Monday, October 30, 2006

Weird Western Tales #32 "Bigfoot's War"

Weird Western Tales #32 Jan-Feb 1976
"Bigfoot's War"
Michael Fleisher, story - Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, art
The story opens in an undisclosed place & time. On a ranch a Mr. Haynes is seeing his grown daughter, Debbie, off to town for a shopping trip. She is going to be accompanied by two of the ranch hands when five Indians ride up and slaughter the ranch hands and abduct Debbie. When Haynes tries to stop them, he is clubbed unconscious.

The next day Jonah Hex rides up to the ranch. A young ranch hand, sitting and whittling, tells Jonah to keep riding, Mr. Haynes doesn't cotton to saddle tramps. Jonah dismounts, kicks the whittling from the boy's hands and tells him to notify Haynes that Jonah Hex has arrived, or else they'll spend the next year and a half putting him back together with baling wire & glue.

Haynes comes out and escorts Jonah inside. Haynes explains that the Paiutes have kidnapped his daughter & he is willing to pay $10,000 to get her back. Haynes shows Jonah a note left by "Crazy" Joe Bigfoot stating that unless they receive $100,000 by the day after tomorrow, they will kill Debbie. Jonah wonders why the Paiutes are picking on Haynes & he explains that he has had some land deals with them and some of the tribe are not happy with the details of the transaction. Haynes also offers Jonah $5,000 for the capture of Bigfoot alive, so Haynes can see that Bigfoot gets the kind of death he deserves.

Jonah tracks them through the day and finds a place where it appears that two riders dismounted. Jonah surmises that it could be either to give the ponies a rest or to set up an ambush. He was right on the second count for just then two of the Indians jump him from the rocks above. They demand the ransom money and when Jonah plays dumb, they say they will make an example of him to Haynes, as a warning. They club Jonah over the head, knocking him out (This is the fourth issue in a row where Jonah has been hit in the head. Somebody must be getting him confused with Hal Jordan).

Jonah wakes up hours later in a cave, tied hand and foot, and covered with honey. Slowly a grizzly bear walks into the cave and slaps Jonah. Jonah rolls with the attack and while the bear is licking Jonah blood from it's paws, Jonah grabs the knife he keeps in the back of his shirt collar. Holding the knife with his teeth, he cuts his hands free and then cuts the ropes on his feet.

Jonah pulls his shirt off and wraps it around his left forearm, as he once heard that a trapper did to fight a bear. Jonah rushes the bear, shoving his left arm into the bear's mouth and repeatedly stabbing the bear with the knife. Finally the bear dies and Jonah staggers out of the cave, scarred & bloody.

It is night and Bigfoot and his men are camped out. Bigfoot is offering Debbie food, but she refuses, saying that her father will make Bigfoot pay for this by killing him. Bigfoot gloats that his men have already taken care of her rescuer and that her father will pay the ransom. Debbie starts to insult Bigfoot, but he silences her with the back of his hand. Bigfoot tells Ke-Noh-Tay, one of his men, to take Debbie to the river to have her fetch water.

Jonah sneaks up behind the sentry watching over the camp & buries his knife into the Indian. He then puts on the Indian's Union uniform and walks into camp just as Debbie and her guard return. When Jonah gets into camp, Bigfoot realizes the masquerade, but it's too late. Jonah gets the draw on all the Indians ad is holding them at gunpoint. Debbie asks why Jonah isn't shooting and killing them. He explains that 'masacreeing' people in cold blood isn't in his line of work.

Debbie starts shouting that she has been held prisoner and had to haul water. Jonah notes that she doesn't appear to be any worse for the wear but Debbie grabs a knife and charges Bigfoot. Bigfoot grabs her wrist, twisting the knife from her hands and then holds it to her throat. He forces Jonah to drop his weapons and the last panel has Bigfoot holding his knife at Jonah's throat saying that Jonah's scalp will be on a coupstick. CONTINUED!!!

Statistics for the Issue
Men killed by Jonah - None, even though Jonah stabs the sentry, he appears next issue, so he wasn't killed.
Running Total - 90
Jonah's Injuries - Knocked out with a tomahawk
Timeline - Non determined.
A good issue for the first of a two-parter. You have some common elements with the spoiled kidnap victim, the semi-shady father's 'land deal', and the hostage screwing up the rescue. Lopez's artwork is not as gritty as DeZungia, Panaligan, or Molterini, but he has such a cinematic feel and his people are so realistic, it's almost like watching a movie. I'm always happy to see his work in any book.

Next Week - A tomahawk fight, a rescue, and the threat of flesh-eating ants!!

Weird Western Tales #31 "Gunfight at Wolverine"

Weird Western Tales #31 Nov-Dec 1975
"Gunfight at Wolverine"
Michael Fleisher, story - George Moliterni, art

This issue opens in June, 1875 (same year as last issue in Richmond, VA) with Jonah hex riding into Wolverine, Wyoming. As he rides past a large outdoor arena being built, he wonders why he friend Dave Prentice sent a telegram requesting Jonah come to Wolverine. Jonah & Dave fought together at Antietam and Dave is one of the fastest draws that Jonah as ever seen.
Jonah arrives in town and wonders who he should ask to locate Dave. He is riding past the sheriff’s office as six men stand outside, calling the sheriff out. Jonah notes that 6 vs 1 doesn't seem fair but he's not gonna get involved. Just then the sheriff comes out & it's Dave. Dave strolls slowly out and asks the men which one wants to be the first to get his head blown off. They laugh, pointing out that it's six to one. Jonah corrects them, saying it's six to two (and adds ",Skunk" for an extra measure).

The next scene is nicely written as Jonah & Dave discuss the telegram, the trouble Dave is in, how Dave will be with Jonah just as soon as he kills these men, Jonah taking note that one of them MIGHT get off a lucky shot, Dave letting Jonah taking first pick of which ones he wants to kill, and Jonah choosing "Big-Mouth over thar, an' Paul Bunyan over thar, an thet tall, ugly one over thar". The six men get pretty disgusted asking if they're gonna fight or stand there and talk everybody to death! Dave & Jonah draw, six shots are fired and the six men fall dead in the street. Dave compliments Jonah on his shooting and says that he wouldn't want to face-off against Jonah anytime soon. Jonah echoes the same sentiment regarding Dave.

As Jonah & Dave go to the livery to get Dave's horse, Dave explains that those men were part of Butch McCandless's gang. They've been trying to get revenge since Dave hung a couple of his boys for bank robbery. As they ride out to Dave's place to meet his wife & son, they catch up on the past 10 years. Jonah makes mention of the ongoing cough that Dave has to which Dave responds it's from smoking and not to worry.

Jonah asks why Dave sent for him & Dave says that he just wanted to see an old friend. As they pass the arena, Jonah asks why it's being built since it looks big enough to hold the whole town. Dave explains it's for a rodeo. When they get to Dave's house, he introduces his wife, Sandy, and son, Tommy. When Dave introduces Jonah, Sandy suddenly starts crying and runs inside.

Later, during dinner, Sandy apologizes for her behavior. Just then a Molotov cocktail crashes through the window, setting the house afire. Dave tells Tommy & Sandy to put out the flames while he and Jonah sneak down through a tunnel Dave dug in case of Indian attack.

Outside, two men have a string of bottles of kerosene, ready to throw at the house. As they ready to throw one on the roof, a bullet shatters the bottle and then all the other bottles, except two are shot as well. We hear Dave compliment Jonah on his shooting and says that he'll shoot the last two bottles. The two fire-bombers draw their pistols and are gunned down. Jonah notes that Dave missed the bottles. Dave spots two more men over by a hay bale. Jonah lights up the bottles and tosses over towards the hay. Dave shoots the bottles, setting the hay bale on fire and Jonah guns down the men as they flee for safety.

Dave and Jonah return to the house where the fire has been put out. Jonah helps Sandy clears the table and Sandy tells Jonah that Dave has tuberculosis and won't last the year. Dave is worried how She and Tommy will make due since being a small-town sheriff, Dave doesn’t earn much money. She tells Jonah that Dave has cooked up a wild scheme that will make lots of money by.... Dave loudly interrupts her and asks Jonah if he would like to go on nightly patrol with him.

As they ride into town, Dave asks Jonah what Sandy told him. Jonah said it was about some plan to make money and asks if Dave is planning on stealing anything. He simply replies, "Nope".

In town they encounter a local drunk, who takes note of Jonah's confederate coat and explains to Jonah what trash the Rebs were. Jonah sates that the war has been over a long time, but the drunk keeps railing. Finally the man charges Jonah who simply sidesteps and slaps him on the back of the head as he falls past into a horse trough. Dave fishes the drunk out and takes him to Jail.

Jonah is waiting for Dave to return and a blind man in a Union uniform comes up and asks Jonah if he has his ticket to the gunfight yet, only $5. The blind man explains that it's a fight to the death between Sheriff Prentice and Jonah Hex, the two fastest guns in the west. It won't be fixed, neither, because Prentice guarantees that unless one of them dies, all the money will be refunded. The blind man, tired of trying to sell the ticket, finally wanders off. Dave returns and Jonah mentions how insulted he is that he wasn’t properly invited to the gunfight. Dave starts to explain and Jonah is suddenly knocked unconscious from behind. Dave tells Jonah's attacker to help get Jonah over to the arena.

Later, Jonah staggers to his feet in the arena. It is crowded with the entire town and lit by kerosene lanterns and the first hint of sunrise is on the horizon. Dave is standing in the arena, facing Jonah. He apologizes for having to do this, but he's sold two thousand tickets at $5 each and he knew Jonah would never agree to do this. This is his only way of providing for his family and even if he loses the fight, he still wins. Jonah picks up his hat and turns to walk away, The crowd gets restless and starts booing. Dave warns Jonah that he'll shoot him in the back if he has to. Dave draws and we hear a shot ring out.

Jonah spins around and Dave is dead. Sandy is standing to the side with a smoking rifle. She says that she couldn't let him become a murderer for her sake and then she falls to the ground, cradling her dead husband in her arms. Jonah leaves the arena and the banker approaches Jonah with the ticket receipts. Jonah says that he'll take them out to Dave's place as he leaves town. Just then Butch McCandless arrives and forces Jonah to drop his gun belt. Butch is a little peeved about all the killing of his gang & will take the money to console himself. Jonah, with his guns on the ground and Butch holding two pistols on him, tells Butch that if he lets Jonah take the money to Prentice's family, Jonah will let Butch leave alive. Butch breaks out laughing until a knife is hurled into his chest. Jonah, standing over Butch's corpse, take the strongbox from the banker.

Out at Dave's place, Jonah gives the money to Sandy and Tommy. Tommy, crying, asks if Jonah outdrew his dad. Jonah states that no man alive coulda outdrawn his paw, he was the fastest.

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - 6
Running Total - 90
Jonah's injuries - Knocked unconscious
Timeline - Summer of 1875

This was a very enjoyable story. The interaction between Dave and Jonah sounded like two friends that hadn't seen each other in a long while, short questions, short answers, that fit these two men to a T. The little jabs and comments during the gunfights were priceless as well. Other nice bits included Jonah helping with the dishes and the blind ticket salesman. Finally, the irony of Sandy shooting her own husband to save Jonah was well done also. The death of Butch was the icing on the cake. And since Jonah DID have to face the possible wrath of the entire town, this issue did include Jonah vs Wolverine ... Wyoming.

Next Week: A kidnapping, Jonah fights a b'ar, and (I kid you not) Jonah Hex vs Bigfoot. No, really, Bigfoot.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Temporary Hiatus

I'll be out of town on business next week, so Weird Western #31 & #32 will be posted on Oct 31 and Pitchman-A-Go-Go & Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics will return in November. Have fun and don't start any memes without me.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics #14

Believe it or not, this appeared in a 1951 issue of Crack Western

"Relax, Spurs. If you clench up, it hurts a lot more."

But also in this issue was a story with Two-Gun Lil, so we have something for everyone.

Instructions for getting dressed:
* Hat? check.
* Boots? check.
* Horse? check.
* Rawhide skirt? check.
Guess I'm ready to hand those 'jaspers' over to the 'marshall'.

And because I'm so giving, I give these to you to play with.

Having been branded as a young buck, Brandon, besides never leaving the stable, is somewhat confused on issues of love.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #11

Continuing our ongoing non-series regarding girl oriented ads in comics, we present the accordian that comes with a lifetime supply of music.

From Lash LaRue, 1959.

Oh, I almost forgot -

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Last Suicide Squad briefing.... ever

Followed by a loud BANG!!!
This should put an end to the silliness.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Weird Western Tales #30 "The Trial

Weird Western Tales #30 Sept-Oct 1975
"The Trial"

Michael Fleisher, story - George Moliterini, art - Luis Domiguez, cover

WWT 30 is another pivot point in the Jonah Hex saga. First off, this was the month that DC started with a new format for its covers, trying to have a branded banner running across the top of the book. Back in the 70s, comics were sold in spinner racks and kids would just flip through the tops. Having this banner was a good idea in that it was easier & faster to find a DC book. It was a bad idea for a book like Weird Western Tales in that 40% of the cover was taken up with the title and the banner.

Next, this book continues with the aftermath of the Fort Charlotte massacre and has Jonah confront Turnbull for the first (& last?) time. Third, it starts the domino effect of bad or incorrect dates/timeline for Jonah. But enough of all that, let's get into the book.

The story starts in 1875 in Richmond, Virginia as Jonah rides into town, thinking that he needs to square things between himself and Quentin Turnbull. Jonah stops in a tavern and asks for whiskey. As he stands at the bar drinking a man at a nearby table shouts that he doesn't want to be in the same establishment with a Yankee turncoat. He continues ranting about how Jonah caused the death of many of his friends and he wants to have revenge on Jonah. The man's friend convinces him to leave the bar and eventually everyone leaves, including the owner. As the owner walks out the door, he tells Jonah that the whiskey is free but just bust the glass when he is done because the owner doesn't want real people to catch what Jonah has. Jonah broods for several minutes and finally shatters the mirror behind the bar with a well placed whiskey bottle.

Out at the Turnbull plantation, Solomon informs Turnbull that Jonah is in town and that "aftuh all the trials an' tribulations you done been through" Turnbull will get his revenge. Turnbull plans to get some men armed with shotguns but then gets a better idea, inspired by what Solomon said.

Later that night, as Jonah is resting outside his hotel, he is approached by a local lawman who informs Jonah that there is a matter of settlement for the broken mirror in the bar. As Jonah reaches in his pocket to pay for the damages, he is knocked out from behind. The "lawman" and the attacker bind him and haul him to a undisclosed barn.

When Jonah wakes up, he finds himself tied to a chair and in the middle of a 'courtroom' that has Quentin Turnbull as the judge and survivors of the Fort Charlotte massacre as the jury and witnesses. Jonah is being charged with treason against the Confederate States of America for betrayal of his comrades in January of 1863 (1). Man after man testifies about what they saw in Fort Charlotte and then they pronounce him guilty as charged.

Turnbull decrees that Jonah will have the buttons of his coat removed as a sign of disgrace, he will have a yellow stripe painted down his back as a sign of betrayal, and he will be shot at dawn by a firing squad. Turnbull then orders Jonah taken away because "the very sight of him makes me want to vomit". Jonah is lead away and as he is locked in a toolshed one of the guards kicks him in the stomach and throws Jonah inside.

In the toolshed, Jonah finds a pitchfork and manages to use the pitchfork to cut the rope holding his hands. He then lures the guard to the window in the door, grabbing the man by the throat and threatening to kill him unless he opens the door. The guard opens the door and Jonah slams the door into the guard, knocking him out. Jonah reaches to get the guards gun but just then Solomon arrives with a shotgun. As Solomon holds Jonah at gunpoint, Solomon says how much he regrets doing this. Jonah maintains his innocence but Turnbull arrives and takes the shotgun from Solomon.

Turnbull states that he is going to kill Jonah himself, but Solomon tries to reason with Turnbull about Jonah's innocence. As Turnbull gets ready to shoot, Jonah turns and grabs the pitchfork and uses it to deflect the shotgun. He then knocks the shotgun from Turnbull's hands. Turnbull states that Jonah should kill him now or else he will kill Jonah. Jonah wants to talk to Turnbull and he tosses the pitchfork aside. Turnbull rushes Jonah and as Jonah sidesteps out of the way, Turnbull trips and falls on the pitchfork. The last scene is of Jonah riding off as Solomon holds the dead body of Turnbull.

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - none, not one.
Running Total - 84
Jonah's injuries - Knocked out once and gut kicked once.
Timeline - When this was published, the timeline wasn't a problem, but in 1980 Jonah Hex #37 had Jonah meeting Stonewall Jackson and ultimately shooting him. Stonewall was shot by his own troops in May of 1863. But in this issue, Turnbull states that the massacre happened in January 1863, 4 months prior to Jacksons death.
Later on, 1875 itself becomes a problem when Fleisher starts a running continuity and places some major events in Jonah's life in 1875-1876. 

Overall, this story wasn't as great as the previous one. The stabbing of Turnbull was overly melodramatic and this story seemed a poor resolution to the Fort Charlotte Massacre/Turnbull revenge subplots.

Next Week: Jonah Hex vs. Wolverine!!!

My gift to Chris

Here ya go Chris, don't say I never got ya nuthin'. Batman getting two kicks to the head.

You're welcome
Detective #372

Amanda Waller, via Random Panels

Amanda Waller is a force of nature, which one hasn't been discovered, but she is a force of nature. When she briefs you, you listen, otherwise you will suffer.

and no one wants to suffer at the teeth of KnifeBiter!!!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics #13

I tried to write a post that would cover everything that happens prior to the scan below, but let's just hit the high points instead:
  • Mob Boss on a plane
  • Nuclear Bomb with an altimeter detonator on same plane
  • Gotham International built below sea level (?)
  • A Giant Squid
  • The Navy trying to kill Aquaman
  • Aquaman trying to kill Batman
  • Batman trying to kill everyone on the plane to save the mob boss.
  • Oh, the plane is on the ocean floor
  • and, of course, Bob Haney.

What more can you say? Oh, yeah. You might be able to say this as the Monarch of the Ocean rides off.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Kents, victims of the DCU

The Kents (1997-98, John Ostrander - writer, Tim Truman & Tom Mandrake - art) was a twelve issue miniseries that told the story of the Kent family in Kansas during the 1800's. The setup is that Jonathon Kent finds a trunk of letters & journals buried in his backyard in Smallville, Kansas. During the twelve issues he compiles the writings and sends copies of them to Clark, in Metropolis. The story starts in 1854 and ends up 40 years later in 1894.

During that time we are introduced to the bloody history of slavery in Kansas, the fight to create Kansas as either a free or a slave state, the Civil War, the relocation of various Indian tribes to Oklahoma, and the rise of the outlaws in Missouri. This is quite an undertaking, following the Kent family through Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma territory, and Texas. Does it work?

On one level, yes, but it does fail on another. In the introduction, Ostrander writes that he was wanting to write an epic western but he had to pitch it to DC in such a way that they would buy it. To do that he had to tie it into the DC Universe and that is where the story suffers. As a story about family writings found after many decades, this is an engrossing story. The family is woven into actual historical events and Ostrander has a good understanding of the political & social ramifications of historical events. I never thought about Clark, the recipient of the letters, as being Superman. This kept the story grounded in reality.

In issue #4 the story starts falling apart, well, not FALLING apart, but the first chink is knocked out of the mortar. Nathanial Kent is wounded & his half-breed friend takes care of him & wraps him in an Indian healing blanket. Yup, a blanket with a big snake on it, I mean, a big S on it. But then in issue #8, during 1864 Bill Hickok is relating a story that involves Jonah Hex. the problem?

Jonah is sporting a huge scar. We know that Jonah surrendered to Union forces in1863 so why would have shown up back on the side of the Confederacy? Well, (you say) maybe the story took place before he surrendered? Nope, we saw when he surrendered and he wasn't scarred then. We also know that Jonah was scarred in1866. Sure, Tim Truman may not be expected to research how a character looked at a particular time in history (cough), but I would have expected the Editor, Peter Tomasi, to at least check this out. This is the 'dumping ground' that I warned about. Lazy writers/artists/editors make dumb mistakes when trying to tie things in to the DCU without doing their homework.

Later on, the Kents run into Scalphunter as well as Matt Savage. This jars me back into the 'comic book' world and pretty much ruins the 'willing suspension of disbelief' that makes the story work. Then they drive the last nail into the coffin on the last page when we see Clark Kent, who we know is Superman, pondering that the Kents have finally 'reached the stars'.

It's sad that DC wouldn't have considered doing this mini-series without trying to cram the DC Universe into it (or vice versa). It's a good historical epic, just like Ostrander wanted, but cutesy meet-ups and tie-ins really undermine the effort. Could this have sold without the Kent/Superman hook? Probably not, and I think the comics industry is a little worse off because of that fact.

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #10

Here is another one for the ladies, & I do mean Ladies.

Yup, you lovely ladies can reduce just by sweating! While wearing Liefeld pumps to boot! But for some reason I keep thinking about Violet Beauregarde. I also keep wondering why this ad was in Indian Warriors?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Weird Western Tales #29 "Breakout at Fort Charlotte"

Weird Western Tales #29 July-Aug 1975
Breakout at Fort Charlotte"
Michael Fleisher- story, Noly Panaligan - art, Luis Domiguez - cover

There is no way that I can do this story justice, but I will try. If you are a Hex fan, you have to get a copy of this, either on ebay or in the Showcase Presents. It is that good, the artwork and layouts are that rich, the story is that pivotal in the Jonah Hex saga. I understand it will also be retold in the upcoming 3 parter in the new Jonah Hex series. But, I'm getting the cart before the horse. Let's get to the story.

The story starts with Jonah riding into Red Rock Texas, 1875. As Jonah dismounts a young man calls Jonah a Judas & a traitor and starts yelling at Hex about Fort Charlotte. He says that his dad died because of Jonah being a traitor. Jonah turns and walks away, leading his horse, but the young draws his pistol and fires. He misses Hex, but hits the bit on the horse's bridle. The bullet ricochets away but the horse, spooked, rears up and accidentally kicks Jonah in the head. The doc comes rushing out and gets Jonah into his office. There, Jonah starts crying out in a delirium and the story goes into a flashback.

Richmond, Virginia, Christmas Day, 1861. Jonah, unscarred, and his best friend Jeb ride up in front of a large plantation. The black butler calls for Mr. Turnbull to come out because Jeb Turnbull & Jonah are home. Jeb explains that he & Jonah are on a three day pass. They are welcomed into the home & they present Mr. Turnbull with a present, the Eagle-topped cane that we have seen previously. Jeb mentions that they took it off a Union General.

During dinner there is a discussion about how well the war is going. Jeb, full of bravado, exclaims that within three months, the Confederacy will have won its freedom. Jonah expresses doubts because it seems that for every Yankee he shoots, six more seem to pop up. Just then, one of Mr. Turnbull's men comes in, shouting that some of the slaves have gotten loose and started an uprising by setting the barn on fire. They all rush outside to see some of the hired hands and some loyal slaves shooting into the mob, trying to calm the riot. Suddenly one of the slaves rushes up behind Jonah, wielding a large club. Jeb shouts a warning & Jonah turns and shoots the slave dead.
Jeb shouts, "YAHOO! You got im, Jonah boy! Good shot!" Jonah appears remorseful at having killed the man and mumbles a short thanks. Mr Turnbull orders his son to forget about Jonah and to "get those rebellious darkies back to their sheds so we can resume our Christmas dinner".

The next day, Mr. Turnbull personally takes it upon himself to flog the leaders of the uprising. Jonah comments that maybe the slaves had been whipped enough, but Turnbull says that slaves are like children, requiring beating to understand their master's love for them. A day or so later, Jonah & Jeb are back on the front lines, fighting the Yankees.

January 1st, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation takes effect. Even though it was written on Sept 22nd of '62, this story shows Lincoln reading it on Jan 1 '63.

An undisclosed time later, Jonah & Jeb are talking over the campfire. Jonah explains that he can't continue to kill Yankees while they are fighting for men to be free, but he can't turn & fight against his friends. His only solution is to turn himself in to the Union & sit the war out in prison.

That night, Jonah appears in the bedroom of the commander of the nearby Fort Charlotte. The Commander thinks that the fort has been overtaken, but Jonah explains that he is surrendering to the top man at the fort. The commander questions Jonah as to the location of his unit, but Jonah explains that he alone is surrendering & will not divulge that information.

The commander calls for his orderly, a black soldier, & berates him for allowing Jonah to get into the bedroom. He tells the orderly tha Jonah can have free reign of the stockade area. Jonah, mentally notes that it seems like the black man has no real home in the North or the South. Later, the orderly comes in and explains that he found red clay on the hooves of Jonah's horse. That may lead them to where Jonah's platoon is camped. The commander orders that a platoon be sent out to check a nearby marsh.

That morning, Jonah's entire platoon is captured in their bedrolls and not one shot is fired. As they are being taken to Fort Charlotte, some of the men are already blaming Hex, calling him a "sneaky, nigger-lovin'..." before being threatened by Jeb. once they are all in the fort, the commander has Jonah brought out and publically thanks him for turning traitor on his friends. Jonah punches the commander, but the damage is done, his friends believe he has turned them in. Jonah is then locked in solitary confinement.

While in solitary confinement, Jonah locates a loose board that leads to a tunnel. The jailer brings Jonah's ration of bread & water, notices the loose board and then warns the captain. The captain is overjoyed because the fort doesn't have enough supplies to feed their own soldiers, much less dozens of prisoners. The captain orders gatlin guns placed around the perimeter, ready for a breakout.

Jonah climbs down the tunnel into the prisoner barracks. He hands out some guns he stole along with wire cutters, however only a few men of the thrity five escaping are able to escape alive. Jeb dies in Jonah's arms, begging to know if Jonah is guilty of the betrayal.
Jonah later hunts down the captain and kills him in revenge. Two weeks later when the news reaches Quentin Turnbull, he swears vengence upon Jonah for the death of Jeb.

The flashback ends as Jonah awakens. Jonah asks the doctor about the young man that shot at him. The doctor tells him that the young man is still waiting across the street. Jonah walks out and asks the man if he's ready for a showdown. The young man quickly pulls his gun and guns Jonah down before Hex can get a shot off. The doctor runs out & pronounces Jonah dead. The young man, having avenged his dad, rides slowly off. Once he is gone, Jonah gets up. The doc says that Jonah took an awful chance, letting the boy take a shot, but Jonah replies that a kid that wet behind the ears couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. He then rides off as well.

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - 2; Jonah shoots the captain and we see Jonah shoot a man in battle.
Running Total - 84
Jonah's Injuries - Kicked in the head by a horse and punched in the face.
Timeline - 1875 for the opening & closing and 1862-63 for the flashback. This is the beginning of some of the stickier points in Jonah's timeline. 1875 was a dumping ground for Michael Fleisher and it seemed that later on, when the Jonah Hex stories started having a continung storyline the 1875 stories that were told earlier were not shoehorned in. This was a western comic & people weren't paying attention to it. The errors, starting with issue #30, just kept coming.

Like I said earlier, this is probably one of the best & most pivotal stories in the Hex legend. Quentin Turnbull was a driving force in Jonah's life and that would come to a climax in the next issue.

Next Week: Disgrace, Cowardice, Yellow Paint, and Turnbull almost upchucks!!!

Note of thanks to Susan for spotting my error on the year Turnbull got the cane. It wasn't 1962 (or even 1862) it was 1861.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Weird Western Tales #17 "The Hangin' Woman"

Playing a little 'catch-up' and making up for being gone a week. Here is Weird Western Tales #17.

Weird Western Tales #17 April-May 1973
"The Hangin' Woman"
John Albano, Story - Tony DeZuniga, art

To say this one starts with a bang is to take the easy way out. A band of outlaws rob a bank and as they leave, they toss in some lit dynamite which explodes, killing at least 4 people inside. Then the caption text explains "Three savage desperados performing an unconscionable atrocity...and riding off without fear of being pursued and apprehended... for within some territories of the west lived men who preferred to live in fear and cowardice, thus allowing hordes of tyrannical thieves and murderers to plunder and kill whomever and whenever they chose."

Man, that is what I call fancy writing. I was beginning to think that I was gonna have to find a dictionary or something. But back to the story.

The local sheriff comes out to stop them, but all he gets is a lit stick of dynamite tossed his way. Now the call goes out that the bank has been robbed & the sheriff has been blown to hell & back. Jonah Hex is eating and the barkeep asks if Jonah is gonna do something about the robbery. Jonah warns him to shut up & keep the coffee coming.

When Jonah leaves the saloon, folks recognize him and ponder why he isn't taking any action. Some quietly voice that he is a coward.

As Jonah mounts up to leave town, a young boy, Ned, approaches him and explains that he is going to be a gunfighter just like Hex. By now the townspeople have surrounded Hex and are asking why he won't help them. Jonah starts to threaten the cowardly bunch when an old woman in a wheelchair makes her way through the crowd. She apologizes for the townspeople, and asks Jonah for help since she owns most of the town and the bank is hers as well. She is responsible for seeing that the money is returned and the thieves are hanged.

Jonah states that his rate is $100 each. She agrees and introduces herself as Judge Hatchet. She explains that she can probably give Jonah their route of escape & current hideout. He'll need to stop by her ranch. As she leaves, Ned explains that she's a hanging judge and that her sons are too busy burning & poisoning... An old man yells at Ned to be quiet and leave Jonah alone.

Jonah gets the info from Judge Hatchet and quickly locates Dynamite Delvin & his gang. Jonah subdues the lookout and then kills the man that comes out to relieve him of guard duty. Delvin & his men hear the shooting and see somebody hiding behind a tree. They toss out some dynamite and after the explosion they discover they have blown up their own guy.

Jonah then sneaks up behind Delvin and holds a pistol to his head. Delvin shout to his remaining two men to surrender or Hex will kill him. One of the guys decides to toss out some dynamite to kill Hex & Delvin both but as he opens the door to make the throw Jonah shoots him dead. As the body falls back into the cabin, the remaining thug is horrified to watch the dynamite bounce back into the cabin and have it's fuse touch a fuse running into a crate of dynamite. The whole shooting match blows up with Jonah & Delvin barely surviving.

Jonah brings Delvin back to Judge Hatchet where she quickly has her sons lynch him without a trial. Jonah returns the metal strongbox containing the bank money. Hatchet offers Jonah a job, but Jonah states that he'll only be in town two more days & then he's moving on.

Two days later, as Jonah is leaving, he hears some gunfire and finds a house on fire and hears a little girl crying. Jonah rushes into the burning farmhouse and rescues the little girl. The girl keeps asking about he dad, but Jonah keeps telling her that her daddy had to go away on a long trip. As Jonah rides off to take the little girl into town to her grandparents, we see her father's corpse hanging in a tree.

Back in town, Jonah drops off the girl with her grandparents. The grandpa said that he expected this to happen when his son wouldn't sell out to Judge Hatchet. She has made a business of running folks off their property and then selling everything at a high profit to folks back East. Grandpa then realizes that Ned, his grandson, will probably see the fire, find his dad, and then try to get vengeance on Judge Hatchet. Jonah heads off to find the boy.

Jonah goes back to the farmhouse and sees the body still in the tree, but a rifle that had been next to the tree is gone. Jonah heads to Judge Hatchet's to find one of her sons dead, one readying a noose, and the third standing over Ned with a whip. Judge Hatchet comments that Jonah is just in time to see another hanging. Jonah asks how often her sons have been killing boys and women but the Judge warns her sons against drawing on Hex.

Jonah chuckles, and turns to leave when the Hatchet boys draw. Jonah turns and fires, killing both and when Jonah tries to take Ned, Judge Hatchet pulls a pistol from under the blankets on her legs. Jonah swiftly kicks the wheelchair, knocking the pistol from her hands and sending her rolling backwards to a cliff. Jonah chases after her and grabs the chair just as it dumps the judge over the edge. The final page is one of the best I have ever seen and is straight out of the EC Irony Vault.

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - 4 members of the Delvin gang, Judge Hatchet & her two boys for a total of 7. Add in the hanging and explosions and the issue had at least 14 fatalities.
Running Total: 35

Jonah's Injuries - He was unscathed in this issue.
Timeline - Jonah is wearing the black hat with the striped band, placing this around 1867.

This story has several things to recommend it. DeZungia's art is great, again crossing panels. The story has two sets of villains and Jonah is wonderfully indifferent to the plight of the townspeople. He probably would have not bothered the Hatchets, but they picked on a kid and then they made it personal. I currently only own this in a digest reprint and will have to locate it in a full size copy.

Next Issue: An Indian kidnapping and .....a Werewolf?!?!?!

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #9

It's October and you know what that means...CHRISTMAS LISTS!!! So put this one on your list NOW & be the first on your block to cruise the street on this beautiful 1957 Schwinn.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Weird Western Tales #28 "Stagecoach to Oblivion"

Weird Western Tales #28 May-June 1975
"Stagecoach to Oblivion"
Michael Fleisher, story - George Moliterni, art.

The story starts in Green Rapids, Wyoming, 1874. A telegraph operator receives an important telegram. He rushes out to deliver it when he hears gunshots. In the street is a dead man and Jonah Hex reloading his pistol. The telegram is a job offer for Jonah from the Huddleston Downing Express Company, over in South Pass City.

Four days later, Jonah arrives in South Pass City just as the stage arrives with one of the drivers shot up by the Hauschel Gang. Jonah locates Mr. Preston, the man who sent the telegram. Preston explains that Huddleston Downing ships gold nuggets from the local mine over to Green River City but Jake Hauschel & his gang are constantly robbing the stage. Tomorrow they are shipping $135,000 by a secret route that only Preston and his clerk Sims is aware of.

Preston shows Jonah that he has had the coach reinforced with steel plating and demands that Jonah ride inside instead of alongside. Jonah takes the job.

That night, Sims, the clerk, shows up at the Hauschel hideout and delivers all the info on the shipment, route, guards, eveything, in exchange for 25%. As he turns to leave, Jake Hauschel shoots Sims in the back.

The next morning, Jonah is telling Preston that he hopes they don't regret letting Jonah see the route in advance. That proves to b true as the stagecoach comes up on "The Narrows", a half-mile stretch of road with cliffs towering over it on both sides. The pass is so narrow that the stage couldn't turn around if it had to. Just as the stage gets to the middle, the Haschel Gang starts firing from above, killing both drivers and all six horses.

Jonah and the men are pinned down in the stage. The other guards ar convinced they're safe because someone will come along and then go get help. Jonah decides to make a break for it. As he runs for shelter, Jonah is cut down in a barrage of gunfire. The Hauschel Gang then sends flaming kegs of kerosene down onto the stage, setting it afire. As the guards run out, they are shot dead in their tracks.

After the stage burns out, Jake and the boys gather the chest and ride off. Several hours later, Jonah stirs and realizes that he luckily had a bullet only craze his scalp. Manyhours later, Jonah arrives back in town on foot. As the doc is tending Jonah, Preston storms in, demanding to know what happened. Jonah mentions how the Gang knew the route. Preston mentions that Sims is missing. Jonah asks whose idea the "Narrows" was and Preston owns up to it, saying that it was the shortest & cheapest route. Jonah bad-mouths Preston and then leaves.

The next morning, Jonah is having breakfast at the saloon and he is approached by Cobb Wisner. Cobb's cousin is a member of the Hauschel Gang. Cobb tells Jonah tht he has heard the gang has almost a half million stashed away. Cobb says that he could tell Jonah where the hideout is and Jonah could kill them all and find the money. Jonah turns down Cobb's offer, saying that he doesn't want their blood money. Jonah heads out on his own to track down the Hauschel Gang.

As he starts closing in on them, he gets ambushed by two members of the gang who decide to "fix 'im up jus' lahk we done thet preacher ovuh in Tucson last year" and they tie Jonah to a cross made of saplings. They empty Jonah's canteen and leave him for dead.

Jonah eventually finds a narrow canyon archway and keeps slamming the ends of the crosspiece until it finally cracks but Jonah collapses from exhaustion.

That night, at the Hauschel hideout, Jake wakes up in the middle of the night and stabs his own lookout, returns to the cabin and shoots the remaining four members of his own gang. In the gunfight, Matt Borden (the cousin of Cobb Wisner), gets off a lucky shot and kills Jake. Wounded, Matt heads for town on horseback.

Jonah comes to and continues on to the hideout, only to find everybody dead and a trail of blood leading back to town. Meanwhile, in town, Matt comes riding in, shouting for help. Several townsfolk rush to his aid and start to take Matt to the doc's office. Just then Cobb shows up and demands that Matt tell them where the loot is hidden before they get him treatment. An arguement ensues and then Jonah comes riding up. Jonah comments that Cobb is pretty free with money that isn't his and then rides off to get a steak.

The townsfolks side with Cobb and refuse to let the Doc treat Matt until he reveals where the loot is hidden, but Matt then up & dies. The townspeople get angry at Cobb for dragging things out and losing their share of the treasure. They grab a rope and hang Cobb in the middle of town. A man comes running into the saloon where Jonah is eating and shouts out they are gonna hang Cobb. Everyone excitedly rushes out to watch the hanging, leaving Jonah alone, eating his steak.

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - One man seen dead in the street at the start of the story. The Hauschel gang was responsible for 12 men dead (including themselves)

Running Total - 82
Jonah's Injuries - Skull grazed by a bullet
Timeline - 1874, stated clearly at the beginning. A blurb at the end of the story explains that this story was true and the Hauschel gang's loot has never been found. I learned that South Pass City is real, but I couldn't locate any info on the Hauschel gang or a company called Huddleston Downing Express.

I didn't care for this issue very much, it was nice to see Jonah tied to real events, but has been done since and has been done better. At times the story almost seemed like one of the old westerns that Gold Key put out, with tons of text on the page (like when Jake kills his gang). George Moliterni's art is very good, lifelike and gritty with people having natural proportions and their clothes hanging like real cloth. George did a lot of work on Jonah and I always thought he was under-appreciated.

Next Week: Prison Break!! The truth about the Man with the Eagle-topped cane!! And the Emancipation Proclamation!!

Palmiotti and Gray - DORKS!!! UPDATED!!!!!

A couple of weeks ago there was some talk about a Jonah Hex story that was nixed by the DC editors. It would have placed Jonah as an ancestor of Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face). I ranted about it and warned:

Tying Jonah directly to the Dents and actually being an ancestor to one of the more famous villains is just a little too much to me. I can swallow the chance encounters, they really don’t alter either characters involved. So the Kents run into Jonah. Neither are worse for the wear. I can even take the slight reference to St. Roch in a recent Jonah Hex, but I think if do the Hex/Dent storyline a line may be crossed that will allow writers to take almost anything that happened in the 1870s and try to tie it to Jonah in an attempt to be clever. And then Jonah’s character will become a dumping ground for anything in “The Old West”. I don’t like it.

Well, I warned you folks & what really hacks me off, is that this 'dumping ground' moment was brought to us by the current writers of Jonah Hex. Thanks Palmiotti and Gray, thanks for trying to be cute and totally dorking up a Jonah Hex cameo.
UPDATE - Well, I posted a criticism of this on Gray's forum and he responded. Here is what he said:
That is an art error by Daniel Acuna. Jonah was supposed to be leading them BACK to Canyon DeChelly in 1868 not TO the reservation as depicted in the page layouts. I was very careful to make sure the timeline worked and we wanted to present Jonah was a friend to the Navajo, unfortunately production wise that didn't happen.

This isn't the first time that there has been an art error in a book and of course Jonah Hex #2 had an entire page flipped. Guess I should say that all is forgiven, even though I would like to see some sort of official correction, but how does one do that in a comic?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Weekly Wonderous Moment in Comics #10 (The lost episode)

Yup, I missed #10 about three weeks ago. I've always had trouble counting in base 10, probably because I have 12 fingers. hee hee.
Well, we've all marveled at various forms of gorillas both here and abroad, but I would like to put forth that there is an animal that is even more dangerous than any form of gorilla. I present....the fluffy bunny. Wait, I mean the UNDEAD fluffy bunny.

Yup the UNDEAD fluffy bunny decided to take on the Challengers of the Unknown. Good thing Red is an expert marksman and missed Rocky's arm when he pumped three rounds into the UNDEAD fluffy bunny. And if that wasn't bad enough....

Multi-Man has obviously been breeding this little darling for about..(Let's see, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, UNDEAD fluffy bunnies) 3 minutes. How effective IS the UNDEAD fluffy bunny? See for yourself.

No matter where the UNDEAD fluffy bunny latches on to you, your ENTIRE BODY TURNS BLUE!!!! Let's see one of your damn apes do THAT!