Wednesday, March 26, 2008
That night our story cuts to a large mansion outside of town. A buggy pulls up to the front door and the butler welcomes judge Harrow home. As SHE disembarks from the buggy she relates how difficult it is to dispense the harsh justice needed in the frontier. She has to set an example if there is to be any hope of taming the wild west and she has to fair and harsh since she is a woman and will be perceived as being to weak to handle the job. She then asks if Rodney is home and the butler starts to explain that Rodney is...
But the Judge interrupts him and says that she can guess that Rodney has been drinking again. We then meet Rodney, glass in hand, asking for an advance on his allowance since it will soon be his girlfriend's birthday. The Judge refuses the advance since it was "the floozy Vanessa's" birthday last month. Rodney starts to protest but the Judge says that if he wants money, he should go out and get a job.
Much later in town, Rodney is explaining to Vanessa that he can't get the money for the earrings that she wanted. Vanessa, floozy that she is, breaks down crying and Rodney swears that if there was any way that he could get the earrings, he would do it. Vanessa perks up because just that morning as she, during her normal floozy duties at the saloon, was taking dinner to the jail, she found a note in the returned tray explaining that the gang would give $10,000 to anyone that would help them escape. Rodney balks at the idea of committing a crime, but Vanessa, in her full-flooziness, shames him for being a coward and he goes along with the idea.
This one had some typical cliches and Jonah's part was fairly small. The main focus of the story was Rodney being played for a sap and we have seen that one before, especially with the overly harsh parent. I would put this one in the middle of the pack as far as quality. The axe to the head actually gives this one an extra point, it's always nice to see Jonah improvise when he's in a tight spot.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
It appears that Michael Fleisher modeled the story of Jonah's death, published in 1978, on this story from 1977. In addition to this, Secret Origins #21 had the secret origin of Jonah Hex and in that story a B-movie is being shot in an amusement park, a woman stumbles and falls against the 'statue' of Hex and then they discover that a real body is inside. Does that sound like this....
One day, while filming a TV episode of The Six Million Dollar Man at the amusement park, a workman moved McCurdy and his arm fell off, exposing the skeleton within. The mysterious dead man was autopsied by the LA County Coroner and made the headlines. People wanted to know who the body belonged to.
Oklahoma eventually proved that it belonged to Elmer McCurdy, and in 1977 he was finally given a proper burial in Guthrie's Summit View Cemetery next to Bill Doolin, another outlaw. The cemetery refers to these two graves as its "Boot Hill."
I don't know if anyone ever asked Fleisher what was his inspiration for The Last Bounty Hunter, but I think we have our answer.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I'm not sure what can be more awesome than someone getting knocked out in an Old West barroom brawl in a Jonah Hex comic. Wait, I think I have it....
Someone getting knocked out in an Old West barroom brawl by a freaking vengeful Samurai!! Drawn by Tony DeZuniga? That, my friend, is what the world needs more of.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Jonah Hex #40 Sept 1980
Michael Fleisher, story - Dan Spiegle, art - Luis Domiguez, cover
Jonah Hex is riding a slow horse across a dry cracked landscape; a dead steer nearby covered with vultures. Jonah comments that it has been ten solid weeks without rain. He tops a rise to see a bunch of Paiutes chasing a wagon driven by Calvin "Cloudburst" Timmons. Jonah dismounts, grabbing his rifle, and opens up on the Indians. He kills three of the six and the rest turn tail and run.
Jonah rides down to meet Timmons. Timmons explains that he had been hired by the Paiutes to create rain and when it didn't materialize, the Paiutes wanted his scalp. Timmons ended up killing a couple of them and asks if Jonah would escort him to the next town. Jonah agrees and they continue on their trip.
Hex and Timmons arrive in the town several hours later and Timmons gets right to business of creating rain in front of the huge crowd. Jonah notices some hardcases on the edge of the crowd and recognizes them as Billy McAllister and his gang. They mosey off to town and Jonah follows.
In town, McAllister and his gang head for the express office. They know they are being followed and McAllister leaves one man outside to watch the horses. The remaining three walk in and one goes out a back door in order to ambush Jonah when he shows up. Hex bursts in and shoots one gang member in the face. The one member comes in the back door and shoots Jonah three times and then McAllister and the shooter head back to their hideout.
Once back at the hideout they tell their boss that they managed to kill Jonah Hex in the bargain. Calvin Timmons is very happy to hear that and tells his gang to get some sleep since they will need to head out early to avoid getting caught by the townspeople once they realize the rain won't come.
Meanwhile, Jonah Hex is in the doctor's office and is getting bandaged up. The doc says that Jonah needs to take it easy since he just had three .38 slugs dug out of his chest. Jonah says that he plans on visiting the guys that put the slugs in him. The doc is aghast that Jonah won't take his advice.
Much later that night in the hideout of Timmons and his gang, Timmons gets up in the dark and mentally quoting "The Walrus and the Carpenter" shoots his entire gang, grabs the money and heads out. However, Jonah Hex is standing in the doorway. Timmons grabs a bag of cash and slams it into Jonah wounded chest. Jonah staggers and then Timmons grabs a chair and breaks it over Jonah's head, knocking him out. Timmons hears a noise outside and when he steps out he is greeted by a huge cloudburst.
Overjoyed, Timmons grabs his money and counting on his tracks being washed away, he jumps into his wagon and takes off. Eventually, Timmons comes to a ferry and the ferry operator explains that the wagon won't fit on the ferry. Timmons says that he'll come back later for the wagon and as he is gathering up money bags the ferry operator notices the bags. Timmons pulls his pistol and kills the operator and tries to navigate the swollen raging river by himself, but of course the ferry overturns.
Timmons is thrown into the river and all of the bank bags go to the bottom of the river. Timmons barely manages to get to shore but he is greeted by the three Paiutes that survived Jonah's attack earlier. They grab Timmons and tie him to a tree.
Meanwhile, Jonah is coming to back at the hideout. He stumbles out into the storm and attempts to hunt the rainmaker down. Dawn finally breaks and Jonah is unable to find any evidence of Timmon. Jonah continues his search and finally realizes that he will never find Timmons and gives up.
Statistics for this Issue
Men killed by Jonah - 4
Running Total - 283
Jonah's Injuries - Shot three times in the chest, hit with a bag of coins, smashed in the head with a chair.
Timeline - This one takes place after 1872, when "The Walrus and the Carpenter" was published.
I enjoyed this issue but I am always partial to a slick talking con artist like Timmons. I also liked the fact that he double crossed his entire gang, took Jonah out by taking advantage of a previous wound (along with a well placed chair), and that the rain eventually became his undoing.
On the downside, has there ever been a ferry in a Jonah Hex book that didn't end up sinking? At least it didn't go over a waterfall.
On the plus side there was also the first part of a Scalphunter story (to be reviewed much later) and since I'm so late with this review, here is a sneak peek at that story. Yup, it's one for the ladies!
Next Issue: A coward, a floozy, and a hanging judge. Guess who wins this one?
Monday, March 17, 2008
- Seeing the awning copy owned by J. Lopez (AKA Jose Luis Garcia Lopez) in Bat Lash #3
- Booster Gold actually TALKING Sinestro out of a evil plan in Booster Gold #2 (I'm trying to play catch-up here folks. Cut me an ever-lovin' break. How can I keep up on the great comics of today when I'm trying to locate every appearance of SCALPHUNTER?!?!?!?!)
- I LOVE the changing narrative tone in Jonah Hex. One issue has a straight-forward narrative, the next has none, the next is told from the pov of a character, another is written like a dime-novel. This is a fantastic book.
- I'm not sure I like the two-tale format of Justice League of America. There are just too few pages in the book to be able to do that without me feeling cheated on the main story.
- They killed Cliff Carmichael in Suicide Squad after finding the best use for him in the DCU. I was hoping he would become the Anti-Oracle.
- I think I know why I'm not enjoying the Justice League of America. In a team book, we get to learn all about the various team members and their supporting cast. However, in JLA, all we ever get of Supes, Bats, & Wondy is the typical iconic superness of them. There is no background, no emotion, no support at all. Of course this is because all of that is stuffed into their own books. What does that leave us? Red Tornado, Vixen, and Black Lightning. uhhhhhhhhh, not so much, at least for me. This will probably be on my drop list.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Does anyone else find it odd that the background in each panel keeps getting yellower and yellower? I'm just surprised this didn't happen:
seeing as how Hal keeps getting hit in the head
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
"Hold up your hand and apparently see the grisly moving skeleton bones right through the skin and flesh! Try the same test with a dog or cats paw...."
"Gaze at an ordinary egg and you seem to see right through its shell! Is there a chick inside? Look at a pencil and apparently see the lead inside the very wood!"
"Now - if you have the nerve, look at a friends head and you'll swear you can see his own throbbing brain within his skull!"
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Personally, I want to see MORE villains that destroy ice cream cones by smashing them with large cymbals. Of course, this would have NEVER happened in the DC Universe
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Jonah Hex #39 Aug 1980
"The Vow of a Samurai!"
Michael Fleisher, story - Tony De Zuniga, art & cover
De Zuniga is back and we have a Samurai with his vow! This issue has GREAT written all over it! But let us dive right in, shall we?
Jonah has been trailing the Blair Farrow gang and comes upon a small saloon out in the middle of nowhere. Inside, a Samurai is being taunted for :
A) Being yellow
B) Wearing a dress
C) all of the above.
And, class, we all know what happens when you taunt a Samurai?
Well, you do now. Of course, this gets the other patrons riled up and of course, Jonah walks in at that moment and decides to side with the lone defender. During the battle Jonah suggests that they need to exit the premises because he will be 37 in November and he is getting too old for this. Jonah decides to speed up their departure by shooting the chains supporting a hanging wagon wheel chandelier. Riding out of town the Samurai explains that he has come to America in search of bandits known as the Blair Farrow gang.
The Samurai recounts how last year his daughter came to America to be a lady-in-waiting for the Japanese ambassador but while traveling cross-country to Washington D.C., her train was robbed and she was kidnapped. It has taken a full year for the Samurai to get word of this horror and raise funds to come here to find his daughter and kill her abductor. If he cannot do this, he must perform Seppuku. The Samurai, noting Jonah's bravery back at the saloon, asks Jonah if he will be come the Samurai's Kaishaku.
The Samurai explains that the procedure of the Seppuku involves self disembowelment and that the Kaishaku will end his suffering by cutting off the head of the Samurai. Jonah doesn't buy into this for a second and tells the Samurai that he is out of luck finding a Kaishaku.
They continue riding for several hours and finally come upon a small farmhouse. They knock on the door, hoping to find food and maybe information about the Farrow gang. They open the door and find the entire family slaughtered on the floor. The Samurai lets out a scream and lunges into the darkness, drawing his sword. Suddenly Jonah catches a club to the face and drops to the floor like a level 33 Hunter in WoW (but he ain't faking). The Samurai kicks the door shut behind him and we are treated to two beautiful pages of East meets West.
When they are on their way, the Samurai once again asks Jonah if he will heap even more shame upon his own head by refusing to become the Kaishaku. Jonah grudgingly agrees and they continue their search.
Three days & nights later they come upon a canyon that is being guarded two men atop the cliffs. The sentries hear hoof beats but all they see are two riderless horses running into the canyon. Jonah has climbed up the side of the canyon and pitches a knife into the heart of one sentry. While Jonah is hanging from the cliff, the other lookout draws a bead on him stating that Jonah's pistols will do him no good. Jonah agrees and says that is why he brought his friend. The sentry turns around just in time for...
Jonah and the Samurai get the drop on Blair and the rest of the gang around the campfire. Jonah tells them to drop their guns and Blair quickly obeys. However, the six men with him foolishly think that they can take Jonah. Blair falls to the ground, begging his men not to do it, but it is too late, all six of them die at the hands of Jonah Hex.
The Samurai stands over Blair, holding his sword to Blair's throat, demanding to see his daughter. Blair calls into the darkness for Heejong to come out. She calmly approaches the fire, asking why her beloved has called for her and their infant son. The Samurai is astonished at the dishonor his daughter has brought upon their family by claiming to love vermin such as Blair. The Samuari is amazed and appalled and there can only be one resolution to this situation of dishonor:
As Hex finishes killing the Samurai, Blair takes his own wife and son hostage in order to escape. Using them as a shield, Blair starts to move towards his horse when Jonah draws and plants a slug right into Blair's skull. Heejong falls to the ground, mourning the loss of her husband and father. With the baby crying in the darkness, Jonah mounts up and rides off.
Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - 7
Running Total - 279
Jonah's Injuries - Club to the head
Timeline - Jonah's mention of his upcoming birthday places this story in 1875. Why the mention of his age? I believe that Fleisher modeled parts of Jonah's life after his own. Wikipedia lists Fleisher's birthday as November 1st and Comic Book DB lists it as Oct 31 1942. This comic was published in 1980 and 1980 minus 1942 equals 38, fairly close to Jonah's age of 37. Could it be that Fleisher penned this story in 1979 or is the Comic Book DB wrong? The story covers four days.
Sadly, the cover gives away part of the surprise of this story by showing Heejong with a baby but still, this tale packs one helluva punch. Jonah seems almost tame compared to the savagery of the Samurai. It's great to see Jonah honoring his word and the honor of the Samurai. Other great moments were Blair realizing that he couldn't outgun Hex; the scuminess ofBlair using his family as a shield; and the ending, with Jonah riding off leaving Heejong and the baby. Why did he do that? This woman has no-one left in the world and there is nobody around to help her. Could it be that Jonah suddenly understands the Honor code of the Samurai and realizes that by aiding the woman he would help perpetuate the shame in that family? Or is it that Jonah is completely fed up with the death that comes from a strict code of Honor compared to his more flexible, self-serving code?
Tony's artwork during the Seppuku scene was incredible. Using the light from the campfire was a great touch that added a sense of eeriness to the entire book. When I think of this book, those are the images I think of.
Either way, this is one of the top Jonah Hex stories and gives us a nice foreshadowing of things to come in future issues.
Next Issue: DROUGHT! FLOODS! GLOBAL WARMING! AAAAAAAGGGGHHHH!
ok, I'm kidding about Global Warming, but the other three are true!
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Of course, let me know about yours and I'll do that HTML voodoo to make the linky-link blue lines appear.
I can't believe I had this cartoon referencing the ISB, known for face kicking and not the Ruin, known for its Swamp Thing geekery. My hip reference skilz are teh sux too.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Michael Fleisher, story - Dick Ayers & George Evans, art - Jose Luis Garcia Lopez & George Evans, cover
Jonah Hex is in his own book so what will DC do with Weird Western Tales? Canceling it was one option, the other was to come up with another character and Scalphunter (created by Sergio Aragones and Joe Orlando) fit the bill.
We start our tale with a splash page of Scalphunter leaping towards us, knife at the ready, warpaint applied and this text:
So, what do we know about the Kiowa? They lived mostly in north Texas, east New Mexico and all of Oklahoma and in 1867 the Kiowa were placed on a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma.
This is the tale of an outcast..of a man who lived in two worlds, but was at home in neither. The Kiowa named him Ke-Woh-No-Tay, "He Who is Less Than Human."
White men called him Scalphunter. This is his story.
While the fort doctor is bandaging up the wounded man, he notices a birthmark in the shape of a star on the man's neck. Please note that it is a star and not a diamond. Don't get confused. The doc goes to see the Captain and explains that the birthmark indicates that their prisoner is the son of Matt Savage (but it has been decided that this is not Matt Savage, Trail Boss). The Captain says that since Matt Savage is dying, they need to confirm if this is really his son. They chain Scalphunter and take him to the ranch of Matt Savage.
Back in court, Scalphunter is freed and given a full pardon based on the robber's testimony. As Scalphunter is getting ready to leave town, the doctor that tended him tells him that Matt Savage is dead and hands Scalphunter the deed to all of the Savage property along with a gold watch. Scalphunter takes the watch but says that nobody can own land, only God may own the earth. He mounts up and rides off as the doctor shouts that the funeral is tomorrow.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I seems that DC made the decision to move Jonah Hex into his own magazine and then cancel Weird Western Tales. However, one of the DC folks heard about this and was appalled. That person was Sergio Aragones. Sergio told Joe Orlando that WWT shouldn't be canceled but Joe replied that they had nothing to put into the book. Sergio replied that they should create something.
Paul Levitz agreed and told Joe & Sergio to come up with something. That something was Scalphunter. They promptly handed the writing chores to Michael Fleisher and the rest is history.
Fleisher scripted the first few issues and then it was handed over to Gerry Conway. Oddly enough, a few of the Conway issues carried a "Created by Michael Fleisher" tag on the splash page. Even the DC wiki had this info wrong, listing Michael Fleisher & Dick Ayers. But, I have corrected it.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
A) A travesty of a sport that is the last bastion of testosterone?
B) The wildest damn thing you've seen in a loooong time?
A or B, it comes from Magnus: Robot Fighter.