Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #21

You want to fly planes so huge that they don't fit in the page frame? Just $5.00

Of course these are made of 'sturdy expanded polystyrene', aka Styrofoam. And by 'actually flies' we mean 'after you throw it, it is airborne until it hits the ground. Just like a rock "flies"'

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jonah Hex #35 "The Fort Charlotte Brigade!"

Jonah Hex #35 April 1980
"The Fort Charlotte Brigade"
Michael Fleisher, story - Dick Ayers & Luis Dominguez, art- Luis Dominguez, cover

Judging by the cactus, Jonah is riding across Arizona looking for the Carley brothers who have robbed the Santa Fe Bank. Little does he realize, two of the brothers are high up in the cliffs, laying an ambush for him. Two of the brothers are ready to gun Jonah down as he rides into a narrow canyon, but suddenly Jonah walks up behind them and tells them to surrender. They both aim their rifles at Jonah, telling him to put his hands up. As Jonah raises his right hand, he grabs his knife in the back of his coat and buries it in the chest of one of the Carleys. The other brother surrenders and Jonah tells him that since he is shaking so much, he should put on Jonah's coat.

On the other side of the canyon, the third Carley brother is waiting for Jonah to come along. Just then he spots Jonah riding straight up the middle of the canyon and the brother opens up, knocking the rider from the horse. He celebrates and then runs down to the corpse, only to find it is his brother, bound to the saddle, gagged and dressed up to look like Jonah. He has killed his own brother. Jonah gets the drop on him too and the next morning he takes the two corpses and one survivor on into Painted Butte, Texas.

Calendars and geography are not the strong suit in DC westerns. Saguaro cactus are found in SE California, southern Arizona, and NW Mexico. The bank is robbed in Santa Fe (N NM), Jonah captures them amongst the saguaro cactus and then takes them clear across AZ & halfway across NM and into TX (about a 400 mile trip) ...the next morning. My head just exploded. And we haven't gotten to the fun part.

Jonah rides into town and steps into the sheriff's office. An elderly man sitting on a porch sees, Jonah, jumps up and runs into the telegraph office. Next we are in the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, where a man with an eagle-topped cane receives a telegram from his servant Solomon. We know this is Quentin Turnbull, but are not allowed to see his face in order to add mystery for new readers. Turnbull states that the news of Hex in Texas is welcome news and it is just in time for tonight's meeting of the Fort Charlotte Brigade.

That evening, Turnbull and Solomon head toward an old barn filled with about a dozen men in confederate uniforms. Once Turnbull enters, they repeat their solemn vow "Long Live Jefferson Davis and the Old Confederacy and Death to Jonah Hex!"

We then get an 8 page recap of the Fort Charlotte Massacre. However, the black orderly is now white and the Captain has a full head of hair and full mustache. At the end of the recap it is stated "Of the three dozen Confederate prisoners who took part in the ill-fated Fort Charlotte breakout that day, only a handful escaped alive." (emphasis added). Looking at the picture, I can count 13 people. Granted, some of those may have died from their wounds, but then we have a dozen men or so in the barn. I will be gracious and say that some of the men in the barn may be sons, brothers, or fathers of the deceased (not unlike Turnbull). There is no clear way to get an accurate account of the survivors of the massacre.

Anyway, Turnbull announces that Hex is in Texas and they all swear to ride out there and have their vengeance. To be continued...

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - 2
Running Total - 263
Jonah's injuries - none
Timeline - No real way to tell, but it appears to take place after the last run in with Turnbull so this is probably around 1878?

Next Issue: Jonah Hex, a hooker, and explosives. What more do you want?!?!?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #58

Capt. "Jet" indeed. I'm sure his real name is Captain Strombecker!! But I have to admit some of those models are pretty sweet. I've always been a sucker for the P-38 Lightning in the bottom center.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bouquets and Brickbats #1

Just got my books for this month. Here are the bouquets and brickbats

Bouquet - Jonah Hex in New York City
Brickbat - Jonah Hex in New York City 'one week after the war finished', meaning the first week of April 1865, when we know that he didn't surrender to the Union forces until a week later (Jonah Hex #30).
Major Brickbat - Jonah in New York City in 1865 with his face being scarred (which happened in 1866, Jonah Hex #8)

Bouquet - Shaggy Man slowly taking over the Suicide Squad with the help of Cliff Carmichael.
Brickbat - The Suicide Squad trying to take out evil energy corporation Haake-Bruton. hmmmm
Hakke-Bruton lets move some letters around and replace a few...
Halle-Burton how would I spell that so it is easier to read?
Haliburton Ooooooooh so THEY'RE the evil company. hee hee [BARF]

I thought John Ostrander was a better writer than that.

Bouquet - Blackhawk, Boy Commandos, Metal Men, Robby Reed, Hawkman, and Atom all in one book.
Bigger Bouquet - Interlac on the Hero Dial
Even Bigger Bouquet - Andre having to translate for Andre.
A whole room of bouquets - The Metal Men all yelling at Mercury; the billboard citing Roberts, Ross, & Michaels

Bouquet - Bat Lash's little brother threatening the bad guys.
Brickbat - Brubaker not suffering more from getting a railroad spike in the shoulder.

Bouquet - Villians seeking sanctuary.
Brickbat - I have no idea what the cover of JLA had to do with the story.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Victorian Justice League of America action figures

From Boingboing, here is a beautiful collection of "Gotham by Gaslight" Justice League custom figures. I especially enjoy Aquaman, Hawkgirl, & Green Lantern (I'm looking at you, SallyP). Sillof deserves all the praise he gets for these.

I think even Mike Sterling would like this guys work.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bat Lash #1 "Splendor in the Sage"

Bat Lash #1 Feb 08
"Guns & Roses: Splendor in the Sage"
Peter Brandvold & Sergio Aragones, story -John Severin, art - Walter Simonson, cover

Okay, our story starts in west Texas circa 1875. 1875.

Can you hear me screaming through the screen? I actually haven't stopped to take a breath....yet.
Still screaming, I have about 15 seconds more until I get it out of my system

Okay, I think I can proceed, except for the fact that I have been rereading the Scalphunter run in Weird Western Tales and Bat Lash was an integral part of that series, a series that started in 1862. So back then we have Bat, a grown man in 1862 (in his late 20's, early 30's), now appearing to be a young man, possibly in his early 20's, 15 years later. Oddly enough, DC, the company that is rediscovering its history, can't seem to get history straight.

Okay, NOW I can proceed. Our story starts with Bat Lash pursuing Dominique Wilder, the obvious love of his life. The pursuit continues with Bat carrying a copy of Keats. Bat catches Dominique and we are rewarded with a panel that has tons of meaning.

However, their little meeting doesn't go unnoticed, Sheriff Brubaker and his men are up in the hills overlooking the scene. One of Brubaker's men has a pair of binoculars and mentions that he has just seen, Dominique, Brubaker's girl friend. Brubaker looks through the binoculars and witnesses his girlfriend with Bat Lash, the son of a family that is raising Mustangs on cattle land (a horrible offense).

Later, Bat rides off, leaving Dominique with a promise that he will be careful and that they will be together forever. Riding away, Bat is singing heartily when he is suddenly lassoed from his horse by Brubaker and his men. They are deciding if they should drag him until he's dead or hang him now. They opt for the latter and once Bat is noosed, Bat announces to Brubaker that Dominique doesn't love Brubaker and never will. Brubaker gives Bat's horse a slap on the rump. The rope pulls tight and ....

Suddenly Comanches are descending on Brubaker and his men. They ride off, taking a few bullets and the Comanches continue pursuit as Two-Moons dismounts to speak with Bat. When the Comanches return, they ask Two-Moons why he does not take the wonderful yellow scalp of Bat. Two-Moons relates the tale of two years ago when he was buffalo hunting and his horse stumbled, throwing him into the running herd. Bat appeared out of nowhere, saved Two-Moons, tended to his wounds and got him back to his tribe.
Two-Moons and Bat talk about their troubles, Two-Moons relates how Dominique's dad has dammed up the streams to water his cattle and put a bounty on Indian scalps. Bat explains how is family is getting forced off their land and may have to shut down their mustang ranch. Before Two-Moons rides off, he tells Bat that he should join the Comanches.

Dominique, unaware of all that has transpired, rides on home and sees Brubaker's horse at her house. She goes inside and overhears her father & Brubaker discussing her and Bat. Brubaker demands that Wilder keep better control of his daughter or Brubaker won't bend the law in Wilder's favor when it comes to running off the Indians, prospectors, and squatters. Brubaker recounts how he tried to hang Bat but failed. Wilder says that Brubaker will need to run off the whole family by destroying their ranch.

Brubaker asks "What about Mrs. Lash?" to which Wilder replies "She chose her fate a long time ago."

Over at the Lash ranch, Bat comes riding home, a lot worse for the wear. Bat is greeted by his younger brother, Billy, and his dad, Zeke. Bat's mother, who appears to be Hispanic, comes out and frets over Bat. Then they all head in for dinner.

Meanwhile, Dominique is riding hard and fast to get to the Lash ranch to warn them of Brubaker's plan. Night falls and a huge storm opens up. Dominique is caught in the downpour when suddenly Brubaker jumps down from an overhanging rock and knocks her from her horse. Sadisticly, Brubaker forces a kiss on the semi-conscious Dominique and then takes her to a nearby cabin (that was rendered vacant when Brubaker recently killed the family per Wilder's instructions) and once inside we see him toss aside his gunbelt in a obvious foreshadowing for raping Dominique.

Statistics for the issue
Men killed by Bat Lash - 0
Bat's Injuries - roped, drug, and almost hung
Timeline - 1875.

It was good to see Bat's family, I'm not sure they have ever been portrayed before. Severin's art is absolutely some of the best in the industry, giving a very cinematic quality to the story. A lot of folks think that art in a western has to be gritty, but I prefer the clean lines and the grittiness come from the dialogue and the scenery, not the artwork. Overall, this looks to be a top-notch book, even though there is an impending rape. At least we know that Dominique won't end up in a refrigerator.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Too many nooks, not enough time.

Nope, I ain't dead. I just have a ton of irons in the fire right now. Of course, I have Jonah Hex #35 to review and then I also have started a review of Bat Lash #1 (the new series) and just this week I received WWT #39 with the first appearance of Scalphunter and I am chomping at the bit to start reviewing that.

The Scalphunter reviews may but slow coming because I'm missing a few issues and I'll have to pick them up slowly on ebay.

Anyway, this new year will see the return of the Weekly Wonder, Pitch-Man-A-Go-Go, and if i can squeeze it in, we may also pick up the Hex RPG (won't that be fun?)