Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jonah Hex #22 "Requiem for a Pack Rat!"

Jonah Hex #22 Mar 1979
"Requiem for a Pack Rat!"
Michael Fleisher, story - Vicente Alcazar, art - Luis Dominguez, cover

I missed my chance last issue. I could have touted this issue as "Jonah Kills Lobo!". Oh, well. The story starts off with Jonah leading a black crook, Lobo, to the gallows. Lobo is being hung a day early cuz the hanging man just has sooo many hangings in sooo many towns. Needless to say, Lobo is pissed and takes it out verbally on the town & Jonah Hex.

After the hanging, Jonah goes into a general store and encounters an elderly black man, Pack Rat Benson, a friend from way back. Pack Rat tells Jonah that he has finally hit a big gold strike and is working it with his wife, his father, two sons and a grandson. He invites Jonah back to the mine to stay for a few days.

They leave the store and another black man leaves the store, rides out of town and meets up with his two brothers. It is Diablo, Lobo's brother, and he meets up with his other two brothers, Nat & Rafer. They have this weird habit of referring to everyone as 'brother so & so', kinda how some folks in church do, but since these are evil brothers of an evil man, it sounds even weirder. Anyway, they are somewhat peeved that their brother was hung early since they had planned on springing him free during the hanging. They decide to hunt down Jonah Hex, kill him and then steal all of Pack Rat's gold.

Several hours later, Jonah & Pack Rat are riding along in Pack Rat's buckboard. Pack Rat shows Jonah a map outlining a watering hole about 7 miles away and then a whole lot farther on to the mine. Just then two shots hit Pack Rat in the chest and he pitches over backwards, breaking the back of the buckboard seat. The three evil brother show up, take the map, steal the horses and the wagon, take all the canteens, insult Jonah Hex right to his face, and then shoot him in the leg, breaking it in the process.

After they leave, Jonah grabs the broekn buckboard seatback, breaks it lengthwise and then sets his own leg. With his leg tied to one half of the board, he uses the other half for a crutch. With a passing reference to the upcoming US centennial and the Spirit of '76, Jonah Hex hobbles off across the desert.

Night falls and the three brothers make it to the mine. The family has been waiting for Pack Rat and are very surprised when the brothers burst in, slap them around, and then eat their dinner.

Jonah makes it to the watering hole, drinks up and passes out. The next morning Jonah wakes up just in time to see two Sioux warriors riding hard towards him. The first one is wielding a spear and Jonah manages to throw his knife right into the Indian's chest. He grabs the fallen Indian's quiver of arrows and manages to stab the horse the other Indian is riding, and in hand to hand combat (straight off the cover), he stabs the Indian with another arrow.

With one horse dead and the other run off, Jonah is once again faced with hobbling across the desert. He grabs a bow & quiver of arrows and then goes scooting on his rump down a mountainside.

Back at the mine, Diablo tells Rafer to take Pack Rat's sons to the mine and force them to dig the gold for them. Diablo tells Pack Rat's wife to go fetch some water from the well. She heads out but finds Jonah hiding behind the well. He pulls her down and when Nat goes out to check on her, Jonah pops up and shoots an arrow right into Nat, killing him.

Up at the mine, Rafer thinks he hears something and when he leaves the sons to check on it, he encounters Jonah, holding a stick of dynamite. Well, you can guess what happens.
Jonah now hobbles back down to the cabin, kicks open the door with his good leg and just as Diablo is about to shoot Jonah, Grandpa slaps Diablo with his cane. Jonah dives into the room, knocking Diablo into a table and overturning an oil lamp. The cabin catches fire and as they are fighting, the cabin collapses on Diablo.

Pack Rat's sons pull Grandpa & Jonah out of the fire and the story ends in a blaze of cabin-glory.

Statistics for this Issue
Men killed by Jonah - 5 (two Indians & the three brothers)
Running Total - 208
Jonah's Injuries - Broken leg from a rifle shot
Timeline - Nothing referring to any other Jonah Hex stories but the phrase 'upcoming centennial' and a reference to the "Spirit of '76" in between May 10, 1876 and July 4, 1876 since th epainting was exhibited at the World's Fair in Philadelphia that year. I would probably have to place this in June in order for Jonah to have learned of the painting, which was originally known as "Yankee Doodle" (I haven't been able to learn when it was renamed).

This story, character-wise seemed to be an apology for Fleisher's portrayal of Blacks back in WWT 22. All the major characters, both good & bad, are African American. After this issue I can't think of another where see other Blacks portrayed.

A fair issue, nothing really advancing the character of Jonah Hex, that will be forthcoming next issue.

Next Issue - More dynamite, more history, them damn Irish, and the introduction of Mei Ling.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Salesmen of Yesterday!! Mary Zimmerman

Mary Zimmerman from Wisconsin

I managed to track down Mary in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. It was fairly easy to track her down since she is living in the town she grew up in and, oddly enough, even though she is married she still has the same name.

Matching Dragoons: So, first off, Mary, what's with keeping your maiden name?
Mary Zimmerman: Well I didn't, I married a man that has the same last name as me.
MD: Uh... I have to ask. Is he any relation?
MZ: Nooooo, well, he wasn't before we married.
MD: Ok, I just wanted to check. So you met your husband...
MZ: Mary
MD: What?
MZ: His name is Mary.
MD: Wait, you, Mary Zimmerman, married a man named Mary Zimmerman?
MZ: Yes
MD: That's just too weird, but anyway, about your selling for the American Seed company you were quoted as saying, "It's an easy way to get money and prizes." What prizes did you earn?
MZ: That was a long time ago, but I think I got a record player, a camping tent, a Barbie, and a makeup mirror.
MD: Wow! You were quite the salesgirl!
MZ: And a sleeping bag, an air rifle, and a pony
MD: A PONY!?!? You actually got a pony?
MZ: I was the first person to actually sell enough to earn a pony. I was also the first person to earn a car.
MD: A CAR!?!?! My gosh Mary, how many packets of seeds did you sell?
MZ: I'm not sure, I think it was around half a million or so.
MD: I'm not even gonna ask how you managed that. So what do you do for a living now?
MZ: I'm a writer.
MD: Really? Do you write much?
MZ: Oh, tons. You may have read some of it. How about this "CanadianPharmacy will satisfy all you pharmaceutical needs."
MD: You're a spammer?
MZ: I call it viral marketing expert.
MD: Well, I won't say that I'm surprised.
MZ: Could you give me your email, I may remember more about working for American Seed.
MD: Oh, that's ok. I think I have all I need.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ok, it is now official...

...I just wet myself. Why? I saw this posted over at Newsarama.

A Jonah Hex action figure. Thank God it's not a Mini-mate

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm drawing a Blank (Buddy)

Okay, I'm out of town on business, so no Jonah Hex recap this week, but here is a little smile I got when I was searching for wifi at my hotel.

I don't see me trying to log on to the third one on that list, no matter what.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Jonah Hex sales numbers

Here is some news from The Beat regarding sales for Jonah Hex. There was a jump with the beginning of the origin, but it just didn't hold.

06/2006: Jonah Hex #8 — 21,006 (- 4.1%)
07/2006: Jonah Hex #9 — 20,385 (- 3.0%)
08/2006: Jonah Hex #10 — 19,772 (- 3.0%)
09/2006: Jonah Hex #11 — 18,957 (- 4.1%)
10/2006: Jonah Hex #12 — 18,299 (- 3.5%)
11/2006: Jonah Hex #13 — 18,747 (+ 2.5%)
12/2006: Jonah Hex #14 — 18,295 (- 2.4%)
01/2007: Jonah Hex #15 — 17,987 (- 1.7%)
02/2007: Jonah Hex #16 — 17,490 (- 2.8%)
03/2007: Jonah Hex #17 — 17,081 (- 2.3%)
04/2007: Jonah Hex #18 — 16,880 (- 1.2%)
05/2007: Jonah Hex #19 — 16,473 (- 2.4%)
06/2007: Jonah Hex #20 — 16,150 (- 2.0%)
6 months: -11.7%
1 year : -23.1%
Declining. Jonah Hex is now the lowest-selling ongoing DC Universe title that’s not been canceled yet.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Salesmen of Yesterday!! William Hanlin

Ahh, yes, the Salesmen of Yesterday!! Where are they now? What ARE the Salesmen of Yesterday? They are the young men & women that sent in a coupon on the back of a comic and started selling Grit, American Seeds, and various greeting cards, all for fabulous cash & prizes. BUT! Who WERE they and WHERE ARE THEY NOW!?!?!?!?!

But first, a little about one of the employers; American Seed Company. The current owners purchased American Seed 16 years ago and the lovely lady on the phone couldn't tell me when American stopped using comic book ads, but it is the same company. I never sold seeds for them (I sold Christmas cards) but who could resist this ad?

Look, you could earn a bike or a chemistry set or a girl's travel case or an air rifle. I'm all over that like fertilizer on seed! But what happened to the kids that sold these seeds for this great American company? I decided to find out. Up first:

William Hanlin from Missouri
Bill's testimonial appeared in Our Fighting Forces #99 Sept 1966. It appears that Bill was 10 so he would be about 50 today but where is he? I tracked Bill down and asked him a few questions:

Matching Dragoons: Is this William Hanlin, salesman & spokesman for American Seed?
William Hanlin: Who is this?
MD: This is Dwayne with the website Matching Dragoons. I'm doing a "where are they now?" segment on people that sold American Seeds. Your picture appeared on the back page of Our Fighting Forces in 1966.
WH: Listen, I support the troops, but the war was based on lies and we need to pull out now.
MD: Uhm, well, I'm really interested in your experience with the seeds...
WH: The seeds of global destruction have been sown by this administration for the past 8 years, starting with the theft of both elections and the enacting of the Patriot Act.
MD: I understand that, but I was wanting to talk about your experience selling seeds and your picture on the back of the comic.
WH: Who is this?
MD: I'm with the website Matching Dragoons.
WH: What is that, some sort of pro-gun lobbyist website? I pay taxes to have the police protect me and if everyone was armed, what kind of chaos do you think we would have?
MD: Oh, you misunderstood, the website is a blog about a scarred cowboy...
WH: Like the cowboy diplomacy that Bush has been shoving down our throats? I won't have any more of this. We need to pull out now.
MD: Mr. Hanlin, you were quoted back in 1966 saying "They sell as fast as I can show them." Was that true and were you referring to the seeds?
WH: Seeds? Seeds? Is this about that trumped up marijuana charge? I wasn't selling anything, I was holding those for a friend.
MD: Well it appears that I may have the wrong Bill Hanlin. One last question, what do you currently do for a living?
WH: I run a porn website.
MD: Thank you.
WH: You can run a link to it. It's
MD: >hangs up<

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Jonah Hex #21 "The Burying!"

Jonah Hex #21 Feb 1979
"The Burying!"
Michael Fleisher - story, Vicente Alcazar - art, Luis Domiguez - cover

The story starts 3 days ago with a casket being lowered into the grave of Woodson Hex, Jonah's wonderful, loving, caring father. Well, ya know what I mean. After the funeral, Jonah heads south towards Apache Forks and his not dead father (No, he's not a Zombie!) is up in a mountain cave digging up the $250,000 in gold Double Eagles that he stashed there previously.

Several days later, we see Woodson living it up buying drinks for everyone in the saloon and getting sweet on a blonde haired 'working girl'. She takes the drunken Woodson up to her room and on the way she signals to a trio of ne'er-do-wells. Once up in her room Woodson hears something out in the hall and realizes that he is about to be robbed. He bars the door with a chair, slaps the crap out of the woman and then hightails it out the window.

Once outside he runs down the street in the dark. As the three men chase him, Woodson finds an open window and crawls inside. He discovers that he is in a funeral home. He opens a casket, lifts up the body and puts the saddlebags holding the money in under the body. He crawls back out the window and is nabbed by the gunmen.

Zeke, Frank, & Red smack Woodson around a little, demanding the money. Woodson holds his secret until they place a gun barrel in his mouth. That's when Woodson lies, saying that Jonah took the loot south to Apache Forks. Zeke tells Red & Frank to take Woodson to the old mill. Zeke will get Ben & some others to go round up Jonah.

The next afternoon in Apache Forks, Jonah is getting a shave and a bootshine. The barber places a hot towel around Jonah's face and the front door swings open and three men are holding guns on Jonah. They say they have urgent business with Hex. Jonah asks the shoeshine boy how much they charge for a funeral in town. He says that it's $20.

Jonah tells him to fish $40 out of Jonah's coat and tell the undertaker to get ready for a twin burying. The shoeshine boy says that it would be $60, since there three men there. Just then Jonah jumps up, his face still covered with a towel, and guns down the three men. Jonah asks the barber if he knew the men. The barber replies that he doesn't & why should he. Jonah says that as bad as the barber is, he thought they were past customers looking for a refund. Jonah tips the kid a buck and leaves.

Outside, Zeke and Ben watch Jonah leave and start reworking their plan.
Later, Jonah is eating supper when the shoeshine boy comes running in, saying that his mom has been trampled by a horse and he needs Jonah to help. Jonah follows the boy and asks why he didn't get the doc. The boy says that the doc won't work on colored folks and leads Jonah into a barn where Zeke & Ben mistake Jonah for Hal Jordan and hit in on the head with a 2x4. They tip the kid $5 for leading Jonah into their trap. Then they realize that the kid could id them. They pistol whip the boy and take back the $5.

When Jonah comes to, Zeke starts demanding to know where the money is. Jonah has no idea what they are talking about. A crowbar to the gut brings no revelation to Jonah. Zeke demands again to know where the money is that Jonah & Woodson stole. Jonah calls him crazy since his father is dead. The crowbar comes crashing down on his left shoulder and the back of his head.

Jonah comes to finding himself tied, along with Woodson, to a waterwheel. They have been tied with rawhide and once the rawhide gets wet & shrinks, they will choke to death. Whenever they want to divulge the location of the gold, Zeke will set them free. But....but...rawhide stretches when it gets wet, right?

The crooks leave and Jonah & Woodson start turning slowly on the wheel. Jonah is pretty peeved that he paid for a funeral and the least that Woodson could have done is actually die. Jonah realizes how he was tricked and Woodson starts pleading for Jonah to save them both. Jonah tells Woodson to get the knife in the back of Jonah's shirt and cut them free. That is how they both manage to escape.

Inside the mill, there are four other guys with Zeke playing poker when suddenly Jonah & Woodson bust down the door, Jonah with some rope & Woodson with a shotgun. Jonah tells his dad to keep them covered while he ties them up. Woodson tells Jonah to cover them himself, he has a funeral to attend. Woodson turns and runs out the door, taking the shotgun with him.

Zeke & his buddies see their chance and draw on Jonah, but Hex guns down all five of them. Jonah grabs a rifle and runs outside, drawing a bead on his own dad. Jonah demands to know where the money is at. Woodson explains the situation and offers to split with Jonah. Jonah declines, stating that the money still belongs to the stage line.
They arrive in town just in time to see a funeral procession containing the casket that Woodson has hidden the gold in. Jonah is all for riding in, ripping open the coffin and getting the goods. Woodson berates Jonah for not respecting the dead, they can dig it up later. But Woodson is really planning on busting Jonah on the noggin again and making off with the money.

The two follow the funeral procession out of town up to an old mine. A local explains that old Deke Simms and his burro worked that mine for 40 years and wanted to be buried in the mine. The pallbearers tote the box in and then they dynamite the mine to seal old Deke in forever.

Woodson just stares open mouthed and then asks Jonah which way he's gonna be headin'. Jonah says he'll head North. Woodson says he'll probably ride South and they both part ways.

Statistics for this issue:
Men killed by Jonah: 8
Running Total - 203
Jonah's Injuries - Hit on the head twice, a crowbar to the gut and to the shoulder.
Timeline - This takes place several days after the prior issue, but there is a reference to Jonah having recently obtained his matching dragoons, so this is in continuity behind the Amazon story and with the prior issues mention of Jonah being sold to Apaches almost 25 years earlier puts this in 1875.

All in all, a pretty good issue, even with the Ocean's 11 (the original) ending (which I like a lot). Jonah's dad really is an evil man and didn't sway from that one bit. I also enjoyed how the water torture was depicted, it seemed like that water wheel was moving niiiice & slooooow. I have to give kudos to Fleisher for having the guts to have Jonah & his dad reunite and have his dad stay the mean-hearted sonuvabitch that he appears to be. Rumor is that Woodson will be popping up in the new series as well. I also enjoyed the cover with the gun barrels pointing away from the reader & the outlaws reflected in the glass, a nice effect that would be very hard to accomplish in a film.

Next Issue: Hex has some dynamite, a bow & arrow, and a busted leg. Yup, he's STILL dangerous!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Details & improvements

Well, I have gone through all the posts and I now have a running total on the Jonah Hex Body Count, found at the bottom of each post. I have also made changes so that each issue will lead to the next. The Christmas Special won't be placed into the Body Count until we finally hit the 1980's (we're currently in 1979).

I'm also going to be revamping the Injury List, hopefully with a clickable version of Jonah where you can see each and every injury and the issue that it occured (a lofty ambition, I know).

I have also found a few postings devoid of scans (back in the big 'puter crash) that I will be posting scans for.

And I'm still working on the Timeline.