Monday, March 17, 2014

Uncle Scrooge musical?

Besides Jonah Hex, the comic character I enjoy most has to be Uncle Scrooge McDuck. Some time ago I read on Comics Alliance about a Finnish group actually writing a rock Symphony based on Scrooge McDuck. CA posted this video

and I did a little more digging and found this interview with Rosa as well as with the head of the band

Don't know that I have ever purchased a Finnish Rock Symphony, but you can bet I will be giving this one a listen. Hopefully, they'll only charge me 3 cents an hour to listen to it (In honor of the great duck himself)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jonah Hex: Two-Gun Mojo #5 "Showdown"

Jonah Hex: Two-Gun Mojo #5 Oct 1993

Joe E. Lansdale, story - Tim Truman and Sam Glanzman, art and cover

Well, after quite some time (and a little prompting from a certain fangirl) I decided that I HAVE to finish this series, along with the rest of the Vertigo Hex.  If you need a recap, you can read
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Okay, up to speed? Good. When we last left Jonah, he was in a huge depression in the desert with some soldiers that had been escorting Doc Williams and his band of goons. Now everybody is pinned down by a bunch of rampaging Apaches.

The story starts off with a young Apache child, clutching to a doll, smiling as his dad rubs his head and walks away... to kill all those people in the desert. The Apaches have our 'heroes' pinned down and it is pretty much a shooting gallery with a lot of internal exposition by Jonah himself. Zombie Wild Bill Hickok is standing tall and proud, pulling the triggers endlessly on his six-shooters. Of course, once he is out of bullets, he is pretty ineffectual until Jonah shouts at him to reload. This he does, and starts shooting again.

Eventually there is a lull in the attack and we get to meet the Sarge in charge of this cavalry. The Sarge explains that his men were escorting Williams and his band to protect them from Indians (how THAT came about, we don't learn). Sarge says that without Hex's fine shooting and that strange fella who never misses (except when he runs out of bullets), they would have been goners.

The sun starts to set and Sarge asks if Jonah knows Doc and the freaks. Jonah replies that they were in the church choir together and later they're gonna have a come-to-Jesus- meeting. Sarge says that he would appreciate they hold off on getting religion until AFTER they get out of this hole. As it starts to get dark, smoke rises from beyond a nearby ridge as the Apaches start cooking up the fallen horses of the cavalry. Sarge offers Jonah some chaw and then tries to catch some sleep.

Jonah heads over to talk to Doc (who is taking a dump with Wild Bill wiping Doc's bum). Jonah asks if Doc remembers him and the crazy doctor says that he must be hallucinating, he saw Hex go into the river. Jonah  replies that he has a strong stomach and that if the Apaches don't finish off the Doc, Jonah will and since he doesn't know if this band of freaks is alive or dead, he'll teach them dead one more time just to be sure.

Night falls, and under cover of darkness (I always wanted to use that line), the Apache move in. As the Indians get to edge of the hole, gunfire erupts and as the clouds pull away from the moon, we find Doc Williams in his repaired wagon with Stringbean and the Fat Lady pulling it away, Wild Bill shooting out the back and Pumpkin Dwarf trying to repair a wheel.

As the wagon pulls away into the inky blackness, the Apaches close in on the remaining men in the hole. It devolves into hand to hand combat and Jonah and the Sarge manage to make their way out of the hole and onto higher ground. Hex shoots and Indian off his horse and jumps aboard. The Sarge says that he can't leave his command but Jonah reminds him that his command are all dead.

Seeing things in a new light, the Sarge jumps on behind Jonah but manages to get shot in the posterior in the process. They ride until the horse collapses, sometime into the morning, and they are holed up behind some rocks. However, the dust on the horizon indicate that the Apache are closing in. Sarge tells Jonah to leave him but Jonah won't hear of it. Then the Sarge forces Jonah's hand by taking his own life at the end of his pistol.

Jonah realizes that time is short but his horse is almost played out, so he lights a saddle blanket on fire and when it is full ablaze, he swings it underneath the horse to get it up and running. Throughout the rest of the day, Jonah rides the faltering stallion until it finally collapses, dead in the heat. Jonah, near death himself, slices open the horses neck and drinks its blood for sustenance.

Now on foot, what distance he had between himself and the Apaches starts to fade. Finally Jonah comes across Doc Williams Wagon of Miracle and the body of Stringbean. He continues on, seeing some smoke over the ridge and when he makes his way through the rocks he finds...

Here is where I threw up my hands with this series. I understand now that this was supposed to be a horror comic with Jonah wedged inside and I get how Vertigo is all edgy and harsh-toned, but this pushed me over the line.

Jonah finds.... Pumpkin Tom, dead, hanging upside down from a tree over the camp of Doc Williams. Zombie Bill stands by the fire as the Doc tends to the roasting torso of the Fat Lady. We even get to watch the good Doc slice off a piece and bite into it with his fanged teeth.

Hex breaks in to the little 'party' and the Doc orders Hickok to gun down Hex. What transpires next is probably the best dang part of all five issues as the red soulless eyes of Zombie Hickok stare into the brown soulless eyes of Jonah Hex and finally both men fire.

 Hex, however literally bends over backwards as Hickok's bullets sail over his head and Jonah returns fire, right square into the zombie's eyes. That, however, isn't enough to stop Hickok as he continues the pull the triggers on both pistols until he finally topples over dead... for the second time.

Doc Williams falls to the ground, begging for his life. Jonah states that he won't kill the Doc, he will let the Apaches do that work. Jonah calmly aims his pistol and blows away one of the Doc's kneecaps. Doc starts crying that Jonah promised not to kill him. Jonah replies that he is just helping out the Apache and then shoots out the other kneecap.

Jonah reminds the Doc that since the Apache have a live victim, his death will probably last 3-4 days tops and then Jonah sneaks off into the hills. The Apache advance slowly until they realize how helpless their quarry actually is and then they descend quickly, with years of pent-up hate driving them forward.

Quite some time later Hex is in a saloon, quietly drinking a toast to the dead Doctor. A couple of men at a nearby table recognize Hex and decide to collect the reward being offered in in Texas. As they easily advance upon him, Jonah suddenly pivots on his heal and shoots both men dead. Jonah lights his cigar, asks "Anyone else?" and upon receiving several negative responses, exits the saloon and rides off.

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed By Jonah - Wow, this is gonna be a hard one. There were soooo many Apache, so let's tally up how many shots we see fired and the actual dying Indians. I count about 16. This is my blog, so I go with 16. Plus the two guys in the saloon will make the total 18.
Running Total 627 (432 past, 55 future, 33 Vertigo, 117 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - None
Timeline - This issue covers several days.

Once again, this is a Vertigo title, so they do their best to be 'edgy' showing us people defecating and then actually eating the roasting torso of a dead woman. That is the main reason I discount these stories so much. They are too over the top just for the sake of trying to be over the top. Bleh, I don't need that junk.

I did like the story with the odd alliance in the hole, Jonah's relationship with the Sarge and the final showdown between Jonah and Hickok.

Rereading this story made me realize that Neveldine & Taylor, those two men who got paid for the Jonah Hex movie script, were influenced by the Lansdale Hex rather than the Fleisher Hex. They even had a scene from this book in their script (Waving a burning blanket under the horse).

Well, I made it through and I have to admit, it was easier than a colonoscopy. With that said, I think I will jump into the second Vertigo series because I think there are some hidden gems in there to be mined.

I will also continue on with Volume two of Jonah Hex as well. I need to get cracking to catch up with the current series.

Next: I realize that I skipped issue 18, so I head back and face the bear.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Jonah Hex V2 #19 "Texas Money"

Jonah Hex #19 V2 Jul '07

"Texas Money"
Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, story - Phil Noto, art and cover

Looking For A Bad Man Texas, Jonah rides into town and finds a large ring of folks surrounding a big burly man who is wielding a knife. Jonah asks what is going on and one man replies that it's a Mexican Tug of War. The man with the knife is calling everyone all kinds of names for coward. Hex asks one guy if he is going to take up the challenge of a fight. The man declines and Hex replies that the man in the circle has everyone bluffed. Hex grabs his tomahawk and enters the ring, demanding an explanation. The man explains that he works for another man looking to hire someone with enough sand to do a difficult job.

A Deal is Struck - Jonah is led into a nearby saloon and introduced to the owner, Mr. Parks. Jonah asks for the details and Parks starts in on a long winded story. Jonah asks if he is going to get to the point. Parks declares that he is not one to be talked to in such a manner. Hex starts to walk out saying to send for him when the stories are over. Parks says that he needs some men found and killed.

Jonah asks how much. Parks replies with three thousand in gold. Two of his nephews were kidnapped. Jonah is surprised that THAT amount of money wasn't enough to stir any of the townsfolk into action. Parks explains that he does have men working for him that could do it, but they are conducting other business for him. He has been expecting a ransom note, but none has been forthcoming.

Hex smells something wrong and asks how long the nephews have been gone. Three days. Jonah asks for a list of Parks enemies. Parks is taken aback at the accusation but Jonah insists that a man as powerful as Parks has made at least a few enemies. Parks admits that he has used his money to smooth over some infractions that the nephews have instigated. Hex takes his leave and Parks offers the aide of his man, Hector (the knife guy). Hex declines and leaves.

Madam Blood's Treasure - Kansas, one month later. Madam Blood helps a cowboy named Tom Leverlock into her bedroom. He is boasting of several things, his rich zinc find, his way with the women, and how handsome he is. While she distracts him with her feminine wiles, she pulls a small derringer and shoots him in the head, taking all of his money.

As she is going through the dead man's pockets, one of her girls walks into the room. Madam Blood pitches a fit and fires the girl on the spot. She then yells downstairs for Samson, her huge mentally handicapped flunky. She orders him to dispose of the body in the abandoned Creedis mine with the others and to be sure to go out the back.

The fired callgirl is standing outside and watches everything that Samson does. After some inner reflection, she goes directly to the sheriff's office.

We cut to the inside of a mine. Hex, the sheriff, a few deputies, and a handcuffed Samson are looking at the decomposing bodies. The sheriff states that Blood has been doing this for years and it appears that over twenty men have fallen victim to her. They were able to locate the mine with Samson's aid. The sheriff hands over a wanted poster for Blood and Hex says that he'll take the job, but first they have to wrap up their other business, then he'll be heading back to Texas.

Pay Attention To Details - Texas, one month later. Hex rides into the Texas town pulling a wagon with two coffins. Parks comes out and demands to see inside. Hex demands his money. Hector opens the coffins and Parks said that the deal for the money was that Hex bring in the men responsible for this. Hex explains only one man is responsible for what Parks sees, Hex himself.

Parks is stunned and demands to know who Hex is. Hector, along with several men in the shade of a nearby building explain that he is Jonah Hex, a bounty hunter, cold-blooded Confederate, and Apache raised abomination.

Hex demands his money. Parks wants to know why he should pay the man that killed his nephews. Jonah states that the state of Kansas killed the nephews after a fair trial and it took a little bit of extra work (of which Parks will pay more for) to get the bodies out of Kansas. Parks pulls a pistol and Jonah grabs Parks windpipe.

Hector and the men by the building pull their weapons and tell Hex to let go. Jonah demands his money. Hector tells Parks to pay Hex and Parks shouts that he will pay THEM the three thousand to kill Hex. Hector states that money does the dead no good.

Parks gets the money and pays Hex and then Jonah rides off. Parks tells Hector that he wants revenge on Hex and Hector strikes a deal. If he gets cut in as a full partner in all of Parks dealings, then he is on the job.

Blood runs Cold - The Oklahoma, three weeks later. I'm assuming they mean the Oklahoma territory. Jonah rides into town, locates the nearest woman and says that he is looking for a woman. She says that SHE is a woman and Jonah shows her the wanted poster. The woman says that Blood came into town a week ago, set up in the Rio, and run off a couple of girls working there. Nobody would miss Blood if she was to be gone. Hex tosses her some money and tells her to take the night off.

As Jonah approaches the Rio, he is approached in turn by one of the workers. He shrugs her off and goes inside. He flashes the wanted poster and Blood sees him from the upper floor railing. She shouts for her goons to kill Hex and as the gunfight breaks out, everyone scatters and Jonah tosses a Molotov cocktail across the room, lighting up the place like the Fourth of July. 

With Bloods men shot or running away, Jonah walks through the burning building and heads up the stairs. He spies Blood attempting to escape across the porch roof and he shoots her in the leg, pitching her off the roof and into a horse trough. He holds her under water until she cools off.

Public Service Free of Charge - Hex and Blood are in a mine and Blood is tied up. Blood says that she has gold hid, a lot more than what Hex will get paid for bringing her in, and Hex is SUPPOSED to bring her in. Jonah replies that he got Texas money just this week.

Blood starts screaming that he can't leave her to starve. What did she ever do to him? Jonah replies:

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed By Jonah - 4. Three of Blood's men and Blood herself
Running Total 621 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 129 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - None
Timeline - This issue covers a few months and has to take place around 1890.
Rape Percentage - 37% (7 out of 19) 

This issue was pretty good. So good, in fact, that it was made into a DC Showcase cartoon that followed the Madam Blood storyline. 

The 1890 time is from the fact that Oklahoma became a territory in 1890. It was called Oklahoma prior to that, but it was mostly referred to as The Unassigned Lands. In 1879 it was illegal to reside within the borders of the Unassigned Lands and after a long battle, Land Runs were set up and folks started settling in 1889. So I'm sticking with 1890 or thereabouts.

I do enjoy Noto's work, but some of stuff seems so machine-like. The wallpaper in Parks office and the lettering on building signs has that 'nice' computer generated feel to it. Bleh. Also, some of the folks in the book all look the same, only distinguishable by facial hair. Heck, half the time I couldn't tell that Hector was Hector.

So I give the story higher marks than the artwork. Also, re-reading this issue, I noticed a joke that Jonah made prior to entering the brothel in Oklahoma. It's subtly and a little too tasteless for me to explain here. I'm  ashamed of a couple of things. First, that I understood it and second, that I didn't get it until rereading it six years later.

Next - Vultures, Wolves, and the return of......