Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics #2

This Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics is brought to you by DC Presents #90 Feb 1986. Ahh, 1986, a year of big hair, radiation, big hair, torn shirts, big hair and the dreaded Supervillian combo of Torso Krak & Butt Fhamp.

I've read this book several times & for the life of me I can't figure out what Firestorm is:
1) Kraking on either himself or his suit and
2) What he is Kraking it ON!!

I won't even comment on the next panel. I guess THAT will teach Ronnie Raymond to mock Big Hair!!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #1

Welcome to Pitchman-A-Go-Go. Each Thursday I grab a comic, scan an ad and then wish we had shelled out the money, cut out the coupon and sent away for the wonders that awaited us.

This week- Tank Trap/Cannon Ball (1972). This is a great double ad that was for GAMES! Not just plastic figures, you got an actual games with actual EXPLODING pieces (either tanks or bridges depending on the game). Heck, even the word 'exploding' was exploding, so this must really really explode. Both games were shipped in 'handsome simulated book form' and the CannonBall game came with a 3 sq ft plastic play mat (so it was 1.5 ft by 1.5 ft. WOW!)

You could even order extra exploding pieces or even get 64 Cowboys and Indians on the Warpath. How could you NOT order this?

You have to love an ad that has Nazis and Confederates in it. There's so much action on this page it looks like the love child of Sgt. Rock & Jonah Hex.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Matching Dragoons Posting Schedule

How about we try to set up some sort of schedule, shall we? Seeing as how I don't get PAID to do this plus the fact that my daily hit rate is .025, here is the schedule until further notice:

Sunday: Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics. We grab a random comic from the collection and view the best/worst/weirdest bit we can find.
Monday: ----
Tuesday: Vintage Jonah Hex Recap. Starting in Weird Western Tales and running through Jonah Hex Vol 2, we recap the plot, post some scans, update the body count, track the injuries and try to cram the story into a meaningful timeline.
Wednesday: ----
Thursday: Pitchman-a-go-go. Everyone loves the ads in comics. The saddest part is that we can't buy the 2 man submarine anymore.
Friday: ----
Saturday:Various & Sundry Items Whatever doesn't fit on the other days.

I'm now commited to 3 days a week. Wheeeee.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics #1

How does Superman solve this problem?

"Hmmm, let's see. 'Every piece of metal for 3 blocks around', that means this block & 3 blocks east, 3 blocks west, 3 blocks north and...Great Rao! I'm starting to see a pattern!! 3 blocks south. That's 49 square blocks of Metropolis!! I'll run to a nearby art supplies store and then ..."

"... paint every piece of metal in those 49 square blocks with enamel paint! That'll really piss people off."

Yup, folks, the Metropolis Marvel, the man with a Super-brain, just SPRAYPAINTED everyones car. And that includes the windows!! And how does Superman deal with local law enforcement? Yup, he thinks snarky things about them behind their backs. Way to go last son of Krypton. Too bad Jor-El didn't put the smart offspring into the rocket instead of you.

This wonderous moment in comcs brought to you by World's Finest #213 1972

Sunday, July 16, 2006


A lot of folks like to blog about how weird the 50's were when it comes to comics, but this one from 1972 takes the cake. Here, folks, from Superman #249.

Not only has his X-ray vision been reversed, his eyeballs must have rotated 180 degrees as well. And I'm wondering how looking at your own brain can be more horrifying than, say, using your x-ray vision to watch Lois during work and have Perry White walk in front of you. That, my friends, is the billboard for Hell.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Weird Western Tales #16 "Grasshopper Courage"

Weird Western Tales #16 - Feb/Mar 1973
"Grasshopper Courage"
John Albano, story - Tony DeZuniga, art - Nick Cardy, cover.

Jonah's story is the backup feature with the lead story & cover being handled by El Diablo.

Jonah rides into town, asking about two men that might have ridden in. A fella reading a newspaper smarts off to Jonah & Jonah slowly walks up onto the porch & kicks the chair out from under the man. The guy starts threatening Jonah until he learns his identity and then politely answers Jonah's question.

Jonah walks down the street towards the barber shop where the men are. They come running out, guns blazing but Jonah dives to the ground, fires two shots & kills both of them. The sheriff shows up & levels his rifle at Jonah, who knocks it out of his hands and draws on him. Jonah explains who the dead men are and then goes to the hotel to get some sleep.

Meanwhile a bunch of townspeople gather to complain to the sheriff that he is doing nothing to stop the Scorth Donnigan gang. The shreiff explains that he needs a few deputies. The people aren't buying his excuse & give him 48 hours to bring that gang in or they will elect a new sheriff.

The next morning, Amy Gauwell, the shriff's fiance, tries to hire Jonah to help the Sheriff catch the Donnigan gang. Jonah will have none of it until Amy tells him she will pay $500 (that's about $7,000 in today's money). Jonah then happily takes the job. Jonah tags along with the sheriff.

A few hours later they ride up to an 'oasis' saloon and question the owner. The owner denies seeing anybody and after Jonah & the sheriff leave, the owner explains to his young son that you should never give information away for free. Jonah is standing in the doorway, overhears his confession of the lie and then throws the man through the front window & proceeds to hang him for lying. The man confesses that he has seen the Donnigan gang that day. Jonah & the sheriff track the gang down and Jonah shoots one dead. They both get into a heated gun battle with the gang & the sheriff gets shot.

Jonah sneaks up behind the rest of the gang and shoots the remaining three but ends up stuck in quicksand. The sheriff shows up and has Jonah drop his guns before he will rescue him. Once he rescues Jonah, the sheriff confesses to being in with the Donnigan gang. He takes the money and starts to ride off, mentioning a cute senorita south of the border that is waiting for him. Just then , one of the gang, with his dying breath, manages to shoot & kill the sheriff.

Jonah takes the bodies back to town & tells Amy that the sheriff's last thoughts were of her. No mention is made of the money, but Jonah is said to be heading for Mexico.

Stats in this issue

Men killed by Jonah

Shot ------- 6
Running Total: 28

Jonah's injuries

None, surprisingly


There is no mention of any dates, but Jonah is wearing the black hat he acquired in #14, so it is probably around 1867.

The story is good and DeZuniga's art literally seems to move all over the page. Almost every page has someone that can't be contained within the borders of each frame, the best page is here.
I'm not sure how often quicksand showed up in the old west, but it was pretty convienent this time. Jonah ends up tangling with quicksand years later down in Brazil.

Next Issue: Dynamite, shootings and wheelchair death!!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Weird Western Tales #14 "Killers Die Alone"

Weird Western Tales #14 – Oct/Nov 1972
"Killers Die Alone"
John Albano, storyTony DeZuniga, art

Jonah is camped out asleep when Iron Jaws, his wolf, attacks a rattlesnake and ends up getting bitten. Jonah takes the wolf to the nearest town, an hour away. Once there, he barges into a doctor’s office demanding that the doc look at the wolf. The doc explains that he is with a patient. Jonah gently sets down Iron Jaws, opens up the window and then tosses the patient out the window, broken legs, crutches and all.

The man hobbles to the nearby saloon and tells his friends, Dan & Butcher, that Jonah is in town. They wait outside the doc’s office and when Jonah leaves, they pistolwhip him and then drag him quite a distance out of town. The two men explain that they are avenging their brother’s death at the guns of Jonah. They then beat Jonah with a rifle and then lead him even farther out into the desert. They tie him spread-eagled in the sand and leave him to die alone. Dan comments that this is Butcher’s greatest fear.

Hours later, Ironjaws comes to Jonah’s rescue. Dragging himself across the desert, Ironjaws eventually chews through the ropes on Jonah’s right hand. Jonah then frees himself, but not before Ironjaws dies from exposure/thirst/snakebite. Jonah covers the wolf’s body with rocks and then heads back to town.

Once in town, he storms into the doc’s office demanding water, clothes & a gun. Once outfitted, he goes after Dan & Butcher, who have held up the express office, killed the stationmaster, & left town.

The next evening Jonah tracks down the pair & shoots Dan. As Butcher is trying to escape, he is attacked by a mountain lion. Butcher manages to shoot & kill the lion, but not before getting bitten. Butcher then surrenders to Jonah in order to be taken to a doctor. Jonah tells Butcher that it’s a four hour ride back to town & Butcher will be dead by then because the mountain lion was clearly rabid. Butcher then start begging Jonah to stay with him so he won’t die alone.

Jonah grabs the dead Dan, throws it on Butcher, telling him that his brother will keep him company. Jonah rides off as Butcher lies there pleading “…Hex… Hex…don’t leave me…”

Stats in this issue

Men killed by Jonah

Shot ---------1

Abandoned ---- 1

Running Total: 22

Jonah's injuries

Pistol whipped

Beaten with rifle


This story takes place between Jonah’s scarring in 1866 and WWT #19 that is stated as occurring in 1867. During this story Jonah takes a hat from the doctor. This hat is flat & black with a striped headband and it appears in issues #14, #16, & #19 (It may appear in 15, 17, & 18. I currently do not own those). In issue #20, he is once again wearing his normal gray hat.

This issue also contains “The Replacement” by John Albano and “Anachronism” by Don Kaar with art by Alex Toth. This last story is very nice in that the pages are landscape, you have to turn the book sideways to read it.

The Hex story is fair. Jonah doesn’t do a whole lot, the story is basically about Jonah & his relationship with the wolf. Personally, if that wolf can track Jonah across a desert, drag himself out there and then gnaw through the ropes before dying, Jonah needs to find someone that can raise that beast from the dead. How bas-ass would that be, Jonah with a zombie wolf?

This issue shows that Jonah will repay a kindness from an animal, but casually toss an injured man out a window. The ending seems kind of rushed but it still seems fitting that Jonah is heading off for a steak as a man dies. It also appears that he is giving up the bounty that would have been posted on Dan & Butcher. Also, leaving a man to die of rabies is pretty cold-hearted, but then tossing the rotting corpse of his brother on top of him? That gives me chills. I can imagine that the vultures would be lining up to that buffet. (The DC dept of health requests that you use a clean plate for seconds)

Some of the timing of the story seems rather awkward as well. At the opening of the story, Jonah is asleep for the night, an hour later in town, the doc is seeing a patient and the saloon is open. I’m not sure what time this is supposed to be, but “hours later” Jonah is in the desert & it appears that the sun is coming up. Once Jonah is tied down, the sun is high in the sky. When Jonah gets back to the docs house, it is dark once again.

Next Issue: a lying sheriff and a pit of quicksand

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Problems with a Jonah Hex timeline

Comics have an inherent problem. Time keeps moving forward and (usually) the characters don't. Charlie Brown & Peanuts are forever the same age and time barely moves except for the birth & aging of Linus, Sally & Rerun. Dilbert doesn't age, Dagwood & Blondie are eternal. Really, only Gasoline Alley & For Better or Worse have aged their characters in a real way. It's not too hard to do with comic strips, we read these every day. But comic books are printed monthly and one book may cover 5 minutes worth of time or several months.
If Superman is about 35 years old did he land on Earth in the 30's, 50's, or 70's? Superman's 'present day' keeps slipping as time in our world marches on, but he doesn't age. Superman, Batman, Spider-man are all ongoing series. But Jonah? Jonah Hex is a western that takes place in a particular time. He has a birth & a death, both given with dates. Some of his adventures can be placed on a timeline based on a historic event (the death of Stonewall Jackson) or by other references ("when I was 10 years old"), but most of them did not have dates assigned. If they did, they usually fell in 1874-1875. That would have been well & good except for one thing.
Mei Ling.
Yup, Jonah got married and while author Michael Fleisher didn't put a year on the wedding he did place 2 events close enough to cause a slight problem. In issue #50 of Jonah Hex Vol.1, Mei Ling decides to celebrate Jonah's 37th birthday. From other books and textual references, we can determine that Jonah was born in November of 1837. That means that Jonah Hex #50 takes place in November of 1874. The 42 issues after that, during which Jason, Mei Ling & Jonah's son, ages about 3 years, happen between December of '74 and the abduction of Hex to the future, which according to Secret Origins and a Who's Who reference, takes place in 1875. There is no way in heck that this can be true.
Part of the problem with the years can be easily explained by one small fact. Jonah has a November birthday (Nov 1st). Having a November birthday myself (4th) I can tell you that I was born in 1960, but in 1970 I was ten for only 2 months. So if a story of when Jonah was ten takes place during a summer month in 1848, that means that Jonah was born in 1837, he wouldn't be 10 in '48 until November. So despite Mr. Fleisher's other writings and the Who's Who entry, we can place Jonah's birth year at 1837. Jonah's death in 1904 at the the age of 66 (according to Who's Who & Jonah Hex Spectacular) would also place the year at 1837 (1904 - 1837 = 67, BUT he did not die during Nov/Dec, so he would be 66). We are faced with the error being in the year of Jonah's birth or all the other dated events are wrong. I decided to go with the birth year being wrong.

Having determined the year of Jonah Hex #50 and given the fact that the majority of the next 42 issues had some manner of continuity to them either in making reference to the marriage or involving people that Jonah met during the marriage (J.D. Hart, Emmylou Hartley), we can place them after November 1874. By then taking in all of the text captions ("The Next morning", "two weeks later"), plot references (Jonah jailed for 30 days, traveling to China & back for months), and visual clues (weather conditions (snow), age of Jonah's son, and seasonal indicators of planting & reaping crops) we can then place Jonah Hex #92, the last issue, as late as 1878. We know that it didn't occur in 1879 because issue #84 takes place during Mardi Gras (March) and Mardi Gras was canceled in 1879 due to yellow fever. The following eight issues have textual references covering about 40 days, there may have been some gaps between issues, but not enough to push Jonah's disappearance to 1879.
Soon I'll post a timeline placing some of the more important events in Jonah's life on a timeline with issue references. I currently have issues 50-92 of Jonah Hex cataloged and I have started on the Weird Western Tales books. I will also be keeping tabs on the number of folks Jonah has killed as well as his injuries.

Weird Western Tales #12 "Promise to a Princess"

Weird Western Tales #12 June-July 1972
"Promise to a Princess"
John Albano, story - Tony DeZuniga, art - Joe Kubert, cover.

Jonah is having breakfast when two gunmen walk into the saloon and threaten to shoot him. Jonah kills both of them without leaving his seat by shooting under the table. The townspeople, led by Mr. Craig, decide they have had enough of the dangerous Hex and plan on lynching him.

Just then a horse comes into town with a dead rider that has an arrow in his back. Jonah leaves town during the confusion. Now the townspeople have to decide what to do about the Indian problem.

The next day, while Jonah is bathing in a stream, Little Fawn, a Pawnee princess (who appears to be about 9 or 10), grabs Jonah's gun and kidnaps him. With the help of her wolf, Iron Jaws, she directs Jonah back to her tribes location. While they are crossing a bridge, the brigde breaks and Little Fawn accidentally shoots Jonah in the left shoulder. Jonah rescues her from the river and takes her back home.

At the tribe's village, Jonah learns that Mr. Craig has delivered blankets treated with small pox to the tribe. Craig is just waiting for the tribe to die. While Jonah & the chief are talking, Little Fawn faints from small pox. Jonah decides to find a doctor & get some medicine. While leaving the village, Jonah kills at least two of Craigs men that are watching the village.

It takes almost two days for Jonah to catch up with the doc, but he gets some medicine & goes back to the village. The entire village is dead but it's unclear if it is the work of the pox or Craig's men. Jonah finds Little Fawns body and then makes a vow over her grave that he will make Craig pay.

Jonah rides back to town to discover that the town is infected with small pox and that Craig is dying. Jonah gives Craig the medicine and just as Craig is about to drink it, Jonah shoots the bottle in Craig's hand, thus dooming him to die from the pox. Jonah gets on his horse, General, and takes Iron Jaw the wolf & leaves town.

Stats for the issue
Killed by Jonah:
Shot - 4
Doomed to die by smallpox - 1
Running Total: 17
Jonah's injuries:
Shot in left shoulder
Timeline: Since the Pawnee Indians were moved from Nebraska to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in 1874, this would be one of the earlier stories taking place between 1866 & 1874.

A good issue with Jonah showing compassion for the helpless and those being treated unfairly.There were several large panels in the artwork with two splash pages. He was pretty ruthless by allowing Craig to think he was saved and then destroying the medicine in front of him. The terrain didn't resemble Nebraska, but some folks don't bother to research where various Indian tribes lived. This issue also had an El Diablo story, a Bat Lash story, and a Pow-Wow Smith reprint.

Next Issue: The Prodigal Son goes absolutely stark raving bananas.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A quiet welcome

Here is the start of my foray into commenting on comic books and chronicling what is currently known about Jonah Hex. A few things that I hope to do here is:
  • Comment on what comics I buy/like/hate.
  • Look at some of my collection that dates back to the 50's.
  • Review the adventures of Jonah Hex within the pages of Weird Western Tales, Jonah Hex, Hex, Jonah Hex vol 2, and anywhere else the scar-faced man appears.
  • Create a viable timeline of Jonah's adventures.
Posting may only be 2 or 3 times a week & I'll try to be regular. Feel free to toss in comments & arguements.