Saturday, December 07, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 341: Uh, Jonah, you got a little..on your, the other side...yeah, right, over to the...

House ads for All-Star Western (1970 series) #10 (February-March 1972);
(top) printed in Batman #237 (December 1971); (bottom) printed in Our Army at War #240 (January 1972)
Ad art: pencils and inks by Tony DeZuñiga
Ad designed by Sol Harrison (?) or Ben Oda (?); lettered by Gaspar Saladino Ben Oda

What was dramatically and visually different about Jonah Hex wasn't immediately apparent, because the cover of his first appearance...

Cover of All-Star Western #10, pencils and inks by Tony DeZuñiga, letters by Ben Oda Gaspar Saladino

...and throughout the first half of that debut story, Jonah's face is shown in half-shadow, either hiding or obscuring the right-hand side of his face:

Panels from "Welcome to Paradise " in All-Star Western #10, script by John Albano, pencils and inks by Tony DeZuñiga, letters by Ben Oda

...until this dramatic reveal, which, even though I've never seen the Jonah Hex movie, is probably accompanied by a lightning flash and clap of thunder:

AIIIEEEE LOOKS LIKE THAT SAFETY RAZOR GOT AWAY FROM HIM us a protagonist whose face, unlike the cowboy comic stars of the past, mirrored the violence of his history and his surroundings. It seems to be a solid and well-handled reaction in comics to the rise of Spaghetti Westerns. By Jonah's second appearance in comic books there's no hiding his disfigurement on the cover (although it's kept in shadow again during the first half of the story itself):

Cover of All-Star Western #11 (April-May 1972); pencils by Tony DeZuñiga; inks by DeZuñiga (?), Alfredo Alcala (?) and/or Nestor Redondo (?)

In the comic featuring Hex's third appearance, the mail has started to pour in wildly praising this new character. But read the short editorial comments at the end (in italics), and you'll realize that All-Star Western was virtually staggering and on its last legs: ASW was on the verge of being cancelled. In fact...and here's the ironic part, Alanis...this very editorial telling you that ASW might soon end, actually is printed in...

...All Star Western #11's replacement title, Weird Western Tales #12:

Cover of Weird Western Tales #12 (June-July 1972), pencils and inks by Joe Kubert

The newly renamed Weird Western Tales (probably given this title to match the recently-premiered Weird War Tales) lasted fifty-eight more issues, which is pretty much a complete U-turn on a Horse™ from being so close to cancellation you were being begged to buy it. And I'm pretty sure that people were buying it then, and I'm almost certain (not that I'm a betting bull...I'm not allowed...) the reason for that is Jonah Hex. Hex headlined WWT through issue #38 in '77, at which point he received his own series and #1 issue (Scalphunter took over WWT). Jonah Hex the series lasted for 92 issues, a most respectable run in the superhero-focused 1980s, until it was cancelled concurrent with Crisis on Infinite Earths. Our favorite bounty hunter with a big, big blemish returned fairly quickly in the oddball but cult favorite Hex, which shot Jonah into the far future where he faced off against gangs of the apocalypse and Keith Giffen's increasingly offbeat artwork. In fact, the only non-superhero comic book (I'm counting space heroes and magical heroes as superheroes, now) in DC's New 52 is the revived All Star Western (no hyphen in the title this time, which shows you how up to date it is...we don't need your stinkin' hyphens in the 21st Century!). Nu52-ASW has starred Jonah Hex since issue one and it's still ongoing now (and currently features Jonah time transplanted into the year 2013). As America's sole surviving regularly published western star, i doff my half-gallon hat to Mister Hex and offer to buy him a mug of root beer at the saloon of his choice. Here's tuh yuh, Jonah.

Oh, and in case you're wondering about that ad up there waaaaay at the top for DC's advertising representative S. Schwartz & Co....

...his first name was Sanford.


SallyP said...

Luv, luv luv Jonah Hex.

Blam said...

Strick that; reverse it: The cover of All-Star Western#10 was lettered by Gaspar but those ads you open with appear to be lettered by Ben Oda — and perhaps designed by him, too, although it's possibly that Sol Harrison or whomever laid them out with indications for copy.

Bully said...

Thanks as always, Blam!