WANTED. Four men willing to drive a cargo of death to escape a life in hell.
This month, we’re going on a jungle suicide mission with Camp Director and President of Camp Quest NorthWest, Michael Warbington, and plunging into the gritty, globetrotting William Friedkin classic about desperate men looking for a way out of purgatory: 1977’s Sorcerer!
Four men exiled in a corrupt South American country, hiding from their pasts and unable to afford the bribes necessary to escape their fates, are given an opportunity to get out. An American getaway driver, a Palestinian militant, a disgraced French investment banker, and a Mexican hitman must drive two trucks across 218 miles of narrow mountain roads and dense jungle, to deliver a cargo of dangerously unstable dynamite to put out a raging oil fire. But if the rotten bridges, armed bandits, and leaking nitroglycerine don’t kill them, growing mistrust and despair just might.
He killed for gold… He killed for his woman… He killed for himself!
After a month off, we’re back! And this time, we’re dragging a coffin through the desert with the Camp Director and President of Camp Quest NorthWest, Michael Warbington, and diving into the notoriously violent 1966 spaghetti western by director Sergio Corbucci, Django!
When a mysterious gunslinger named Django drags a coffin into a tiny border town caught in the middle of a bloody war between Mexican paramilitary bandits and a Klan of hooded racist Southerners, he sets off a bloody chain of death, vengeance, robbery, and even more death. But is Django here to save this town, or will he just bury it under corpses in his quest for revenge?
“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)
” 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.
One of the harshest — and most common — epithets in fandom is to label a work of media as a rip-off.
“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a rip-off of Babylon 5!” “The Hunger Games is a rip-off of Battle Royale!” “Captain Marvel is a rip-off of Superman!” “The Island is a rip-off of Parts: the Clonus Horror!”
(Okay, that last one is definitely true.)
But not all derivative works are intrinsically inferior. Some actually transcend the quality of their media muses as pieces of art that stand the test of time.
So, dear listener, this month, we’re asking you: “What derivative works of art are superior to the works that inspired them?”