly enough, nothing is said about the Civil War. Jonah then goes on to tell about his early days as a bounty hunter. Time continues to pass until Wheeler has stayed with the Hexes for months.

Winter has set in and Jonah and Wheeler head out into the snow to hunt some game. As they get ready to drop a moose they are rudely interrupted by two men and a gaudy wagon. It is Lew Farnham and his sidekick Simon. Farnham owns Farnham's Spectacular Wild West Revue. Farnham had been to Jonah's cabin and spoke with Tall Bird in order to locate Jonah. Farnham has a business proposition for Hex. He wants Jonah to join the show and travel around the world to perform before kings, queens, and emperors, displaying his amazing gunfighting talents. Farnham even had a white leather costume made up with Jonah's name across the back in genuine simulated rhinestone diamonds. Farnham also wants Jonah to ride bareback while juggling and even has plans for "that cute little squaw" that includes:
Needless to say, Jonah turns his back on the showman and leaves. Needless to say, Farnham doesn't like taking no for an answer and vows to get Jonah into his show.

Several more days pass and when Jonah and Wheeler return from another of their hunting trips, they find the cabin ransacked, Tall Bird missing, and a note:

It is night, George Barrow and two of his gang are around a campfire, another is on lookout, and Tall Bird is tied to a tree. The two gang members are wondering if this is a good idea, will Jonah, a 'washed-up' bounty hunter actually come rescue an 'injun'? barrow assures them that he will. Barrow's dad fought alongside Jonah at Shiloh and Barrow knows what Hex is capable of. Of course, what Jonah is capable of is sneaking up a cliff, knife in his teeth, getting the drop on the lookout and stabbing him to death without a sound.

A few minutes later, 'Luke', the lookout, comes down to the fire to get some coffee. Barrow realizes that it isn't Luke's voice and draws his gun. When they rip the hat off of 'Luke' it's really Wheeler (whom they have never seen before). While Barrow and his men are demanding an explanation, Jonah is drawing a bead on them from the lookout post. He shoots all three men and they drop to the ground. Wheeler runs over to free Tall Bird. Tall Bird shouts that one of the men is escaping and Wheeler fires several shots into the darkness.

When Jonah gets down to the camp he asks about all the shooting and Wheeler explains that Barrow has gotten away. Hex apologizes for his eyes not being what they used to be. Since they can't go after Barrow in the dark, they'll just get these other three into Cheyenne in the morning. Tall Bird tells Jonah to be careful, she has a bad feeling. Hex and Wheeler head off into the dark toward Cheyenne while Barrow, wounded in the cold darkness vows that he will repay Jonah.

The next morning as Jonah and Wheeler are coming out of the police station there is a brand new 3 hp Oldsmobile parked in front. Wheeler is admiring it and the owner offers to take Wheeler and his 'dad' for a ride. Jonah takes a pass, observing that he only risks his neck when he gets paid for it. Wheeler rides off in the car as Jonah heads for the saloon.

In the saloon, Jonah is invited to join a poker game. After several hands Jonah takes off his glasses to clean them. Jonah is apologizing for holding up the games when suddenly George Barrow storms into the saloon with a double barreled shotgun. He smashes the butt of the gun into Jonah's face, knocking him out of his chair. While Jonah is on the floor, grabbing his pistol. Barrow unloads first one barrel and then the other into the chest of Jonah Hex. The barkeep quickly phones the Police station, where Hank grabs his rifle and makes tracks for the saloon.

The Oldsmobile arrives in front of the saloon just in time for Wheeler to see George Barrow emerge, arms over his head, holding the shotgun aloft, proclaiming that he has just killed Jonah Hex. Hank comes around the corner and orders Barrow to drop the shotgun. Barrow breaks open the shotgun to show that it isn't loaded and then Hank shoots Barrow twice in the chest, killing him.

Wheeler rushes into the saloon to find Jonah on the floor. He gently lifts Jonah's head off the floor as Jonah whispers:
and dies. Wheeler picks up Jonah's body and takes it from the saloon. Outside, some children are begging for souvenirs from Jonah's body and when one of them pulls a button from his coat, Wheeler gives the kid a swift kick. Wheeler takes Jonah back home.

Wheeler starts to apologize to Tall Bird, but she quiets him, telling him that men like Jonah die because they have willed it deep inside themselves. Tall Bird directs Wheeler to put Jonah on the bed. By Comanche tradition (Tall Bird's people), Wheeler must light the fire that will burn down the cabin and release Jonah's spirit.

Just as they start to do that, Lew Farnham and Simon appear in the doorway stating that they have better plans for the corpse. Wheeler rushes them but is quickly gunned down. Tall Bird protests, kneeling by Jonah's body, but Farnham kicks the living bejesus out of her. They then set fire to the cabin after stealing Jonah's corpse.

The next afternoon, they have delivered the body to the taxidermy studio along with the costume that they wanted Jonah to wear in the show. A week later, the stuffed corpse of Jonah hex is returned to the Wild West Revue. They place Jonah on a pedestal and Simon starts to place a pistol in Jonah's hand. Farnham warns Simon to be careful but:

So Simon becomes the last man that Jonah Hex kills. Oh, and Farnham just drags the body away.

The story doesn't say for how long Farnham showed off the corpse of Jonah Hex, but it appears to have been quite awhile, word has gotten around how much Lew has been making. So, one night, while Farnham is counting his money, three men come into the tent, kill Farnham, rob him and take the body of Jonah to sell to an antique dealer.

After that, Jonah's body is shown to have been in the back room of an antique shop in 1923 and then ended up in a warehouse in Detroit in 1949. In 1972, the corpse was purchased by the owner of Westworld Amusement Park on the outskirts of New York City. At the end of our tale, we see Jonah in the park with a small boy dressed in cowboy gear asking his mom if that is a real man. She assures him it is just a dummy.

It starts to rain and as the mom hustles her son off, the boy shouts, "Take THAT, badman! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" The rain continues to pour and we see the last of Jonah Hex, 1838-1904.

Statistics for this issue:
Men killed by Jonah: 7 of the Barrow gang and a post mortem shooting for Simon. 8 total.
Jonah's Injuries: Shot once in the arm. Double shotgun blast to the chest resulting in death.
Timeline: 1904 with quick stops in 1923, 1949, and 1972. I do have an item about the timeline (Surprise!). In several books, Jonah's birth year has been listed as 1838 and in issue 50 of Jonah Hex it was listed as November 1st. Jonah's death is listed as 1904 at the age of 66, therefore, Jonah died either in November or December. This is actually a pleasing item, something that actually fits!!!

At times I'm at a loss for words about this comic. DC actually killed a character, not a supporting character, but one that was currently in his own book. But there was one reason I see that they could get away with it. Jonah Hex, by our account, was already dead. Jonah's adventures take place in our past so we know that he is dead, but knowing it and seeing it is something else completely.

This isn't like Superman/Green Arrow/Green Lantern/Wally West dead. It's Ferro Lad/Barry Allen/Tasha Yar dead. Not 'mostly dead', he is all dead. And it's not a death that will ever be rebooted, it's a nasty needless death with a horrible ending that has been referenced in several other books already. I don't think that this death will ever change. You can read some of Fleisher's thoughts about this issue here. This concept of showing the death of a character but still have his book ongoing (and it would be ongoing for about 74 more issues!) was a totally new concept that I don't think had been done before.

A few other interesting things about this issue. It came out long before we learned about Mei Ling, but here it appears that Jonah is married to Tall Bird (she does appear much later in a copy of Secret Origins), so Fleisher, accidentally at the time, has made Jonah a twice married man. Also, when Jonah is relating his past, the Civil War is not mentioned at all. Did Fleisher do this because he didn't want Jonah talking about it, or was it an unintentional omission?

DC did get some disparaging letters (two I think), but I was among the ones that really really enjoyed this book. Sadly, I don't think we ever saw Russ Heath work on Jonah again. (UPDATE: Mr Heath did work again in Jonah Hex V2 #25)

Also in this issue was a Bat Lash story and a Scalphunter story and...no ads.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Justice League of America #160 "Crisis from Tomorrow!"

Justice League of America #160 Nov 1978
"Crisis from Tomorrow!"
Gerry Conway, story - Dick Dillin & Frank Mclaughlin, art - Dick Dillin & Dick Giordano, cover

The story starts off with Superman, Wonder Woman & Flash all on the Cosmic Treadmill and dragging along Huntress, , Elongated Man, Dr. Mid-Nite, Hawkman & Star-Spangled Kid. We get a one page recap and then we are in 3786 where the Lord of Time is really really worried. Just then the five heroes from the past (Jonah Hex, Viking Prince, Miss Liberty, Black Pirate and Enemy Ace, all attack the Lord of Time's castle.

The five manage to break down the castle door but the super smart computer grabs a T-Rex from the past to attack the five. Jonah's pistol makes a ZAROOM sound effect (must be hollow point bulets). As Enemy Ace attacks the dino, the remaining four use this chance to rush the castle. But the computer pulls in several hundred reptilian apes from the future and all five are defeated.

Now the Lord of Time's only hope of stopping his own creation is for the JLA to show up. Back on Earth, Aquaman is talking to the doctor taking care of the fallen JLA/JSA members. He ends up going to get some special equipment.

Back in the future, the runners on the Cosmic Treadmill slam into a a wall in time. They can't find a way through until Wonder Woman throws Superman like a javelin through the wall. this, however, knocks out Superman. Our heroes find the LoT's castle and Hawkman is shot out of the sky by lasers. Wonder Woman is the next to fall, getting hit by another laser. The Flash vibrates part of the castle wall to dust and gets inside but is attacked by a pterodactyl and is knocked out.

The super computer states that the heroes will fall within 8 minutes and the stoppage of time will start in 9 minutes. A huge robot from the future beats the crap out of SSK, Huntress and Dr. Mid-Nite. The Elongated Man, emoting about how he is outclassed manages to trip the robot and it falls apart. He then finds the computer and the Lord of Time. E-man decides to short circuit the computer using...himself?!?!?! The thing blows up and Ralph Dibny saves the day.

Epilogue: Everyone is healed thanks to blah blah blah yakkity blah blah..

Statistics for this issue:
Men killed by Jonah: None
Jonah's Injuries: He gets knocked out by reptilian apes from the future. ( Do I actually add this to Jonah's Injury list?)
Timeline: Well, in these two issues Jonah winds up in 1978 and 3786.

Again, for a Hex story, it sucked. Here is all of Jonah's dialogue:

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Cut the cake!!!

Happy blogiversary to me

Happy blogiversary to me

Happy blogiversary deeeeeaaaar meeeee

Happy blogiversary to me

and many more on channel 4

and Frankenstein on channel 9