“That’s Jonah Hex, his own damn self. He’s killed more men than Hell has souls.”
After a long absence, we return with our fourth episode! This time, Mike and Casey claw our way through Jonah Hex’s 1993 Vertigo makeover as a weird western horror character in the five issue mini-series Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo by writer Joe R. Lansdale and artist Timothy Truman!
After being falsely accused of murdering a fellow bounty hunter, Jonah Hex runs afoul of short-tempered townsfolk, embittered Apache raiders, and Doc “Cross” Williams, a murderous snake oil salesman, grave robber, and conjurer who raises the bodies of the dead and bends them to his will — including the corpse of famed Western folk hero, “Wild” Bill Hickok!
JONAH HEX CONFIRMED KILL COUNT: 65 (+24 this episode)
In an episode exclusive for Patreon patrons, we look at the perhaps-necessary anachronism of period stories where the protagonist has strangely modern social attitudes. Does anyone really want the cowboy you play in a video game to be casually racist for the sake of accuracy?
And we look at the way that outlier characters like Jonah Hex, John Constantine, and the Punisher nominally co-exist in a shared universe that they’re mostly incompatible with.
“Ah can’t do it anymore, Jeb! Ah can’t go on killin’ yankees when they’s fightin’ tuh give th’ black folks their freedom, an’ we’s fightin’ to preserve a world whut’s prob’ly better off dead an’ done with!”
In our third episode, Mike and Casey we dive into possibly the most controversial and politically relevant aspect of Jonah Hex’s character: his Confederate uniform and his time fighting in the Civil War.
First, we dig into an issue of classic Hex in 1975’s Weird Western Tales #29. In a story by Michael Fleisher and artist Noly Panaligan. In “The Breakout at Fort Charlotte,” wounded after a duel with an angry young man, Hex remembers his time fighting in the Confederate Army and the decisions that lead him to ultimately deserting it. After surrendering to a cruel Union officer, he finds himself framed for collaborating in a massacre of prisoners.
Then we dig into 2008’s Jonah Hex (vol.2) #36 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Rafa Garres, titled, “Seven Graves Six Feet Deep.” Why did Jonah Hex continue to wear his Confederate grays for decades after the war ended? Framed by the writing of a historian who grapples with the controversial historical figure of Jonah Hex and that very question, Hex rides home from the war in 1866 in a gray uniform being the only clothing he owns. After a misunderstanding ends in the death of a freed slave woman, Jonah finds himself rescued by a violent racist mob who mistake his uniform for him sharing their loathsome views and goals.
JONAH HEX CONFIRMED KILL COUNT: 41 (+9 this episode)
“I’m gonna show ya one last trick I picked up offa Cheyenne ‘afore I let you die in the kind of pain no white man has ever known.”
In our second episode, Mike and Casey follow professional badass Jonah Hex into our worst blue state nightmares, and a fictional trope that we never tire of: Murderous hillbillies.
First, we delve into an issue of Hex’s classic series in 1978’s Jonah Hex (vol.1) #12. In a story by Michael Fleisher and Vincente Alcazar, entitled “The Search for ‘Gator Hawes.” Wounded by an alligator during a search for a missing friend in bayou country, Hex is taken captive by a murderous backwoods family and is forced to fight his own friend to survive.
Then it’s back to the Louisiana swamp in 2006’s Jonah Hex (vol.2) #10 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Phil Noto, titled, “Gator Bait.” Jonah Hex is hired by a dying man to find rescue his wife and child from the savage Lamont family, killer swamp folk who even local law enforcement is afraid to confront. Escaping capture himself, Hex is wounded, unarmed, and looking for bloody revenge.
JONAH HEX CONFIRMED KILL COUNT:32 (+9 this episode)
“Normally, I’d hang you, but I figure your actions warrant something really cruel and unusual.”
In our premiere episode, Mike and Casey dig into two Jonah Hex stories from two different eras.
First, we look at the character’s first appearance in 1972’s All Star Western #10. In a story by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga, entitled “Welcome to Paradise.” When famed disfigured bounty hunter Jonah Hex is hired by the business leaders of Paradise Corners to deal with a violent gang of killers, he gets a chilly reception from the the local townsfolk he’s protecting.
Then we revisit the first issue of Hex’s most recent relaunch in 2005’s Jonah Hex (vol.2) #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Luke Ross, titled, “Giving the Devil His Due.” When Hex is hired by a wealthy man to find his kidnapped son, he wanders into an ugly world of underground dog fighting and child murder.
JONAH HEX CONFIRMED KILL COUNT: 23 (+23 this episode)
” He was a hero to some, a villain to others… and wherever he rode people spoke his name in whispers. He had no friends, this Jonah Hex, but he did have two companions: one was death itself… the other, the acrid smell of gunsmoke.“
In our series prologue, Mike and Casey get into their mutual love of a largely unknown comic book character: DC’s western anti-hero, Jonah Hex.
We get into the character’s origins, his lasting appeal and why this merciless bounty hunter with a hideous facial scar has outlived the genre that spawned him.
Mike and Casey continue their chat with Rebecca Friedman and Joe Preti, and they chew the fat about porno Mahjong, how the weirdest things end up at used bookstores, and why we just can’t stop thinking about nunchucks.
We also dig into the contrast of Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves, why Mike really really really doesn’t like the new Ghostbusters trailer, and why people keep getting Superman wrong.
In this episode, he joins Ryan and fellow guest Tim Wallace to talk about Mike’s favorite DC character, western anti-hero Jonah Hex! We dig into the character’s publication history, his botched 2011 film adaptation, and his lasting appeal as the nastiest son of a bitch in the world.
From his classic status quo as an Old West bounty hunter to his brief sojourn into a Mad Max-style post apocalypse, Jonah Hex continues to be the most successful Western comic book character of all time.
The Fire and Water Podcast is a really fun show and probably has the best interactive community of any podcast I’ve ever heard. They talk about their respective favorite characters in particular, and usually DC Comics in general. But this time they did something a little different.
Mike sat down via Skype with Rob Kelly – of the Aquaman half of the show – to talk about a weird and complicated issue: comic book continuity.
In short, Mike make the argument that comics would be all the better for dropping a line-wide shared universe where everything is supposed to fit together, and just letting the creators interpret the characters and stories in their own ways.
The new episode is now live and available for your listening pleasure! Give it a listen and let Mike know how wrong you think he is!
There are a lot of eye-rolling fictional cliches and tropes that we’re beyond tired of.
But some of them are like comfort food to us. We don’t dread them at all. We bask ourselves in their familiar glow. They put a smile on your face or give you a warm, tingly feeling, even though you’ve seen them a thousand times before.
And that prompts this month’s question:
“What fictional cliches are you never sick of, no matter how many times you see them?”
That’s right. This month, the panel is talking about Robert E. Howard’s legendary fantasy anti-hero, Conan the Barbarian! From his pulp magazine beginnings in 1932 to the character’s explosion into comic books, newspaper strips, cartoons, and feature films. Conan’s impact on modern fantasy fiction — and popular culture itself — is deep and often unsung. Join us in a discussion of jocks versus nerds, power fantasies and the infectious “fuck yeah!” moment.
So heft your weeping red broadsword, and whisper a prayer to Crom, because we’re telling you of the days of high adventure!
[CORRECTION: Greg writes new pulp adventures for Airship 27. My apologies.]
“The Battle of the Mounds from Conan the Barbarian” by Basil Poledouris