Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hal & Jonah: Head to Head!! Round 7

One would not expect a uniformed officer of the law to play a part in the ambush and cranial-cranking of a peace-loving bounty hunter. But they did back in the old west.

Weird Western Tales #30, a dangerous book to be in, you COULD be on the wrong end of a THUD!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hal & Jonah: Head to Head!! Round 6

There were several ways in the old west to get your lights put out. A horse hoof to the back of the old bean was one of the least pleasant.

This moment of darkness (and the THUD!) brought to you by "Breakout at Fort Charlotte" in Weird Western Tales #29.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hal & Jonah: Head to Head!! Round 5

So, SallyP thinks she's so smart, claiming that Jonah never inflicts head damage unto himself?
HAH!!! And I again I must say HAH!!!
May I present, from Jonah Hex #4, Jonah Hex punching Jonah Hex in the head? (Thank you, Mr. Lopez!)

Sally Sally Sally Sally Sally. When you gonna learn girl? When it come to the head-thumpinest hero there is, Jonah Hex is numero uno.

House Ads #23 House of Mystery

I always loved the cover of this book. It reminded me so much of the Ray Bradbury story "The Black Ferris" (which eventually became the novel "Something Wicked This Way Comes")

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hal & Jonah: Head to Head! Round 4

Sally thinks she's so great, having Hal in the Old West and Hal getting punched by Batman. Phhgghhlph! Jonah LIVES in the Old West and Jonah has also been punched by Batman.

When the Batman punches you, it makes no sound! This silent blow to the head was in Superman/Batman #16.

Salesmen of Yesterday!! Dan Russell

In today's economy, I can see a lot of people turning to the hefty profits that American Seeds paid out. I mean, heck, you don't have to be an expert. ANYBODY can sell these things and earn a pony. Even Dan Russell.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hal & Jonah: Head to Head!! Round 3

A left to the chin (PAK!) and a right cross to the skull (POW!) and Jonah Hex is down....but not dead! (WWT #22 1974). Has Hal Jordan ever been beaten senseless by an African-American? Don't ask me.

Jonah Hex #77 "Over the Wall!

Jonah Hex #77 Oct 1983
"Over the Wall!"
Michael Fleisher, story - Dick Ayers & Tony DeZuniga, art - Ross Andru & Dick Giordano, cover

Jonah Hex lies in solitary, beaten, scarred, surrounded by rats. The vermin fight him for food and at times even gnaw on his toes. Lying still, Jonah waits and waits and waits until he can finally grab one of the rats and slam it against the wall in a moment of triumph (and I suppose, added sustenance).

Six weeks earlier, (by the recap) Jonah started his trek to this place and now, several weeks later, the viewport on his cell door slides open. The door slowly creaks on its hinges and in steps Quentin Turnbull!

Turnbull, in his never ending quest to gloat 'oer his foes, outlines his whole plan to Jonah. He tells how it was he who devised the chain of events that will keep Hex chained for 25 years and he even states that once Jonah Hex is dead, they will continue to keep his bones in this very cell. At that point, Jonah springs towards Turnbull, grabbing him around the throat.

Turnbull shouts for help and Kozrak and another guard come to his aid. They beat the broken Hex back into submission and Turnbull leaves the cell, letting Jonah nurse his wounds and contemplate his fate.

Meanwhile, at that very moment, Emmy Lou Hartley is in the warden's office demanding to see Jonah Hex. Warden Davies states that Hex is in solitary for sixty days and can have no visitors. Emmy says that she will be back when the sixty days are up and that she WILL see Jonah.

The next day Davies and Kozrak visit Hex in his cell. Jonah is on the floor, not moving. Kozrak thinks that he might have ruptured something during the last beating and asks if he should get the prison doctor. Davies nixes that idea seeing that Jonah was never supposed to be leaving that prison anyway.

Two more weeks pass and Emmy Lou once again visits Warden Davies. Davies once again denies Emmy access to see Jonah because Jonah Hex is DEAD!!!! Hex contracted a sudden fever and dies two days ago. Davies is even so nice as to allow Emmy to view the grave but she is unable to relocate the corpse due to the quarantine imposed on Jonah's body. The fever was of unknown origin, so the doctor issued a general quarantine.

The news of Hex's death hits the papers and eventually Mei Ling learns of his death. Sadly for Mei Ling, even though she no longer is with Jonah Hex, the town busybodies still impose their bigoted views upon her and Jason.

Back at the prison, Kozrak is holding a newspaper in front of Jonah's face (see, he ain't dead kids. It was just a literary device!),gloating that since Hex is 'dead', the prison can do whatever it wants to Hex. With everything left in him, Jonah lashes out at Kozrak,punching him in the face, kneeing him in the jaw and finally slamming his head into the stone wall. Grabbing Kozrak's whip, Jonah staggers out of the cell to the storeroom, where he finds his belongings.

Refitting himself with his clothes and weapons, Jonah starts to make his escape. He knocks out a guard and then heads for the wall. Using the whip, he manages to climb the wall and knock out the guards manning the Gatling gun in the guard tower. He opens fire on several guards and then jumps over the wall to his freedom.

Several days later at the house of Gov. Phelps, Quentin Turnbull is having an absolute fit. Phelps tells Turnbull that not only has Jonah Hex escaped prison but that he has access to a letter that Phelps wrote certifying Jonah's innocence. Turnbull shouts at Phelps regarding the letter, threatening Phelps with his cane. Phelps steps back in self-defense, stumbles on the rug and pitches over into the marble mantle, cracking his skull open like a ripe watermelon!

Phelps lies dead at Turnbull's feet and Turnbull, coldhearted bastard that he is, turns and leaves the mansion, never bothering to notify anyone of the Governor's death. Turnbull is lost in thought on how to locate that letter, he gets into his buggy and drives off.

Meanwhile, Jonah Hex is on the roof, watching Turnbull drive away. Hex's plan is to confront the Gov. and... suddenly there is shouting from inside the mansion as Phelp's body is discovered. People rush out of the mansion and see Jonah on the roof. They assume that Hex has killed the Gov and Jonah has to fight his way through them to make his escape.

Later that night, Emmy Lou is getting undressed, knowing deep inside that Jonah Hex is alive. There is a knock on the door. It's the hotel manager with a message. When Emmy opens the door she is confronted by two goons and Quentin Turnbull (okay, make that three goons, or two goons and a heartless bastard) who is demanding the letter (of which Emmy knows nothing of) that Jonah had entrusted to her!

Statistics for this Issue
Men killed by Jonah - I will have to go with one. While Jonah is shooting the prison guards, one of them gives forth the dying "Koff Koff"
Running Total - 398
Jonah's Injuries - Jonah gets the crap beaten out of him once again by Kozrak
Timeline - Let's see, Jonah started this adventure 6 weeks ago and then 2 weeks passed before he was declared dead, then add in a "and soon" and a "several days later". Let's say the "and soon" equals three days (news traveled slower in those days) and "several days later" will be five days.

I have revisited the Cassie/Wedding/Emmy Lou issues and decided that the Cassie storyline CAN fit into the post marriage timeline. There were a few times during the Cassie saga that the phrase "15 years" also had the words "almost" 7 "about" tacked on, thus making it approximately 15 years after 1859, so placing it into 1877 can actually work (close your eyes and work with me here). Anyway, one thing follows another and since I placed last issue at Feb 1878, this one (68 days later will take place in April 1878.

I liked this issue even though there were some common sense problems. Turnbull had some of the best characterization here that I have ever seen. He's cold, cruel, spineless, evil, and very very easily despised. the common sense problems I had were Jonah being near death and still being able to climb the whip and jump over the wall (unless he was playing possum), and I can't figure out why Jonah even needed to visit the Gov other than to be accused of his murder.

But still, this issue is nothing but non-stop action and it gets even more crazy as we go along.

I also enjoyed the forced perspective on the title and the entire angle of the cover. It just screams ROSS ANDRU!!! and I love it! (I like the ziptone moon as well.)

Next Issue: The lover's reunite, an Indian massacre, Wilbur & Homer are introduced, and the unexpected return of a law-man.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hal & Jonah: Head to Head!! Round 2

Since I'm not about to blog about Hal Jordan, I present this.....

Yup, Jonah can take repeated strikes (double THUD!) with an iron poker!! Let's see ya do THAT, Hal Jordan!!! (WWT #21 Jan/Feb, 74)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hal & Jonah: Head to Head!! Round 1

I'm always hearing from folks like SallyP about how often Hal Jordan gets hit in the head. It's an ongoing joke about that indestructible noggin that GL has. However, I postulate, that Jonah Hex has gotten knocked in the cranium MORE than Hal Jordan & I'll stake my blog on it!

Starting today, I will post a scan of Jonah Hex taking one on the bean each and every day. SallyP has stated that she will do the same with scans of Hal Jordan. The first blog to either miss a day or repeat a picture will LOSE and will have to blog for a full week as if they are the winner's blog!

Since I have no intention whatsoever of having unending posts about Kyle's butt or Guy's haircut or who put who's GF in the freezer, I will win this contest and poor old SallyP will be forced to review an issue of Jonah Hex, post old comic ads and come up with a Weekly Wondrous Moment in Comics.

Therefore, in the words of Iron Chef America...LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!!!!

Jonah gets pistol whipped (with a mighty WHOK) in Weird Western Tales #19 (my first JH book!), Oct. 1973

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #77

I'm just glad that this wasn't written in Cherokee!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Chapter Wherein I Recount the Whirlwind of Our Lives and Then a Cat Walks in...

We had a huge hail storm come ripping through town back in February and almost everyone in our neighborhood has gotten a new roof by now. That is pretty silly since the heavy storm season in central Oklahoma isn't over until June. We decided to wait to contact the insurance company. No reason to pay our deductable twice now, is there?

Anyway, the roofers are now here and should be done tomorrow and the rest of my week will be shopping for a new screen door, window screens, repainting some trim, and working with lovely wife trying to determine the best guttering company to go with.

All that to say, with this workload and my recent out of town trip, I'm kinda short in the research/posting department. Next week will pick back up with the Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics, the next issue of Jonah Hex, some comments on other books that I enjoy (I read more than just one book, silly), more Pitchman-A-Go-Go, and possibly a treat for Neal Adams fans out there.

Until then,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jonah Hex #76 "Caged!"

Jonah Hex #76 Sept 1983
Michael Fleisher, story - Dick Ayers & Tony Dezuniga, art - Jim Aparo & Rodin Rodriguez, cover

Slowly, Jonah stalks a large buck through the woods, his mind not really on the task at hand, but rather on his current relationship with Emmy Lou Hartley. He mulls to himself that he really needs to tell her, and soon. What he needs to tell her is that he is not in love with her. When he tells her he loves her, he feels like a liar and when he doesn't tell her, he feels like a skunk. Sadly when they are alone, Jonah finds himself imagining he is back with Mei Ling and that isn't fair to Emmy. Jonah finishes up his mental ruminations with a killing shot to the buck.

Later Jonah totes the buck into camp where he and Emmy are staying and she runs up to greet him. Emmy pulls out a knife and starts dressing the deer but Jonah notices a muzzle flash up in the hills and Jonah barely knocks Emmy to the ground in time to avoid being shot. Jonah tells her to keep her head low and he starts heading through the woods to get the drop on whoever is shooting at them.

Jonah works his way up the back of the hill, lamenting the fact that he didn't have any dynamite handy since dynamite always makes things easier. As it is, he sneaks up on the men and dispatches them one by one. Checking them out more closely, he realizes that he doesn't recognize them, assuming they are bandits wanting to rob he & Emmy for their gear and horses.

Ten days later, in an all too familiar mansion outside Richmond, Virginia, the eternally sour Quentin Turnbull is trying to track down his manservant Solomon. Solomon is out by the woodshed, cutting kindling for the stove. Turnbull says that he isn't hungry and hasn't been ever since...

Solomon finshes the thought, ever since word came that Jonah Hex killed the three men that Turnbull sent to kill him. Turnbull starts lamenting that there is no justice for him in this world but then notices that Solomon has a possum in a cage. Turnbull asks what Solomon is doing with the creature.

Seems like a hot pot of water and several vegetables are soon to be the future home of the possum but Turnbull demands that the creature be released. It's one thing to shoot and kill an animal because death is usually instantaneous but to subject a creature to the prolonged cruelty of prolonged.......

EUREKA!!!! Turnbull has a huge flash of brilliance!

Later that same night (almost 1000 miles away according to the caption, thus putting them in eastern Texas or western Arkansas), Jonah and Emmy ride into a small town and Emmy is lamenting their lifestyle of camping and bad hotels. Jonah says that he is in no mood for a talk about settling down. He has Emmy get a room while he gets the horses into the livery. At the livery, an old man asks if he is Jonah Hex. When Jonah confirms it, he is quickly struck from behind by a pistol and is knocked out.

Later Jonah awakens near a campfire to be greeted by a man in a suit and hat. The man apologizes for having to abduct Hex, but he couldn't have it known that Hex was having a secret meeting with the Governor of the state (which state is never mentioned, but is probably Texas or Arkansas). Gov Phelps explains that he wants Jonah to be sentenced to a long term stay in the state penitentiary. It doesn't matter what crime is committed, but Jonah will be Phelps' eyes & ears in the prison. After a month, Hex will be freed and paid for his time.

Phelps explains that the warden & guards are corrupt but he cannot gather any evidence against them, so that will be Jonah's job. It would not arouse a whole lot of suspicion if Hex were to turn outlaw. Jonah points out one flaw in Phelps' plan. Namely, if anything happens to Phelps, Hex is in prison for the length of his sentence. Hex demands a handwritten letter from Phelps explaining the whole scheme as well as Hex's innocence. Phelps isn't too happy with this request but relents and provides the document.

An hour later we find Jonah Hex, saddlebags over his shoulder, storming down the stairway at the hotel, Emmy Lou trying to keep pace. She keeps asking where is he going, who is he meeting, why does he have to go, but Jonah merely brushes her off, saying that he can't explain and that Emmy will probably be a whole lot better off without Jonah Hex in her life. Emmy loses it, shouting that she probably WILL be better off if she finds a man who cares for her instead of just being a stand-in for a wife that walked out. Hex replies that it ain't true but Emmy says that it is and then Jonah rides off.

Two weeks later a Western Pacific locomotive pulls up to a water tank to take on more water. However, when the fireman pulls down the water chute he finds that Jonah Hex is right there, politely asking for the payroll money that's in the mailcar. The fireman complies and then Jonah rides off with the loot. In the days that follow, Jonah robs a stage and the Western Pacific Railway Express office and there is quickly a $5,000 bounty on his head. Late one night Jonah hunkers down in his camp and is suddenly apprehended and taken to jail.

Two weeks later he is declared guilty of four counts of armed robbery and gets twenty-five years in the state pen.

That evening, Mei Ling is feeding Jason supper when her brother, Mei Wong, comes in waving a newspaper around. The headline proclaims that Jonah Hex is guilty and Wong gives forth with a wonderful "I told you so" speech, telling his sister to fall to her knees and pray that the evil blood in Jonah's veins don't also run through those of her son. Ling demands that Wong leave.

Also that evening we find Emmy Lou reading a similar paper, but she refuses to believe it and she is not about to sit back and let the man she loves rot in prison!

The next morning, Jonah is delivered to the prison where he is issued his stripes (#26150) and encounters the head guard, Bull Kozrak. Kozrak, being a concise kinda fella, explains to Jonah just exactly how the pecking order works in the prison by punching Jonah square in the chops.

Later at dinner, Jonah is talking to another prisoner about the low quality fare being served. The other con, explains that the warden and the guards skim money off of the budget, buy garbage with the remainder and go home happy.

The next afternoon, Jonah and his new buddy are breaking up rocks when the buddy collapses from the heat. Jonah goes to his aid, but Kozrak tells Hex to step away. Kozrak pulls out a whip to help persuade Jonah, but Jonah grabs the end of the whip and lands a hearty left onto Kozrak's jaw. Just as the second blow lands, a chain is thrown around Jonah's neck and while three other guards hold Jonah, Kozrak beats the wholly living hell outta Jonah Hex.

Later a couple of guards drag Jonah down a long cold hallway and throw his bloody broken body into the light-less hole of solitary confinement.

Statistics for this Issue
Men killed by Jonah - three
Running Total - 397
Jonah's injuries - knocked on the head with a pistol and beaten to a pulp
Timeline - This issue covers about 47 days from start to finish. One point references 'several days' so I went with seven. There are a few problems with pinpointing the year for this in the timeline:
1) The Western Pacific Railroad started operation in 1903.
2) I'm still struggling with getting the timeline correct as to when Emmy Lou fits in. With Emmy appearing at the end of the Cassie Wainwright revenge saga (which was supposed to take place in 1874) as well as after Jonah's wedding (probably in 1875 and PRIOR to the Cassie saga), I'm just really beside myself plugging dates onto things. UPDATE: After revisiting the marriage timeline and deciding that the Cassie saga DOES take place after Mei Ling leaves, I will place this in the regular continuity and place this one probably Feb of 1878.

Let's say that at a minimum of a week passed since the last issue in the continuity (#72), we now stand at almost two months from the end of that issue.

Storywise, this is where Fleisher really gets the ball rolling, throwing in almost every character in the Hex universe and the continuity is pretty much intact from here to the end of the run in issue 92. The pacing on the stories is good and the drama of the relationships between Hex/Emmy & Hex/Mei Ling keeps building.

My only gripe was this. Obviously Phelps is working for Turnbull. So, rather than concoct this elaborate ruse to jail Jonah, why didn't they take the unconscious Jonah and rather than take him to Phelps, just toss him into a the prison with the corrupt warden and guards? He would never have gotten out. With a corrupt system owned by Turnbull, no trial was needed.

Next Issue: RATS!!! Both the four-legged and two-legged variety.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #76

I wanna get my wings by building the train!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A little more Jonah Hex movie news

I was looking at IMDB recently and there were a few new additions to the cast.

David Jensen - credited as Turnbull's guard. I'm wondering if this person will take the place of Solomon in the movie?

Natacha Itzel - Listed as Jonah's wife. Is this actually going to be Mei Ling? Miss Itzel looks like she could be cast as either Asian or Indian. There isn't much on IMDB about her.

Michael Fassbender - No casting information is listed and I can't really remember him in Band of Brothers. I have heard some rumors about his part, but nothing that I can find confirmation about.

Sean Michael Cunningham - Credited as Young Boy. Dare we even hope that this is Jason Hex?

As this list slowly builds, I'm getting more excited about this movie. I wonder how this film is going to play since a lot of folks don't know of Jonah Hex or that it is going to be a comic book movie. I see it pulling in a lot of western fans and that could be a very good thing for the book itself.

Anyway, it's only 14 months until Aug 2010.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hex meets Star Wars RPG

So Dad called me the other day requesting I share a short anecdote on the blog so here it goes.

A few years ago, I got a call from a friend of mine asking if I wanted to come chill with some friends of his and possible play a little Star Wars RPG. They had an ongoing game and had been playing their characters for quite awhile. I immediately asked if I could bring guests and he said yes so we headed south to join the people already playing. During the trip we formulated our characters and it was decided that we would be a gang of bounty hunters. My friend Eric settled on being an Ewok (Google that if you need to) so he would be hard to spot. I went for the typical Han Solo type pilot/mercenary and Dad was basically Jonah Hex.

Eventually we got to the game and started playing. Basically they had set the scenario in a bar where apparently very little was going on. We messed around for about thirty minutes getting the feel of the game and how the group played, then the proverbial "stuff" hit the fan.

I made a comment to Dad about how we should liven things up just as one of the other players was saying that they thought they recognized a man in a corner booth as a wanted criminal. Dad made a recognition role to notice the guy and succeeded. He then proceeded to walk up to the booth with me covering him. He attempted to apprehend the criminal, citing the bounty we had for him. He resisted so Dad, it typical Hex fashion, "incapacitated" him (the bounty was dead or alive). The other person in the booth took offense at this and drew on Dad. Let's just say they were quickly disposed of as well.

Sadly, it turned out that the second player was a diplomat with a secret security force hiding throughout the bar. The untimely demise of said diplomat basically put us in a position of three against everyone else. Dad turned over a table to use as cover while I dived behind the bar and our Ewok friend took up a position under a shadowed table. We then proceeded to shoot it out with the entire bar (again, in typical Hex fashion).

Eventually we won the day due to two deciding factors. The first was the fact that since Eric had put a ridiculous amount of points into his stealth and accuracy traits, he was sniping people's legs out from under them from his hiding place, but no one could see him. The second was Dad lobbing a grenade into a back room after one of the security guys had hidden in it. It turned out that the back room was the store room for all the alcohol in the bar so it lit up like the Fourth of frickin July. After finishing off the remaining players, we strode out of the ruined flaming bar and into the night, dragging our bounty behind...

...and they never invited us back


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Be back soon, but Eldest will fill in....

All's quiet for the rest of the week. I'm out of town, suddenly and unexpectedly, but I can't say anything further about it. Don't worry, it's not a bad thing and it may take me some time to pull things together before I can relate my adventures.

In the meantime, I have asked Eldest to entertain you with our adventures during a session of the Star Wars RPG, one that included myself playing Jon Ahex.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 & #7

Jonah Hex didn't make a significant appearance in the rest of the Crisis, only appearing on two covers and one group shot.

Thankfully, Jonah's cover shot didn't get hit by the UPC box! He is visible in the lower left part of the cover.
He also makes an appearance in a huge group shot of everyone being gathered together on the JLS satelllite.
You can barely see him standing next to Kole.

His final appearance was on the cover of #7, the death of Supergirl cover.

Jonah is visible in the lower right corner, standing next to Blue Devil.

And that was all that you saw of Jonah in CoIE except for when the trade came out, old Jonah and thrown-into-the-future Jonah were both on the cover and on the poster. That's kinda weird since the Crisis had nothing to do with Hex ending up in the future!
In the upper right corner is Jonah Hex

and in the upper left corner is Hex
Not very good pics, I'll have to see if I can nab better ones off the web since I don't own this trade.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crisis on Infinite Earths #3

Crisis on Infinite Earths #3 June 1985
"Oblivion Upon Us"
Marv Wolfman, story - George Perez & Dick Giordano, art & cover

Since DC is pretty much on non-stop-event mode, I thought we would take a look back to the really big one that started it all, Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Placing this in context with Jonah Hex, this was around the end of the normal Jonah Hex run and some weird things were happening in his book with some hints being dropped that Jonah would be changed entirely. My first thought was that the events in Crisis would be the catalyst for the changes in Jonah's book, but that never panned out.

Jonah's part in the Crisis was very small, part of a montage that was used to show that the Crisis was spanning all of time and space.

The year in 1879 and Bat Lash gets tossed out of a saloon in Coyote, Texas....

..and that is pretty much that. I did enjoy the reference to JLA #198 - #199 which took place in 1878. Nice that they kept a small part of continuity there.

Once again from the cover, a close up of Jonah and his buds.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #75

For some reason I think the most often performed trick is the vanishing 75 cents!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Place title here:

Things just keep coming down the pike. April was topsy-turvey with the passing away of my grandmother and my Lovely Wife & I thought that May would be somewhat mild, schedule-wise.

Boy, were we wrong. My neighbor decided that he would pay for materials if I would provide the labor for replacing our common fence. Sounds like a good deal. Fencing in Oklahoma is somewhat of an arcane science. Fences here are stockade type, meaning wooden panels 8 ft long & 6 ft high attached to:
  1. Landscape timbers (normal budget, rots within 2 years)
  2. Treated 4x4s (bigger budget, rots within 6 years)
  3. Metal poles (even bigger budget, doesn't rot or rust)

Neighbor decided on option 3. Also realize that the soil composition in Ok is clay. So I higher my Eldest son and his buddy that has a playground installation business. Yesterday we were to get the holes drilled and the posts set into concrete (I had already highered Youngest to tear down prior fence).

With 85% humidity, the threat of rain, and either concrete or utility lines placed almost every 8 ft where we needed to set the poles, these two strapping men worked their way through some stuff that would have had me cursing like a sailor. Darkness fell before we could start mixed concrete because three of the holes had to be hand dug.

But this post was supposed to be about May, and not about fence, so to continue: we have other home repairs scheduled; a two day video shoot for our children's church (wherein I get to tell about manna and quail using live quail!); a sudden, unexpected trip out of town (more on that later); an appearance at a local eatery while Food Network shoots an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives; and finally a game night (20+ people playing boardgames for 6 hours), a Stamp Camp (24 women making greeting cards for 8 hours), and a trip to Wichita to play MORE boardgames! Oh, and Memorial Day too!

Don't worry, we'll still have some bang-up Jonah Hex reviews and a few other surprises that I'm working on. But right now I'm kinda tired and the day just started.

Have a fun week-end!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Michael Fleisher Interview

On a flight of wild abandon I contacted Darren Schroeder of the Comics Bulletin to see if he could put me in touch with Michael Fleisher. Lo & behold he did and Mr. Fleisher was more than kind enough to answer my questions. We exchanged emails over a few months, & while my interview skills are sadly lacking, Mr. Fleisher was gracious to indulge this long-time fan (-atic).

Here for the first time on Matching Dragoons, Michael Fleisher:

Dwayne @ Matching Dragoons: Did you have an interest in Westerns prior to Hex & Scalphunter?

Michael Fleisher: I have adored Westerns for as long as I can remember. My parents were divorced when I was a kid, I lived with my mother, and my dad would come collect me on Saturday afternoons and take me to a double feature---usually a pair of Westerns, sometimes a Martin and Lewis comedy---and then out to dinner. My interest in Westerns dates back to the 1940s, long, long before either Jonah Hex or Scalphunter were even a twinkle in anybody's eye. (I don't think that Scalphunter was very special, by the way, and have no interest in discussing it.)

D@MD: Concerning western movies, what films would you put on the top of your list and what films would you not watch again?

MF: I have always loved Westerns. My childhood favorites were Randolph Scott and then, much later, the Clint Eastwood westerns.

D@MD: Your work on the Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes is fairly well known, how did you transition from that to writing Jonah Hex?

MF: Sometime in the early-to-mid 1970s, I dreamed up the idea for my encyclopedia of comic book heroes, and I asked for and received permission from Carmine Infantino for me and my assistant, Janet Lincoln, to utilize the DC Comics Library as our principal research resource. In the course of this research, I became friendly with Joe Orlando, and it was he who offered me the opportunity to write my first comic-book story---starting with mystery/horror stories and leading eventually to writing the Jonah Hex stories after John Albano retired from the series.

D@MD: Do you have a specific story line, from any character you wrote, that you are proud of?

MF: All in all, I wrote somewhere in the vicinity of 650-700 comic book stories in the course of my comic-book career---for DC, Marvel, and other comics publishers---but my work on Jonah Hex was indisputably my best work, and "The Last Bounty Hunter" was probably my most path-breaking story. For me, the experience of writing Jonah Hex was always close to magical.

D@MD: What was the motivation behind having Jonah get married? Did you get any resistance from the editors on the idea?

MF: No

D@MD: Did you have any plans for a final fate of Mei Ling and Jason prior to Jonah Hex being canceled?

MF: No

D@MD: In one issue Jonah meets his mother again after several years. I always had the impression that she had turned to prostitution but on rereading the book, it is never clearly stated (except for the term 'tramp' thrown at her). Was my impression correct or was she just down on her luck?

MF: I'm sorry, Dwayne, I don't remember.

D@MD: Any thoughts on or about the upcoming movie?

MF: None.

D@MD: Was the move to "Hex" based on low sales of "Jonah Hex" or was it a creative decision (as was alluded to in a letters col?) Who was the main idea guy of putting Jonah in the future?

MF: The decision to close down Jonah Hex was a DC sales decision.
When Jonah Hex was canceled, I managed to keep Jonah alive for a while by catapulting him into a Mad Max future.

D@MD: You said in a different interview that you didn't go much for sci-fi. What about the series HEX was the hardest part to pen?

MF: I've read very, very little science fiction and, as you note, I haven't much interest in it. Catapulting Jonah Hex into a science-fiction future was a last-gasp attempt to keep Jonah Hex alive (in the publishing sense) and I will not claim the s/f Jonah stories were among my best work. I have read very little science fiction, I am not at all well-versed in, or knowledgeable about, science fiction, and, as I've noted, the "Hex" series was a last-gasp attempt and not a
very meritorious one at that.

D@MD: Do you think HEX suffered from the change in artist to Keith Giffen or was the end already in sight by the time he signed on?

MF: I cannot recall when Keith Giffen signed on, and I cannot recall precisely when "the end was in sight."

D@MD: What was your favorite and least favorite aspects of the HEX books?

MF: If memory serves me, I wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of 600-650 comic-book stories in the course of my career, and the Jonah Hex series (*not* the Hex series) constituted the very best work I ever did in comics.

D@MD: Touching on the current run of Jonah Hex for a moment, DC has used some folks from the first run, Tony DeZuniga and Russ Heath in particular. If you were contacted to have any input for a story would you be interested?

MF: If I were contacted to produce another Jonah Hex story, I would respectfully decline. I had a lengthy run with Jonah and gave it my best shot. Let's let the new team take the new series wherever they feel it should go.

Sadly, Mr. Fleisher didn't send a response to this question:

D@MD: I really enjoyed "The Last Bounty Hunter" since it seemed like something that could really happen (quite often dead crooks would be displayed for viewing. I was really surprised when I read of Elmer McCurdy and how closely that story matched the end of Jonah and the following Secret Origins story when his corpse was discovered. Did you consciously use that storyline or was it something that sat in your subconscious?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #74

I love the fact that the pilot's training chart is touted on the exploding plane. Anyway, you can fight GLOBAL BATTLES!!! And take note:

Since they are harmless, nobody gets hurt in the GLOBAL BATTLES!!!