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  • Originally posted by ralphuniverse View Post
    I was thinking one way to solve the Prince Valiant problem would be to have two of them. The 6th Century Prince stumbles onto some quantum time machine that teleports a version of him into our time while the original version stays in the Dark Ages. I would write it happening without the Singing Sword. The adventure would have him finding the sword stuck in a rock so he can do the old "sword in the stone " trick. Once regaining the sword he could access the memories of his past self. Interesting story opportunities there. But apparently the writers will have Prince Valiant traveling through time so we will find out soon enough.
    So basically ... "Whosoever Holds this Sword, If He Be Worthy, Shall Possess the Power of PRINCE VALIANT" ? (to paraphrase Stan Lee...)
    I guess when you come right down to it, that's not altogether too different than "Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of This Stone and Anvil Is Rightwise Prince Born of Thule" (to paraphrase T.H. White -- or at least the version that appears in Disneyland).

    It's time travel. He isn't missing out on his life in his own time by visiting our time... the whole trip takes no time at all, with him returning to what he was doing moments after he left, no matter how much "time" he spent in the future. And vice-versa, when he returns to the past, he can spend days, weeks or years there, before returning to the future moments after he left. No more inconvenient than a bathroom break. Time travelers literally have "all the time in the world" to get things done. They say "No one can be in two places at once", but they never said "No one can be in two TIMES at once." So I guess that takes care of the question of who's minding the kids if Aleta comes with him... but I'd rather she didn't, if they're just going to use it as an excuse to "reimagine" her. I'd rather see Val pining away at the separation before I see that, at least that seems more realistic to me.

    Maybe you might think accumulated ageing would be a problem, but who knows if a time traveler from the past, while occupying the future, isn't ageing at the normal rate in reverse? Wasn't MERLIN said to have aged in reverse, and that he could "remember the future"? Maybe HE was a time traveler, too? In fact, could Merlin be... Mandrake? Wow, there's a whole other story for you....

    It kind of bugs me when people from the past have to morph into our current ideas about what kind of roles people should conform to in order to be respected, or whatever. As if growing up and living in a different place and time had no influence on who a person was, that they should "get with the program" and behave according to our present culture's standards and expectations. I am opposed to them arbitrarily changing the characters to suit their whims, or because they seem "old fashioned" somehow; it's one of the reasons I'm not crazy about the Lothar-as-Phantom idea... it seems to be mucking about a bit too much with the established mythos, even if it's only temporary.
    Last edited by pulphero; 10-10-2014, 06:08 PM.

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    • Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
      I thought--unless you mean the old Hex series--that it was precisely the opposite. He seemed to kind of go crazy after seeing his own dead body (or what seemed to be it--perhaps it even was and the timeline is now changed?)
      I don't think you read that last issue carefully enough, or maybe you just missed a page in there somewhere. Jonah wasn't looking at his own corpse in that museum in the present (although he didn't know this at the time). The history books got it wrong about "Whatever happened to Jonah Hex?"

      When he was in the present time, Hex was experiencing culture shock - or more accurately, "future shock", compounded by excessive drinking, until he wakes up in a hospital. However, when he finds himself back in his proper time period, the experience begins to fade quickly, like a bad nightmare or alcohol-induced delirium. In fact, although he seems to believe everything that happened to him is real, the experience is already seemingly fading as kind of unlikely. Even Tallulah Black seems skeptical, despite the evidence of his newly-repaired face, and he was on an alcohol-fueled bender for weeks, both of which must plant at least some seed of doubt.

      At first, Jonah seems to intend to merely resume his life and usual activities as he left off, despite his new face. Things begin to take a different turn shortly thereafter, when Hex encounters a man who's stolen his identity while he was gone, in order to cash in on the fearsome Hex reputation. It's that imposter who dies in Hex's place and is written into the history books. It's the impostor's corpse that is taxidermied and put on display in a cheap travelling sideshow (and the remains of which are later seen in a museum in the present day by the real Hex). The story is referencing the events shown in the pre-CRISIS comic book story "The Last Bounty Hunter" by Michael Fleischer and Russ Heath, in JONAH HEX SPECTACULAR (DC Special Series #16, 1978), which supposedly told the tale of how Jonah Hex died. To put an even finer point on it, ASW writers Palmiotti & Gray use the name "George Barrow" (the man that history records as having killed Jonah Hex) as an alias that the real Hex invents on the fly, and the name of the P.T. Barnum-like, opportunistic sideshow promoter, "Lew Farnham", from the 1978 story as well. The last issue of ALL STAR WESTERN reveals that historians were mistaken, and things were not as they seemed.
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      This unexpected turn of events (the reports of his own death being greatly exaggerated, and having a new face to escape from anyone suspecting otherwise) gives Jonah the idea that he now has the freedom to retire in peace, rather than going out in the expected blaze of glory of most Western gunfighters, having already been written out of the pages of history. Still, nothing about Hex's visit to the future (or the knowledge of that time period) changes the events as they happened. Had Hex's memories of his future experiences been erased from his mind, events would still have played out in the past as they did. Hex's only active role in those events was in killing the man who stole his identity, something he would likely have done, in that exact same situation, whether he remembered his trip to the future or not. The story of an impostor trying to cash in on Hex's badass rep as a gunslinger, and meeting his untimely demise at the end of Hex's gun, could as well have been told in any pre-Crisis JONAH HEX, well before he had ever become a time traveler -- and as long as Hex's involvement in that impostor's death remained unknown, history would have reported the "facts" exactly as happened in the last issue of ALL STAR WESTERN. It's true that Hex now has a new face through the medical science of 21st Century plastic surgery, but Jonah didn't cause the events that led to history being incontrovertibly in the wrong -- he just chose to take advantage of an opportunity to fade away instead of going out with a bang.

      Since Hex could never convince anyone of his true identity and the fantastic tale behind the change in his appearance, his only real decision here involves the choice of not simply continuing his usual bounty-hunting career under an assumed name. But since history never recorded the existence of another bounty hunter as fearsome of reputation as Jonah Hex, his decision to merely retire in peace forms a perfect closed loop of causality.

      The real beauty of the final issue of ALL STAR WESTERN is in Palmiotti & Gray's referring back to the 1978 story as a metatextual, "fictionalized" version of the "true account" of events portrayed in ALL STAR WESTERN #34's "The Final Curtain", by evoking the idea that "all legends have some basis in fact". What's interesting in both the PRE-Flashpoint and POST-Flashpoint versions of Palmiotti & Gray's Jonah Hex stories is that they never (except for this final issue) invalidate any of the earlier Jonah Hex stories... although his earlier time travel exploits in the 1980s HEX series, and the supernatural events of Vertigo's Lansdale & Truman stories are never referred to, they're never directly contradicted either. Invalidating that one, stand-alone JONAH HEX SPECTACULAR story doesn't really imply that the other Hex stories were fictional, either -- the original story was divisive among Hex fans as being an ignominious fate to have been suffered by the hero, so in sense the final ALL STAR WESTERN story is somewhat of a vindication of that opinion.

      It's also interesting to consider the idea that NONE of the various DC Crises or reboots has any effects on the personal history of Jonah Hex in his own time period, although they may well affect his ability to REMEMBER any events that took place in the alterrnate futures that he once visited, and the temporal pathways between the late 1800s and various future timelines, which were viable futures for HIM only a few years earlier, may well have been eradicated to prevent any further travel into those futures from Jonah's perspective in the 1800s. Thus, Jonah may well have experienced that pre-Crisis adventure when he (along with Black Pirate, Enemy Ace, Miss Liberty and the Viking Prince) met a future Justice League of America, or the events which occurred to him when he journeyed into a post-apocalyptic future in HEX -- he just doesn't remember those events, because the various reboots erased his memories of those encounters. In fact, it's an interesting thing that Jonah spent time in that post-apocalyptic future in HEX, which began AFTER Crisis on Infinite Earths' 1st issue -- but ENDED almost a year after COIE had concluded. So when he first arrived on that future Earth, the collapsing of multiple DC Earths into a single post-Crisis Earth hadn't happened yet -- and none of his issues was a COIE tie-in, even though that series ran concurrently. That alternate future timeline didn't appear to have been affected in any way by Crisis, although the Legion of Super-Heroes made an appearance, and the series outlasted CRISIS itself by a year, which makes you wonder exactly what that means for Jonah -- was he personally somehow protected from the effects of that Crisis by being in an alternate future Earth timeline, unaffected by it while it happened? Or is THAT Jonah Hex still stuck on that future alternate Earth, somewhere, while a DIFFERENT Jonah Hex was replaced in the 1800s after Crisis collapsed the multiple Earths into one? Either could be true, since if he ever DID return to the 1800s from that future Earth, that story has never been revealed. It's a Hypertime thing, I think.
      Last edited by pulphero; 10-11-2014, 11:26 AM.

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      • "The KFS 100th Anniversary Event" now has a name... KING

        Dynamite Entertainment has announced a January 2015 launch of King, a comic book event that marks the 100th anniversary of King Features Syndicate, the print syndication company owned by The Hearst Corporation. The event will bring together some of history’s most famous comic strip heroes – Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, Prince Valiant, The Phantom, and Jungle Jim, to comic books with five miniseries that build to a grand crossover in May.

        Each launch issue of the King event features an interlocking cover by acclaimed artist Darwyn Cooke (DC: The New Frontier). In addition to the Cooke covers, each #1 issue will feature two Variant Editions: one featuring the artwork of Rob Liefeld, and the other from Ron Salas.

        Flash Gordon #1, by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and Lee Ferguson, sees the archetypical space hero (and antecedent of such characters as Star Wars‘ Luke Skywalker and Star-Lord of Guardians of the Galaxy) involved in a cosmic heist and once again – alongside Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov – in the crosshairs of tyrant Ming the Merciless. As always, Flash Gordon proves to be anything but “just a man.”

        Mandrake the Magician #1, by Roger Langridge and Jeremy Treece, puts on an epic show for all comers, with the classic stage magician using his sleight-of-hand and true magic to counter the threat of witch doctors and demons.

        Prince Valiant #1, by Nate Cosby and Ron Salas, brings the King Features mainstay from comic strips to the comic book medium. An Arthurian hero who dares any adventure, Prince Valiant’s latest will bring him face-to-face with sorcerers, rival knights, and an unexpected shift through time.

        The Phantom #1, by Brian Clevinger and Brent Schoonover, reintroduces the daring adventurer Lothar in his new guise as The Ghost Who Walks, as he explores the birthright of a heroic lineage – one not his by blood, but by heroic deed.

        Jungle Jim #1, by Paul Tobin and Sandy Jarrell, welcomes readers to meet a warrior who is as much a force of nature as the forest around him. A hunter with enigmatic abilities, the first issue promises an uncanny origin for reader enjoyment… as well as an extraterrestrial turn-of-events and an unnatural menace of the simian variety.

        Flash Gordon #1, Mandrake the Magician #1, Prince Valiant #1, The Phantom #1, and Jungle Jim #1 will be solicited in the November Previews catalog and slated for release in January 2015.
        Prince Valiant in "an unexpected shift through time"...? I don't THINK it's unexpected...

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        • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
          I don't think you read that last issue carefully enough, or maybe you just missed a page in there somewhere.
          Neither. As I said,

          (or what seemed to be it--perhaps it even was and the timeline is now changed?)
          I said OR what seemed to be it, and PERHAPS it even was and the timeline is now changed. It might be that before he went back in time, this was really his future, but by having his face changed, things somehow had to fit.

          Or maybe being stuffed was never his future at all. (In the New 52, obviously.)

          But no, I read it quite well and didn't miss anything. It was mere speculation about the weirdness of time travel.

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          • Oh, as a side note, there was a rather odd crossover with Crisis -- the Monitor appeared in an issue of Jonah Hex, loaning him a horse.

            (Whoops, seeing some possible conflict regarding this online--it may be that he did not appear in there (#90) after all, but since it was in an official Crisis index, everyone has believed it to be true all these years...)

            As well, we did indeed see Jonah's common law wife, a very elderly Tall Bird, get his body back and refer to the Hex series in an issue of the post-Crisis Secret Origins.

            http://www.progressiveruin.com/2008/...oiler-warning/
            Last edited by ChastMastr; 10-11-2014, 07:04 PM.

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            • Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
              Neither. As I said,



              I said OR what seemed to be it, and PERHAPS it even was and the timeline is now changed. It might be that before he went back in time, this was really his future, but by having his face changed, things somehow had to fit.

              Or maybe being stuffed was never his future at all. (In the New 52, obviously.)

              But no, I read it quite well and didn't miss anything. It was mere speculation about the weirdness of time travel.
              Whoa. Don't take it personally there, Chast. I can see no "maybes" or "possiblies" here. It's pretty clear to me what Palmiotti and Gray are referencing here, which is that original story from 1978's JONAH HEX SPECTACULAR. Like I say, it's a closed loop, with the effects of what Jonah did upon his return to the Old West already manifest in the New 52 present before those events happen to Jonah (later, from his personal perspective). No timeline-changing is involved or needs to be involved. A simple case of mistaken identity leads to the "facts" about Jonah's death being recorded by history incorrectly, and another man's corpse being stuffed, mounted, and displayed under Hex's name. That's exactly correct -- "being stuffed was never his future at all. (In the New 52, obviously.)", but there's no maybe about it. The 1978 story doesn't apply as cannonical, even though everything else from DC's publishing history of Hex still could be. "The Last Bounty Hunter" is explained away as fiction or "a legend of the Old West", and the explanation of why it isn't true has nothing to do with Jonah changing his own past history "as it would have happened" as a result of him traveling in time. The effects of everything that happened in that last issue of ALL STAR WESTERN were already in place when Jonah arrived in the present time of Gotham City of the New 52, because he had already done everything he was destined to do upon his return to the 1800s.

              The important point here is that nothing that Hex learns on his visit to the future causes him to do anything upon his return that would try to change that future to something different than the one he saw. The fact that another man chose to impersonate him is none of his doing, and he has no say in what history records of the matter. I'm not sure if you're trying to imply that somehow the only reason Hex kills his impersonator is with the purposeful intent that the man will be mistaken as him, and he can thus circumvent his own early demise and grisly fate, but that sure doesn't seem like what's happening in the story to me. While he normally wouldn't kill a man even if he didn't like him unless he was being paid a bounty, and even briefly seems to toy with the idea of not getting involved in the situation, it never seems in doubt for his character as established - (1) he's a bad guy, doing bad things, and he's doing it using Hex's name, (2) he personally insulted Jonah, and doesn't seem like he'll drop the matter either, (3) he not only had the temerity to steal Jonah's name, cause enough in itself for payback, but it rankles Hex even more that it normally would, since he's no longer in any position to prove his identity and call the man out as a cheap phony. Everything about Jonah's behavior in the story (upon his return to the past) seems to be guided by his previously-established character, with no hint of "knowledge of the future" guiding any of his actions against his natural impulses. Remember that in the story, Hex chooses the alias "George Barrow" at random after spying a man pass by with a wheelbarrow. To the contrary, events occurring in the story seem to unfold quite naturally through circumstance, and Hex's actions in killing his impersonator seem totally consistent with his normal behavior with no reflection on causes and effects likely to change the future he experienced. Events seem to just follow a chain of falling dominoes in playing out the events that will result in the future that Hex has already experienced.

              Other than that, the only timelines that changed are the ones we already know about involving 20th Century superheroes: in Jonah's case specifically, the only one that involves his interaction with the pre-Crisis timeline in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA -- but that was the timeline of the 20th Century, not the 19th Century where Jonah spends most of his life. It's entirely possible for two mutually exclusive timelines in the present or RECENT past to have been one and the same timeline at some point (like Hex's late-1800s time period) in the more distant past. If you want to look at it as COIE having wiped out the timeline where the REAL Jonah Hex gets stuffed and put on display, I guess you could look at it that way, and we're only just now discovering it, almost 30 years after the fact.

              Actually, I had forgotten about it until just now, but Jonah Hex's dead body DID make a single appearance in the pre-Flashpoint continuity, as one of the Black Lantern zombies, in a revived-for-a-single-issue WEIRD WESTERN TALES #71 (2010). I don't remember any reference being made to Hex's body having been taxidermied in the story anywhere, so maybe (?) that story alone already invalidates "The Last Bounty Hunter". I say "maybe" because it's almost a cameo appearance for the Black Lantern Hex, with very few details given -- you don't see a big scene there with "RISE!" or anything like that. Also because I'm not really sure how the whole Black Lantern zombie thing works -- in order for Hex's body to be stuffed and mounted, the skin was removed from the rest of the body, re-sewn up around an armature covered with some sort of padding, things like false teeth, tongue and eyeballs added, preserved using chemicals and a fixative, etc. (Not sure if they retain the actual skull in that process; maybe, maybe not.) So. much of Jonah's body parts would have been separated from his hide in order to stuff and mount him, and I don't know that he can be resurrected the way most Black Lanterns seem to be portrayed as "rising". That seems to indicate to me that the pre-Flashpoint Hex's body never was stuffed and mounted -- but I guess that's not 100% proof positive, either.

              Maybe you just had to be around and reading Hex in 1978 to realize the reaction to that story, and how Palmiotti and Gray "explaining it away" feels like a story that's been a long time coming. That's the sort of "continuity implant" that people LIKE because it explains away a story that just seems wrong somehow, and is very unpopular. Despite it having great artwork by Russ Heath.

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              Last edited by pulphero; 10-12-2014, 07:07 AM.

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              • Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                Oh, as a side note, there was a rather odd crossover with Crisis -- the Monitor appeared in an issue of Jonah Hex, loaning him a horse.

                (Whoops, seeing some possible conflict regarding this online--it may be that he did not appear in there (#90) after all, but since it was in an official Crisis index, everyone has believed it to be true all these years...)

                As well, we did indeed see Jonah's common law wife, a very elderly Tall Bird, get his body back and refer to the Hex series in an issue of the post-Crisis Secret Origins.

                http://www.progressiveruin.com/2008/...oiler-warning/
                When you think about it, Palmiotti & Gray's version of "Whatever Happened To Jonah Hex?" is a story that could have been written by some writer at any time, either before or after Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, or Flashpoint.

                The thing about the original story "The Last Bounty Hunter" is that it's off by itself, isolated from other Hex stories, taking place in 1904 to a 66-year-old Jonah Hex. There's a huge gap between it and other Jonah Hex stories taking place (mostly in the 1870s), and of course the only events that happen after it chronologically in time are those stories where a younger Jonah has time-traveled to the (or should I say "A") future. That isolation from the main body of Hex's canon makes it easy to explain away that ONE story as a "fictionalized" version of the "true account" of events (that really happened much earlier) in that last issue of ALL STAR WESTERN, just as Marvel has on occasion "explained away" some of the stories of its Western characters, as having been "Dime Novel" fiction stories, based very loosely on factual events and exaggerated. In this case, you can look at it as the writer (Michael Fleischer) of "The Last Bounty Hunter" having (1) gotten his facts wrong, relying on erroneous historical accounts, (2) having incorporated further distortions of accurate history due to the story having been re-told many times since the actual events occurred, with various distortions being added in different recountings, and/or (3) having used "artistic license" to loosely dramatize events already recorded inaccurately by history. It's like comparing a factually-accurate biography of Houdini to the Tony Curtis "biopic" movie, and relying on the latter to be accurate (it isn't, particularly regarding the details of Houdini's death).

                Perhaps if we ever see Jonah again (at some point in his life AFTER the events of that last issue of ASW), it would behoove them to show an older Hex reading (with either disgust or amusement) some dime novel titled "The Last Bounty Hunter". Obviously, this dime novel would take some time, after the actual events happened, to be published. Perhaps the dime novel isn't actually published until 1904, and is written as if the events had just happened or were happening now (to a 66-year old Hex) - i.e., in fictionalizing the story recorded by history, they are further adding the distortion of "updating" it to the present (1904) - although obviously the dime novel couldn't tell the entire history of what happened to the taxidermied corpse after being placed on display by Lew Farnham.

                Part of the problem with the original story isn't so much the ignoble fate awaiting Hex... he's led a life that wasn't in most respects "heroic", although he lived by his own code, but in some ways his own end would reflect the fact that he had spent the better part of his life earning his coin by killing men (even if they were bad and deserved that end). Now, he's fated to spend the better part of his death earning coin for others, who exploit his grim reputation as a doer-of-dirty-jobs, even in the name of legal justice. Had the story been written in such a way that it evoked a little bit of the spirit of EC horror, ending a page or two after Hex's demise with a last-panel reveal of the disrespectful, grisly stuffed-and-mounted display of Jonah's corpse, ridiculously attired in such a faux "Wild West" ensemble, it might have worked, in the spirit of the original title of Hex's comic magazine, WEIRD WESTERN TALES. In fact, a shorter, punched-up version of the story would have worked well in some sort of Vertigo anthology. You can easily imagine a better-written version of the basic story as an episode of the original Twilight Zone, or HBO's Tales From the Crypt. So the problem here isn't so much the basic CONCEPT of the story, it's the fact that it doesn't commit fully to that "weird horror" mode of storytelling, with an ironic, O. Henry twist-ending. It winds up being neither fish nor fowl, taking a sort of odd middle-ground between a "straight" Hex story with no gruesome or grisly elements and what it SHOULD have been, which was to fully commit to the "punishment for the sins of a life lived badly" conclusion with a one-two "reveal, then final curtain".

                If Palmiotti & Gray had chosen to rework the original elements of Fleischer's story THAT way, I'd have been just as happy with the way the series ended. And in point of fact, it would STILL be possible for another writer to come along and revisit the original "Last Bounty Hunter" story for a third time, since the original story took place in 1904 to a 66-year-old Hex -- something could have happened in the ensuing years since "The Final Curtain" that undoes all of the 21st Century plastic surgery that gives Hex a handsome face (say, an explosion that undoes the plastic surgery, as happened to Two-Face once in a Batman story), and Hex, having fallen once more on hard times and reverted to his former profession, and long since forgotten that he once invented the alias "George Barrow", is tracking a bounty by that same name (a name not so uncommon as to be unbelievable), and is ironically eventually killed by him, leading to Lew Farnum discovering the fact that the "Jonah Hex" body he has in his possession is in fact, an impostor, and he then has the REAL Hex's body stuffed and mounted. Perhaps Hex turning up alive years later, and proving his identity, reveals Farnum as a hoaxer, and he desperately needs to make good on his original star attraction by PROVING he now has the REAL Hex's body. OK, it's quite a stretch, but it could still be made to work -- which would mean that the corpse Hex sees in the 21st Century really IS the remains of his own dead body. The way Palmiotti & Gray DID opt to rework the elements of "The Last Bounty Hunter" was just as satisfying, though, possibly because the idea of Hex eventually coming to a bad end is so expected, and managing a "happy ending" out of that long career of killing is so UNexpected, that it amounts to pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
                Last edited by pulphero; 10-12-2014, 05:58 AM.

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                • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                  Whoa. Don't take it personally there, Chast.
                  If you don't say "you" in it, then it will be easier not to next time.

                  Neither of these things were true:

                  I don't think you read that last issue carefully enough, or maybe you just missed a page in there somewhere.
                  I try not to say things like that to people in general when we might disagree on something.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                    Maybe you just had to be around and reading Hex in 1978 to realize the reaction to that story, and how Palmiotti and Gray "explaining it away" feels like a story that's been a long time coming.
                    Maybe, but I don't think so. I try to deal with reality in such a way as to be as objective as possible about such matters. Especially considering the 1978 story was written by Fleisher, I don't think a retcon of it was required, happy though I am to enjoy this alternate take on it. The idea is that this sort of glitzy caricature would be how someone like Jonah Hex would be remembered, but that we, the readers, know the reality.

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                    • If you want an EC-style version of Jonah's dead body more spookily approached, then again, the Secret Origins story (also by Fleisher) would fit the bill.

                      http://jonahhex.blogspot.com/2010/10...origin-of.html

                      How his corpse would still be around in the Hex series, I don't know. I find this ending to be quite satisfying: It suggests that in some way, even as a ghost, he does one final thing for someone whom he loved in his own way and who loved and remembered the man he really was, and he will be finally laid to rest properly. But the ending of the New 52 version is also good. One can enjoy both, after all.

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                      • Interview with Fleisher from some years ago:

                        http://www.lonely.geek.nz/fording_th...ournal_56.html

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                          I don't think a retcon of it was required, happy though I am to enjoy this alternate take on it. The idea is that this sort of glitzy caricature would be how someone like Jonah Hex would be remembered, but that we, the readers, know the reality.
                          But that's the beauty of the thing, Chast... the only thing that was required was that Palmiotti & Gray's story was logical and sensible to readers of the New 52's ALL STAR WESTERN. It accomplishes that, and does it in a way that's completely unambiguous and shouldn't cause anyone to pause and wonder how they should interpret the story, whether history is being changed or not.

                          For those readers who ARE familiar with the pre-Crisis story "The Last Bounty Hunter", the story adds an entirely EXTRA level of meaning, creating an irony that history (from the perspective of those living in the present time of the New 52 universe) seems to recount the facts of the life and death of Jonah Hex largely the same way as history did in the pre-Crisis DCU. This level ALSO seems to be written in a completely unambiguous way, so that there's no doubt that we, the readers, are simply seeing the reveal of the TRUE facts of what happened, in contrast to the way history recorded things.

                          I suppose other readers could feel differently -- that everything about Hex's previous stories (at least Palmiotti and Gray's stories, but I don't think it's necessarily just their work on the character) seems to point to, or should point to, a rather bad end to Hex's life (and to use an analogy, I'd feel cheated, for example, were someone to write a PUNISHER story in which Frank Castle gives up his mission, retires, and finds peace and spiritual balance, or something like that). But here, Hex simply seems to be caught up in a web of circumstances not of his own making. Everything at the beginning of the story seems to indicate he'll continue to exist by following the same behavior patterns he always had, despite this superficial change in his outward appearance. The death of someone else using his name causes history to "close the book" on the saga of Jonah Hex, and all of a sudden he finds himself free of a continuing cycle of violence and death, a "ghost" who's still among the living... an unexpected, but almost forced opportunity to be someone else besides "Jonah Hex", and that's the only thing that makes the happy ending believable and satisfying. Yet, inside he still seems the same man, at least for now -- he's merely been nudged by fate along a new pathway. Whether he can REALLY change his spots, or not, remains to be told (or NOT, I guess).

                          That's why I felt this story was the single best stand-alone comic book story I read all year (based on the writing AND the artwork of Darwyn Cooke) -- it's deserving of award nominations for Harveys, Eisners, or whatever other industry awards fit the category of "single-issue story", IMO.

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                          • I should add that to we fans of the pre-Flashpoint DCU, our expectation as readers of the New 52 stories is that the writers are going to rejigger and remix previously-established elements of a character's mythos. In my opinion, the way that has frequently been handled in the New 52 is ultimately either confusing, disrespectful of the character's history, or simply executed in a hamfisted manner and represents no improvement upon the originally-established elements of the mythos. Thus it is an unexpectedly pleasant surprise to see it handled with imagination and a degree of irony. Perhaps this is largely attributable to the fact that Palmiotti & Gray have an intimate understanding of both pre- and post-Flashpoint versions of the character (and I happen to be of the opinion that their stories have been even better and more entertaining than the pre-Crisis Hex stories), and because Jonah Hex, as a "historical figure" and "legend of the Old West" (from the POV of the modern New 52 universe) lends himself much better to such a variation on the mythos. As writers, P&G COULD have just let Fleischer's story stand as canon, but they saw an opportunity to address a story that perhaps should have been written out of the character's continuity some time ago, and came up with a unique way of doing so using the opportunity afforded by the New 52 reboot, one that both acknowledges the story and provides the excuse that the history books were simply wrong. There was just something about the execution of Fleischer's original ending to the Hex saga, "The Last Bounty Hunter", that seemed a little wrong, somehow -- in diametric opposition to the fact that just about ANY story drawn by Russ Heath seems to convince me of the writer's premise and delivery of the story.

                            Upon reading of the New 52's ALL STAR WESTERN premise of taking Hex out of his normal stomping grounds in the American Southwest and transplanting him to the 19th Century Gotham City, I was skeptical -- but Palmiotti & Gray made the stories entertaining and enjoyable, without any violation of Hex's pre-Flashpoint adventures. Upon hearing that Hex would again be involved in a time travel story, this time to the present-day New 52 Gotham City, I was again skeptical, and ready to drop the book in a heartbeat if it felt like it was a violation of the character, but again Palmiotti and Gray made the stories entertaining and consistent with Hex's character (despite the loss of Moritat, the artist since the first issue, after #27). Still, it was with some relief I felt when that arc finally concluded, if puzzlement over that status quo-changing element of Hex's now-handsome face after modern plastic surgery, back in his original time. If you'd asked me prior to "The Final Curtain" whether I thought Jonah's life should have a happy ending, I'd have said "Yeah, right." The fact that "The Final Curtain" is so cleverly written that it manages to change my opinion on that matter is what makes it something special. In retrospect, it seems like the entire run of ALL STAR WESTERN turned out to be about Palmiotti & Gray changing my opinion about "that doesn't seem like a very good idea".
                            Last edited by pulphero; 10-13-2014, 09:41 AM.

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                            • Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
                              If you want an EC-style version of Jonah's dead body more spookily approached, then again, the Secret Origins story (also by Fleisher) would fit the bill.

                              http://jonahhex.blogspot.com/2010/10...origin-of.html

                              How his corpse would still be around in the Hex series, I don't know. I find this ending to be quite satisfying: It suggests that in some way, even as a ghost, he does one final thing for someone whom he loved in his own way and who loved and remembered the man he really was, and he will be finally laid to rest properly. But the ending of the New 52 version is also good. One can enjoy both, after all.
                              Perhaps it's just a case of what a reader could accept in a comic book back then as believable (although whether it was believable really didn't apply to his SPECTRE series in Adventure Comics, since the character isn't believable by any stretch of the imagination, so the stories don't really need to be either), but while I generally enjoyed Fleischer's stories most of the time, he'd sometimes insert some element that would make me wince because I just couldn't buy it.

                              The SECRET ORIGINS story contains TWO* of those "I just don't buy it" elements for me, one of which he used before in "The Last Bounty Hunter" (although in that story, it isn't a crucial point, so why worry about it too much)... i.e. that someone displaying the taxidermied body of Hex is going to go to the trouble of carefully making sure that his "shootin' irons" are fully loaded with live bullets. It happens in "The Last Bounty Hunter" when Jonah's body is first being prepared for initial display to the public, and one of Farnham's assistants is killed as a result. But OK, fair enough. Farnham is a greedy, feckless promoter, it's 1904, and I guess maybe he's an idiot. But now ("now" being the 1980s in this case), Fleischer wants me to believe that this wasn't an isolated case of stupidity, that down through the decades, whoever displayed the stuffed body of the legendary bounty hunter was always careful (despite "accidents" like the one that earlier killed Farnham's assistant) to make sure those guns were loaded, and the safeties were off. WHY? "Well, we strive for authenticity here in this museum, sir! No one's going to want to come to see the famous gunfighter if his weapons aren't REAL and LOADED, now are they?" What hogwash. Yes, it's just a comic book. But contrary to what you might have heard, the readers of such things aren't complete idiots, such as Mr. Fleischer would try to convince us that museum owners are (or were, in the 1980s). But... the story doesn't work without that. Oh, well in that case, then just go ahead. I wouldn't want you to have to change your plot on account of such inconvenient, niggling details as realism and believeability, Mr. Fleischer. And again, IF it had been done as a story in the true horror tradition, you concede realism as not as important, as mood... and the twist ending... where some sort of poetic justice applies, and so forth. But that sort of thing has to be carefully set up in the story so that it builds up to that. Maybe that's why you overlook the unrealistic stuff in a typical SPECTRE story, but not a typical JONAH HEX story. And now that I think of it, you know what WOULD have made the story work, is if somehow it were hinted at that the Spectre had taken an unseen hand in all this. That sort of justice is right up his alley, so if it had somehow been intimated that the Spectre had helped Jonah's spirit achieve some kind of closure, while making sure that the bad guy got what was coming to him, that would have fit. If the Spectre's involved, it doesn't matter if the guns were loaded or not -- he just uses his powers of spectral payback to make it so. All that would have been necessary is to have tossed in one panel at the end with the phantom images of Spec and Jonah looming overhead in the background, to turn it into a kind of offbeat, unexpected Weird Adventure/Weird Western team-up.

                              And the other element is Tall Bird herself, who must be AT LEAST 120 years old at the time of this story taking place in the 1980s. Jonah doesn't have to worry about that kind of stuff, since he's... stuffed, but just for the record, he'd be pushing 150 if he weren't dead for the last 83 years.

                              *Well, THREE if you're considering the ghostly marksmanship of Hex's stuffed skinsack -- but you only get ONE "gimme", and that was it.
                              Last edited by pulphero; 10-13-2014, 05:39 PM.

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                              • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                                Perhaps it's just a case of what a reader could accept in a comic book back then as believable (although whether it was believable really didn't apply to his SPECTRE series in Adventure Comics, since the character isn't believable by any stretch of the imagination, so the stories don't really need to be either), but while I generally enjoyed Fleischer's stories most of the time, he'd sometimes insert some element that would make me wince because I just couldn't buy it.

                                The SECRET ORIGINS story contains TWO* of those "I just don't buy it" elements for me, one of which he used before in "The Last Bounty Hunter" (although in that story, it isn't a crucial point, so why worry about it too much)... i.e. that someone displaying the taxidermied body of Hex is going to go to the trouble of carefully making sure that his "shootin' irons" are fully loaded with live bullets. It happens in "The Last Bounty Hunter" when Jonah's body is first being prepared for initial display to the public, and one of Farnham's assistants is killed as a result. But OK, fair enough. Farnham is a greedy, feckless promoter, it's 1904, and I guess maybe he's an idiot. But now ("now" being the 1980s in this case), Fleischer wants me to believe that this wasn't an isolated case of stupidity, that down through the decades, whoever displayed the stuffed body of the legendary bounty hunter was always careful (despite "accidents" like the one that earlier killed Farnham's assistant) to make sure those guns were loaded, and the safeties were off. WHY? "Well, we strive for authenticity here in this museum, sir! No one's going to want to come to see the famous gunfighter if his weapons aren't REAL and LOADED, now are they?" What hogwash. Yes, it's just a comic book. But contrary to what you might have heard, the readers of such things aren't complete idiots, such as Mr. Fleischer would try to convince us that museum owners are (or were, in the 1980s). But... the story doesn't work without that. Oh, well in that case, then just go ahead. I wouldn't want you to have to change your plot on account of such inconvenient, niggling details as realism and believeability, Mr. Fleischer. And again, IF it had been done as a story in the true horror tradition, you concede realism as not as important, as mood... and the twist ending... where some sort of poetic justice applies, and so forth. But that sort of thing has to be carefully set up in the story so that it builds up to that. Maybe that's why you overlook the unrealistic stuff in a typical SPECTRE story, but not a typical JONAH HEX story.

                                And the other element is Tall Bird herself, who must be AT LEAST 120 years old at the time of this story taking place in the 1980s. Jonah doesn't have to worry about that kind of stuff, since he's... stuffed, but just for the record, he'd be pushing 150 if he weren't dead for the last 83 years.

                                *Well, THREE if you're considering the ghostly marksmanship of Hex's stuffed skinsack -- but you only get ONE "gimme", and that was it.
                                Hey, I like Jonah Hex like the next guy, BUT CAN WE GET BACK TO DISCUSSING HOW WE CAN MAKE THIS KING PROJECT A SUCCESS?

                                I know the tangent started with how DE was going to handle Prince Valiant time flung into the 21st century and/or how to preserve the great stories that can be told in his past. How will Val handle the 21st century? How magic is the Singing Sword? Will Val's experience on the Round Table influence this grouping of heroes as a team (like the Defenders of the Earth team) or a non-team (like the old Defenders from Marvel was supposed to be taking in whoever or whomever they need or can get--Hulk most issues, Namor some, Moon Knight for a mission, etc.)?

                                More importantly, how can we support DE in promoting this great project? I like these characters and want this project to succeed.

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