Jonah Hex originators John Albano (1922-2205) and Tony DeZuniga (1941-2012) take the piss out of their boy in a little tale that was, according to Paul Levitz, intended for a (self) parody title provisionally titled Zany (having cycled through the tentative monikers Black Humor and Weird Humor), and that never saw the light of day… This feature was the only one completed for the abortive endeavour, and it saw print in the Plop!-themed issue of The Amazing World of DC Comics (October, 1976), its thirteenth, of course. Incidentally, Plop’s own cancellation was announced in that very issue of AWODCC. Bummer.
I would be earning myself a sound flogging if I didn’t share Sergio Aragonés‘ adroitly-done cover, so here it is.
Let’s start with something hair-raising. Well, not really – we’re a blasé audience, and it takes something special to truly scare us. Yet can you deny the foul-smelling, palpable sense of foreboding, the billowing and swirling nightmare that beckons from the elegant inks of this page?
Gravesend is an ancient town in northwest Kent, England; as for the gorgon part, it’s not entirely accurate, but it’s clear that comic writers cannot resist an alliteration.
On a slightly more humorous front (unless one is directly involved with this green monstrosity, in which case the situation would quickly lose its humour), here’s a page that hails from Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such no. 4, (June 1995). The story features the half-worm, half-human albino Autumn Brothers, whom you can see here greeting the big worm-momma. Texas blues rockers Johnny and Edgar Winter attempted to sue, but the suit was dismissed after a judge begrudgingly ruled that « the First Amendment dictates that the right to parody, lampoon and make other expressive uses of the celebrity image must be given broad scope. » Thank you, Los Angeles court. Frankly, it seems that the brothers are more remembered for the lawsuit than their music.
Jonah Woodson Hex, created by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga in 1971, curmudgeonly and disfigured but bound by a personal code of honour, is a favourite character of mine, although I only like the way he is written for DC’s Weird Western Tales. Well, with one exception, this one! I most tentacularily recommend Jonah Hex: Shadows West, a collection of the three Vertigo-published mini-series scripted by Lansdale and illustrated by Tim Truman and Sam Glanzman, containing the stories Two-Gun Mojo, Shadows West and Riders of The Worm and Such.
And to wrap this up, on an even goofier note, here’s Jughead getting into yet another weird situation, which is pretty standard for him.
In the early 1970s, despite the western genre’s waning prospects in comics, DC found itself with a surprise hit in John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga‘s antihero Jonah Hex, thanks to a healthy infusion of grit and spaghetti sauce. The battle-scarred Civil War veteran first reared his memorably homely puss in All-Star Western no. 10 (Feb.–Mar. 1972), which soon changed its title to Weird Western Tales with issue 12 to better accommodate its new star.
WWT’s reliably great covers probably didn’t hurt sales. Most of them were the work of Argentine Luis Dominguez, in tandem with the all-star design team of publisher Carmine Infantino, art director Nick Cardy and production manager / colourist Jack Adler. These covers all possess that elusive allure of « Mysterioso », as Infantino termed it.