Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Self-Pub Progress Report #5

I'm happy to report that we're in the home stretch: I've uploaded the manuscript, and Matt Erkhart is hoping to have the cover all spiffed up in the next couple of days.  When that's done, I have to order a "proof", which is a sample of the book I can look over to make sure everything comes out right when it comes off the printing press.  This is a necessary step that can't be skipped, and it'll add a little more delay since the proof has to be mailed to me (though I plan on asking for express shipping!).  Once I approve it, CreateSpace should have it up for purchase within 3-5 days.  So while that means it won't be available until December, y'all should have ample time to order it before Christmas.

Speaking of holiday shopping, Matt will be a guest at the Holiday Edition of the Ottawa Comiccon this very weekend (November 26-27)!  If you're at the show, be sure to stop by and say hello, and feel free to spend all your money at his table.  Learn more about the event at https://www.facebook.com/events/990554204387687/

Swords & Sixguns: An Outlaw's Tale is almost here, folks, so start clearing a spot on your bookshelf!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An Illustrated History of Jonah Hex (Appendix B)



Appendix B: The Hex Family Tree

*Note: This section contains references to stories not yet covered
in the main history project.*

In the Dick Giordano "Meanwhile" column appearing in some DC titles cover-dated August 1983, there was a sidebar titled "Spotlight on...Jonah Hex", which talked about what set this comic apart from others.  It mentioned that giving Jonah such a nuanced life over the course of the title's run had resulted in many stories "steadfastly ignoring many of commercial comics' most passionately defended dogmas: that a title character must never marry or divorce, or, if he does marry, that his bride should have the decency to get herself murdered at the earliest opportunity; that the hero's parents should be conveniently dead so that he won't have to bother working out an adult relationship with them", along with a few other rule-breaking offenses.  And while there was a period where things did loosen up, that "dogma" is still in effect for the most part, with a few notable comic-book marriages getting retconned out of existence in the past decade or so, and an attempt to reverse the death of a certain speedster's mom resulted in the known universe warping out of shape...a not-so-subtle way of enforcing the notion that the entire genre is better off when parents stay dead.

There are some in the industry who believe that, by giving characters a spouse and/or children, you make said character appear "old", and therefore a younger audience cannot relate to them, hence why most superheroes remain single, and many children in the picture tend to be of the "nephew/niece" variety or adopted.  Thankfully, in the three decades since that "Meanwhile" column was published, not only has the record of Jonah Hex's marriage to Mei Ling remained intact -- there's a lovely scene in 2012's All-Star Western #9 where Jonah busts Dr. Arkham's nose for inquiring about it -- he's also fathered more offspring, and though the bounty hunter's parents have since passed on, a couple more generations of Hexes have been unearthed, in both the 19th and 21st Century.  After all these years, Jonah is still thumbing his nose at those "passionately defended dogmas", and it doesn't appear that he'll stop doing so anytime soon.

The following is a list of all of Jonah Hex's known relatives (and for the sake of clarity, we're only dealing with the comics here, so there's no entries for the wife and child seen in the Jonah Hex feature film).  The information is scant on some, but we'll fill in what details we can, beginning at the roots of his family tree...

"Grandpa Hex" (full name unknown, paternal grandfather): Virtually nothing is known about Jonah's ancestry beyond his parents.  His particular branch of the Hex clan may have arrived in America only a couple of generations earlier, or it might stretch all the way back to one of the first settlements in the 16th Century.  Even his name holds few clues as to what nationality he may be descended from: according to Forebears.io, the surname "Hex" can be found in numerous countries, with some of the highest concentrations outside of the U.S. these days being in South Africa, Belgium, and England.  However, when we take into account that some immigrants "Americanized" their names upon landing in the New World, the possibilities expand even further (e.g. the surname "Heux" would add France and the Netherlands to the mix).

We'll have to presume Jonah's grandfather bore the name proper as opposed to a variation, since the man only rates a passing mention in Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #42.  During a flashback sequence where Jonah's father is trying to toughen him up, Woodson Hex tells the boy, "Yer grandfather had genuine grit back in the day, Jonah.  'Bout the only nice thing Ah can say about the bastard.  Some say he was possessed by the Devil himself.  Day he departed this life, Ah went ta town an' tied one on.  Met yer mother that day."  So it appears that orneriness runs in the Hex family, and there's a good chance Woodson also endured his fair share of abuse as a boy.  It's not known if either of those facts had any bearing on the death of "Grandpa Hex".

Woodson Hex (father): From the very first time he appeared on-panel in Jonah Hex #7, it was obvious that Jonah's pa had few redeeming qualities.  An abusive drunkard who proudly dubbed himself "the craftiest Hex" on more than one occasion, Woodson's life before his marriage to Ginny is a mystery.  According to All-Star Western #0, the couple was homesteading in Missouri by the time Jonah was born, and appeared to be doing well enough, but things apparently took a turn for the worse not long after: in a scene where the boy appeared to be about eight years old, Woodson groused that "The animals got sick, the crops don't grow...it's bad luck is all!"  Ginny then berated him for doing nothing but drink and gamble for the past six years, a complaint that caused Woodson to lash out at both wife and son.  We can presume that, at some point afterward, they sold the Missouri homestead -- being the only thing of value they had left -- and moved to Colorado, where both Woodson's drinking and his abusive behavior towards his family intensified.  However, there were brief moments when he actually played the part of a caring father, albeit in strange ways.  In Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #63, Woodson helped to track down a child-killer who nearly got a hold of his son, and in the aforementioned JHv2#42, he whupped the tar out of three boys that beat up young Jonah, telling him later on, "Nuthin' should humiliate ya more than havin' yer father fight yer battles!"  He truly believed that all the physical and verbal abuse he heaped upon the boy would make him stronger (and in a way, he turned out to be right).

In June 1848, Ginny abandoned her husband, leaving him to raise Jonah alone, a situation probably made even more distasteful by the fact that Woodson never wanted children in the first place.  By this point, Woodson's only visible source of income was selling alcohol to Indians, and he soon got it into his head that there were better ways to make money, namely head out to California and pan for gold.  He also decided that the boy would be more hindrance than help, so in July 1851, he sold Jonah to an Apache tribe, either to raise a grubstake (JH#7) or to pay for passage through their territory (Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #14 and ASW#0).  If Woodson made any sort of fortune in the Gold Rush, he spent it quickly, because it seems he spent the rest of his life bouncing from one crooked scheme to the next.  There's an undated incident in the Jonah Hex: No Way Back graphic novel that detailed how a middle-aged Woodson -- presumably at some point after he'd went bust in California -- nearly wiped out the family of a young El Papagayo, all to lay claim on the parrots they raised to sell in Mexico City.  When Jonah encountered his father 25 years after Woodson had left the boy with the Apache -- as seen in Jonah Hex #20 -- the old man was partaking in a scheme to steal $250,000 in gold coins, and a later encounter in Jonah Hex #34 showed Woodson turning a ghost town into a "haven for owlhoots", as well as planning a train robbery.

It's wasn't until the very end of his life that Woodson Hex finally obtained the riches he'd been pursuing for so long.  In Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #69, we find out that Woodson had spent the last five years prospecting for gold, as well as trying to forget the family he'd lost.  A lucky strike at the claim he'd been working brought the attention of some unsavory types, who followed him out to the desert with intent to kill him.  Woodson killed them all instead, but not before they'd gutshot him.  As he lay dying, Jonah found him, and sat by as Woodson breathed his last.  "The craftiest Hex" was buried by his son in the middle of the desert, a pile of gold nuggets marking the grave.

Virginia "Ginny" Hex (later Dazzleby, mother): The information on Jonah's ma is scant, partially due to her not appearing on-panel until the Hex story featured in 1980's Super-Star Holiday Special, eight years after Jonah's own debut.  As with Woodson, we don't know exactly what sort of life Ginny led prior to her marriage, but there's strong hints that it may have been less than reputable.  Woodson commented in JHv2#42 that he met Ginny when he'd gone to town and "tied one on" (i.e. got drunk) the same day his father died.  There were also countless times throughout both Fleisher's and Palmiotti & Gray's runs when Ginny was referred to as a tramp or a whore.  What if that wasn't just talk?  There is a possibility that she was a former "soiled dove" who tried to escape her frowned-upon career by marrying a man who treated her kindly (at least in the beginning).  If that's the case, she never fully escaped her past, as there are  intimations that she slept with other men during her marriage to Woodson, though this may have less to do with her being a former whore and more to do with a longing to feel loved while trapped in an abusive relationship.

Jonah Hex #57 contains the first telling of her departure from Jonah's life: in June 1848, Ginny left the Hex farm with a traveling salesman named Preston W. Dazzleby, who must've represented to Ginny a chance at a much better life, or at least a safer one.  Unfortunately, Jonah wasn't welcome in this new life...a decision that would haunt Ginny for years to come, it was later revealed in the Jonah Hex: No Way Back graphic novel.  "She used to wake up screaming in the middle of the night," Jonah's half-brother told him not long after they met.  "I never knew whom she meant when she said 'Jonah'.  I could hear her weeping in her room, asking for forgiveness."  Ironically, the guilt would drive Ginny to the bottle, and one night, she left her second husband without warning.  According to Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #25, there was a record of her becoming a prostitute following her marriage to Dazzleby, by the time Jonah sees her in JH#57 -- which took place 27 years after she'd left him -- Ginny was living in squalor and in serious debt.  While Jonah did take care of the debt for her (in his own special manner, of course) and gave her some extra money besides, he made no attempt to rescue his mother from the decrepit surroundings he found her in.  Whether he saw it as a form of punishment or a realization that such efforts would be for naught is uncertain.

Sometime later, when a false murder change was pinned upon Ginny, Jonah sought her out, only to find that she was being used by El Papagayo as a lure.  Jonah was able to save her from Papagayo's men, but not from herself: gravely ill and desperate for a drink, Ginny was so far gone that she didn't even recognize Jonah when he came into her room, calling him the Devil and saying her first son died when he was still a boy.  She then told Jonah about her second son, Joshua Dazzleby, who was "doing God's work in Heaven's Gate, Colorado," but before Jonah could question her further about this revelation, she passed away.  Ever the dutiful son, Jonah made a coffin for her and brought her body to Heaven's Gate for a proper burial.

Preston W. Dazzleby (stepfather): A traveling salesman with loads of charm, Dazzleby was first seen in JH#57, when he wooed Ginny Hex into leaving her husband and son behind.  It wasn't known at the time if he actually had any intentions of staying with her or if this was just going to be a brief fling before leaving her somewhere, but No Way Back eventually filled us in.  Turned out that Dazzleby not only married Ginny, but they had a son together, and apparently he did his best to give them both a good home.  When their boy was ten, Dazzleby sent him to live with an aunt back East so he could get a proper education, though there may have been a secondary motive, namely trying to shelter the boy from Ginny's deteriorating condition.  At some point afterward, Ginny left Dazzleby without warning, and he later told the boy that "she'd fallen prey to drink and sin".  What became of the man in later years is unknown: going by his son's statement of "I have no family left to me" upon meeting his half-brother Jonah, it can be presumed that Preston Dazzleby died at some point prior to that meeting.

Joshua Dazzleby (half-brother): "I find it so hard to believe there's any blood between you and that man," Joshua's wife told him in regards to Jonah Hex, and indeed, the two men have very little in common save for their mother.  Appearing only in No Way Back, Joshua Dazzleby presumably came into the world within the first few years of Ginny and Preston Dazzleby's marriage, and grew up in a household far more sedate than the one Jonah was exposed to.  The only apparent disruption was the nightmares his mother suffered due to the many years of abuse she'd suffered in her first marriage, as well as guilt over leaving her oldest son behind.  When young Joshua asked his father about the name she'd sometimes scream in the night, the elder Dazzleby said she was dreaming about the Jonah from the Bible...a lie that led to Joshua reading the Good Book for the first time, and later to him becoming a preacher.

At age ten, Joshua was sent East to live with an aunt and further his education -- by the time his studies were done and he returned home, Ginny was gone.  Though it's not said directly, there's a chance that Joshua tracked down his mother to try and bring her home, for he remarked to Jonah that the last time he saw her "she was drunk and in such a state that I feared for her mortal soul".  Joshua eventually married and had three sons of his own, and he also became both the sheriff and preacher in a religious community called Heaven's Gate, possibly located in what would now be Pueblo County, Colorado.  It was most likely a peaceful, idyllic life right up until Jonah Hex showed up with their mother's body in a coffin.  Though shocked to discover that Ginny had left both a husband and son behind many years ago to marry his father, Joshua did his best to be cordial to his half-brother, no matter how coarse his behavior.  But when El Papagayo and his men rode into Heaven's Gate, Joshua tried to turn Hex over to them in order to spare the town.  Unfortunately, he also let slip that he and Jonah were related, a confession that earned him a bullet in the shoulder from Papagayo, and Jonah had to kill the bandito on the spot to save Joshua and his family.

After healing from his wounds, Jonah departed Heaven's Gate, and though Joshua apologized for what he'd tried to do and told Jonah he was welcome to return anytime, it's not likely the two men ever crossed paths again.  It's not known what became of Joshua and his family, nor can we be certain if any later generations of the Dazzleby clan are aware of their blood connection to the bounty hunter.

Deborah Dazzleby (sister-in-law): Though she only had a handful of lines in No Way Back, Deborah appeared to be a very kind woman, devoted to her family as well as her faith.  She married Joshua when she was only thirteen (a fact that didn't sit well with Jonah), and bore him three sons.  When tensions rose at the supper table between her husband and Hex, Deborah immediately stepped in to try and defuse the situation, and though she couldn't completely smooth things over, Jonah did tell her that he appreciated both her hospitality and understanding...high praise from a man who rarely spoke in such a way.

"The Dazzleby boys" (nephews): Though it's shown in Jonah Hex: No Way Back that Joshua and Deborah have three sons, only two are named.  The oldest, Abraham, was seven at the time the story took place, and the youngest, Eli, was three (we can presume the middle, unnamed son was about five).  There wasn't much interaction with the three boys, save for the supper scene: Abraham asked what happened to Hex's face (and Hex went ahead and told him outright!), and Eli began spouting off random words -- "Tree!  Cat!  Bird!  Food!  Seven!" -- after his father asked Hex to say grace.  The middle son never made a peep, but that's the way it goes, ain't it?  The oldest and the youngest get all the attention, and the middle kid gets ignored.

"Aunt Aretha" (full name unknown, aunt): This comes from a throwaway line in Jonah Hex #36, during a scene where Jonah is rescuing a woman hanging from a broken rope bridge.  As he makes his way towards her, he says, "Now don't go gettin' hysterical on me, m'am!  Ah remember muh Aunt Aretha alluz used tuh get hysterical at the drop of a hat!  Ever' time she did it, it useta make me feel all fidgety!"  We'll have to take Jonah at his word that there really was an Aunt Aretha, since there's no record of either of his parents having siblings.  He could also be referring to a great-aunt, or a close family friend upon whom the moniker was bestowed.  With no last name stated, it's impossible to narrow it down.


Ko-Tante (adoptive father): Though he first appeared in Jonah Hex #7, thirty-seven years passed before Ko-Tante was given a proper name in All-Star Western #28.  The chief of an Apache tribe which (according to JHv2#14) lived in Arizona's Black Hills territory, Ko-Tante bought Jonah as a slave from Woodson Hex in July 1851.  Despite the boy's lowly status, the chief did make sure he was treated fairly, going to far as to discipline his birth son, Noh-Tante, when the young Apache stabbed Jonah during a sparring match (as seen in Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #56).  In 1853, Ko-Tante was attacked by a puma, and Jonah bravely stepped in to save the man who kept him enslaved.  In recognition of this act, Ko-Tante freed Jonah and adopted him into the tribe.  Within a year, however, the chief would be told by Noh-Tante that Jonah had been killed during a raid on a Kiowa camp -- in truth, Noh-Tante had left him behind to die, but since his father had no reason to doubt his son's word, Ko-Tante did not question him.

By 1866 -- as first seen in Jonah Hex #8 -- Jonah had found the tribe once again and laid his charges against Noh-Tante.  The chief declared the two men must face each other in trial-by-combat, unaware that his birth son had arranged for Jonah to be given a defective tomahawk, which broke in the middle of fighting.  Deprived of his weapon, Jonah pulled a knife and killed Noh-Tante, but the chief thought Jonah cheated without cause, and had him branded with "The Mark of the Demon" as punishment.  Ko-Tante then banished his adoptive son, telling Jonah that he'd be killed should he ever dare to return.  Eight years later, Jonah knowingly risked his life and entered the tribe's camp once more, this time to rescue a young woman Ko-Tante's people had kidnapped in retribution for all the injustices visited upon them by white men.  Faced with no other choice, Jonah shot and killed Ko-Tante in order to save himself and the woman, thereby making himself a pariah in the eyes of all Apache for the rest of his days.

Noh-Tante (adoptive brother):
From the first time they laid eyes on each other in JH#7, Noh-Tante hated Jonah Hex.  Seeing him as just another murderous white man, the young Apache never missed an opportunity to wound or humiliate the boy who'd been enslaved to them.  When an Apache girl named White Fawn began consorting with Jonah, Noh-Tante was enraged, and his attitude didn't improve once his father, Ko-Tante, adopted Jonah as second son after the young man saved the chief's life.  In 1854, while Jonah and Noh-Tante raided a Kiowa camp to steal horses, Noh-Tante attacked Jonah and left him for dead at the hands of the vengeful Kiowa.  Believing his hated enemy gone forever, Noh-Tante told the other Apache Jonah had been killed and, some time later, took White Fawn as his wife, though whether he actually loved her or merely wanted to spite Jonah by taking his beloved is unknown.

When Jonah showed up alive twelve years later and accused Noh-Tante of betraying him, the Apache warrior called him a liar, and the two men faced each other in combat, just as they'd done in their youth.  But Noh-Tante was as treacherous as ever, and made sure Jonah was given a broken tomahawk...but Noh-Tante didn't know that, while on the verge of killing his hated white brother, Jonah would pull out a knife and stab him in the chest.  Noh-Tante died immediately, unaware that his father would soon declare him the victor and banish Jonah from the tribe for his actions.

White Fawn (sister-in-law): As Jonah's first love, White Fawn would always hold a special place n his heart.  The young Apache girl appeared briefly in JH#7, hanging on the arm of a teenage Jonah not long after he was made a member of the tribe.  In JHv2#56, we find out that she'd befriended him a couple of years earlier, helping him learn to speak Apache and tending the wounds inflicted upon him by Noh-Tante (the latter of which earned her some abuse as well from the Apache warrior).  Once Jonah was adopted by the chief, their romance blossomed, only to be cut short by Noh-Tante's machinations when he told the tribe Jonah had been killed by the Kiowa.  Later on, Noh-Tante bought White Fawn from her father and made her his bride.  It's not known if she bore any children for him, but they were together for twelve years before Jonah returned to the tribe alive and well.  When the trial-by-combat was declared by Ko-Tante, White Fawn begged Jonah not to fight, telling him in Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #15, "Even if you win, I cannot be with you."  Jonah refused to listen, though, and paid the price when he was literally marked for dishonorably killing Noh-Tante with a knife.


When Jonah returned to the tribe in 1874 to rescue a young woman they'd kidnapped, White Fawn proved that, despite what he'd done to Noh-Tante, her love for Jonah still burned strong in her heart.  Well aware that she'd never be able to return to her people, she freed both the captive woman and Jonah, but White Fawn was killed by an arrow fired by Ko-Tante before they could get away.  Jonah shot and killed Ko-Tante before making his escape, leaving White Fawn's body behind.  Despite her betrayal, she was apparently given a proper Apache burial by the tribe, and the land that her grave rested upon was later purchased by Jonah himself, who would attend to it at least once a year (as seen in JHv2#56).

Mei Ling Hex (first wife): When you read her first appearance in Jonah Hex #23, there's no hint anywhere that Mei Ling would later become one of the most important people in Jonah's life.  Once told by her father that she was "too headstrong for any man" -- as related in Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #61 -- Mei Ling dared to vent her anger directly upon Hex after her father was killed, blaming the bounty hunter for failing to act in time.  Perhaps her fearlessness was what attracted Jonah to her, but Mei Ling rejected Jonah's advances at first because of the senseless violence that followed in his wake.  It wasn't until they ran into each other again in Jonah Hex #42 that Mei Ling agreed to be with him...if he'd agree to give up bounty-hunting.  After getting married in Jonah Hex #45, the newlyweds settled down on their own little piece of land did their best to lead a peaceable life, a task made impossible when one threat after another kept coming their way, causing Jonah to pick up his guns over and over again, much to Mei Ling's frustration.

They managed to stay together for nearly a year, but not long after the birth of their son, Mei Ling decided she'd had enough.  It wasn't just the violence, but also what she saw as a lack of caring about both her and their son.  In Jonah Hex #53, Mei Ling took the baby and left, eventually ending up at the home of her brother and his wife, not far from the town of Feldon's Gap, where she and Jonah had gotten married.  Roughly two years later, Mei Ling fell into a relationship with Marshall J.D. Hart, starting in Jonah Hex #81: being a proper agent of the law, not a bounty hunter, Hart knew when to show restraint when it came to violence.  Unfortunately, their relationship was short-lived, as Hart was killed by an upstart gunfighter in Jonah Hex #90.

While we do know that Mei Ling passed away at some point prior to 1899 -- as learned in Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #25 -- there are no other details available.  We can only hope that, following Hart's death, she was able to find happiness again.

"Baba Mei" (full name unknown, father-in-law) : As with Jonah's grandfather, Mei Ling's father was never given a specific name -- for the record, "baba" is an informal way of saying "father" in Mandarin -- but at least he got a few on-panel appearances in JH#23 so we know what he looked like.  Apparently a man of great import among the small Chinese community they lived in, Mei took it upon himself to try and hire Jonah Hex to avenge the "great evil" that had visited upon them, namely the slaughter of numerous Chinese railroad workers by their white bosses.  Since Mei could only offer him $30 for the job, Jonah turned him down, but later witnessed one of the bosses gunning down Mei in the middle of the street.  Little did Mei know that his death would bring his daughter and the bounty hunter together.

"Mama Mei" (full name unknown, mother-in-law): Rating only a single-panel appearance in JH#23 -- where she merely walked into the room and told her daughter that Jonah had come to see her -- there's not much to say in regards to Mei Ling's mother.  She's never even mentioned by any of her children in subsequent stories, so one has to presume that she died off-panel at some point after JH#23.

 "Miscellaneous Mei siblings" (full names unknown, possible in-laws): This one is a bit confusing, since so few people in Mei Ling's family were given proper names.  In JH#23, after the railroad workers were killed, a young man named Wing showed up at the Mei household, saying, "I must see your father, Mei Ling!  A-at once!"  Her father referred to Wing as "my son", but we can presume by the previous dialogue that this was more of an honorific, and Wing wasn't actually his son.  A few panels later, a second man showed up: once again, the phrase "my son" was used, plus this new person addressed the elder Mei as "father", so unless this was more honorifics at play here, this second man was Mei Ling's brother.  But wait, there's possibly more!  Later on, when they're mourning the death of "Baba Mei", a third unknown person is there, virtually squeezed out of the lefthand side of the panel.  It's almost impossible to tell if this was a man or a woman, not to mention that this might just be a close family friend and not a relative at all.  And then there's an offhand remark made by Mei Ling in JHv2#61, while she's chewing out Jonah for his desire to fight: "My father and brother were murdered back in San Francisco!  I don't want that to happen to you!"  At least nine workers were killed on-panel in JH#23, so presumably this brother Mei Ling mentioned was among them.  Like I said, it's confusing.

Mei Wong (brother-in-law): First appearing in Jonah Hex #45, Mei Wong apparently decided to take a different path in life from the rest of his family, becoming a farmer on a small plot of land near the town of Feldon's Gap.  The moment he found out about his sister's plans to marry Jonah, he disowned her, but he must've softened his position later on, because after Mei Ling left Jonah, he took her and her son in.  He never stopped disapproving of her decision to marry a murderous Occidental, though, reminding her of it every chance he got.  It's not known what became of Mei Wong in later years.

Mei Song (sister-in-law): Her husband did the majority of the talking in their relationship, so there's not much to list about Mei Song, who first showed up in JH#45 alongside Mei Wong.  It's not even known if the two of them ever had children, as none are ever seen on-panel.

Jason Hex (son): First coming into the world in Jonah Hex #51, the boy's name wasn't said on-panel until Jonah Hex #78 (where he was said to be nearly two years old).  Jason grew up with two clouds hanging over him: the stigma of being a mixed-race child in the 19th Century, and having a notorious gunfighter for a father.  Though we have no exact record of what sort of troubles this may have caused, it did appear to have influenced his decision to move to Mexico.  As a grownup Jason said in Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #25, "Mexicans aren't as opposed to my mixed blood as a lot of folk are up north."  By 1899, Jason was working as a tracker and helping out the Guardia Rural when he ran into his father, who pretended not know who Jason was.  The young man figured it out immediately, though, and did his best to get the man to open up. But  Jonah apparently agreed with Mei Ling's decision from long ago, that the boy would be better off not knowing him, and left before Jason could even tell the man he now had a child of his own.

Jason's life beyond this chance meeting in 1899 is unknown.  The only information we have is a scene from Secret Origins #21, where a historian asked Jonah's widow, Tall Bird, what she knew about Jason Hex.  She refused to answer, telling him only that "his is a tale so fraught with horror that I have vowed to carry it within me, in secret, to the end of my days."  Since Jonah died in 1904, and Tall Bird's statement implies that Jason himself passed away, we'll have to presume that it occurred somewhere within that five-year period.

"Mrs. Jason Hex" (full name unknown, possible daughter-in-law): In the final pages of JHv2#25, Jason was shown standing with a young woman holding a baby.  It's never said if she was Jason's wife, but since we do know that he fathered a child, it seems likely that he did the decent thing and married her.

Woodson Hex II (grandson): Referred to in JHv2#25 as Jonah's "alleged grandson", the second person to bear the name Woodson Hex is presumed to be the child of Jason Hex, as seen at the end of the very same issue.  All that's known about Woodson is that he worked as a bounty hunter and private detective in the 1930s-40s, and he wrote a book titled An Oral History on the Old West, wherein he recorded all that he knew (or was willing to tell) about his family's legacy.

"Baby Girl Black-Hex" (unnamed daughter): Though her life was terribly brief, she made an enormous impact upon her parents' lives.  It's revealed in Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #50 that, after a heated night of passion with Jonah, Tallulah Black realized she was pregnant, but rather than tell Jonah about it, she rode off and tried to leave her old life behind her.  She took up residence in the town of Silver Springs, unaware that one of the residents -- and woman named Abigail -- would eventually be gripped by a religious mania centering around Tallulah and her unborn child.  On the night Tallulah went into labor, Abigail cut the baby out of her and went on the run with it.  By this point, Jonah had found Tallulah and learned of his daughter's existence, but by the time he tracked down Abigail, the baby was already dead (the exact cause was never revealed, but we do know the baby was still alive when Abigail left Silver Springs).  Placing her in a tiny coffin, Jonah brought the baby home to Tallulah, then left.  The incident caused a rift between the two of them that didn't heal for many years.

Though it wouldn't be known for certain until Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #70, it appears that the baby's tragic death caused her spirit to be rather restless, and she paid many a visit to her parents without them realizing her true identity.  It first time was in Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #16, before Jonah and Tallulah even met.  A girl of about eight years of age came across Jonah and a hanged man in a clearing.  After telling Jonah that letting the hanged man struggle is "not very Christian", she yanked on the man's legs to snap his neck, then walked away.  Later on, she found Tallulah Black laying half-dead and asked if the woman would like to come along and join her for supper -- Tallulah replied that she had graves to dig, and the girl left.  In Jonah Hex (vol. 2) #17, the girl once again appeared to Tallulah when she was near death, asking her to come along, but Tallulah refused.  The girl appeared to Tallulah a third time in JHv2#50, after the baby was ripped from her womb, and though Tallulah asked outright who she was, the girl didn't answer.  In JHv2#70, when Jonah had his own trip to the afterlife, the girl was more forthcoming, not only referring to Jonah as "Daddy", but asking him to give her a name (she has yet to receive one).

Unfortunately, due to a lack of dating evidence, we cannot say for certain whether Jonah's daughter came into the world before or after Jason Hex was born.  I'm placing her below Jason on this list simply because we learned about her much later in Jonah's history, so in a sense she is the "younger" child.

Tall Bird Hex (second wife):
With only two appearances -- the Jonah Hex Spectacular and Secret Origins #21 -- there's very little information available on Tall Bird.  We know that her marriage to Jonah was never officially recorded, as she's referred to as his common-law wife in SO#21.  Though common-law marriages have never been permitted in the state of Wyoming (the couple lived in Cheyenne at the time of his death), the practice does exist among Native American tribes, and since Tall Bird was a Comanche, it's likely they were married in a ceremony conducted by her people.  It's not known how or when they met, though going by the events of JHv2#25, we can presume Jonah settled down with her at some point after 1899.  Her exact age at the time of Jonah's death isn't known, but she was young enough to be mistaken for Jonah's daughter in the Spectacular.  Add in the assessment in SO#21 that she was -- in 1987 -- about 100 years old, and that would make her possibly as young as 17 in 1904.

It's plain to see in the Spectacular that the couple loved each other dearly: though he told her little regarding it, Jonah trusted her enough to confide in her about his trip to the future, and Tall Bird seemed immensely proud of his warrior spirit.  All that just makes it even more of a tragedy that his body was stolen from her by Lew Farnham after Jonah died.  Though it was believed for decades that Tall Bird died herself when their cabin burned down, she apparently made it out alive, though whether she sustained any serious injuries is unknown: she was shown in a wheelchair in SO#21, but this might've been due to old age as opposed to a lifelong disability.  There's no record of her life between 1904 and 1987, but at some point prior to Jonah's corpse being found, Tall Bird was relocated to Gray Eagle Indian Reservation (in truth, no reservation by that name is known to have existed).  Despite her advanced age, she challenged the amusement park that currently owned the corpse for custody, for she was still intent on laying Jonah upon a funeral pyre and freeing his spirit.  However, since the corpse continued to be spotted in various locations in the years after SO#21, we'll have to presume she was unsuccessful in claiming it.  Tall Bird's final fate is unknown.

"Lady Hex" (full name unknown, possible descendant): This enigmatic gal is one of only two modern-day contenders for inclusion in the Hex family tree.  First appearing in Superboy #54 -- and referred to only as "Hex" throughout the entirety of her brief career -- she started off as a hot-tempered supermodel featured in a photo shoot alongside Paris's Left Bank, then revealed a decidedly different side to her personality in Superboy #55 when, after suffering a severe wound to her face, she began talking like Jonah Hex and shooting owlhoots with a psionically-charged pistol.  By the time of her last appearance in Superboy #75, she'd decided to take up bounty-hunting, but we were no closer to understanding who she truly was. The only thing we know about the life of "Lady Hex" prior to her first appearance is that she came on the modeling scene out of nowhere, and refused representation by any agency.  She had no inkling as to how or why she was channeling Jonah Hex or where her powers came from, though she suspected that the shadowy organization known as the Agenda had something to do with both.  She also never claimed to be related to Jonah Hex in any way, but the idea of her being a blood relation to the bounty hunter is one of the few possible explanations open to us, so that earns her a spot of this list.

Chastity Hex (possible descendant): Debuting in issue #2 of the 2015 Bizarro miniseries, this little lady actually did some investigating into whether or not she and Jonah Hex are kin, but couldn't say for certain.  As Chastity herself put it, "They only let you search so much on Geneology.com before you gotta subscribe."  Such doubts didn't stop her from taking up the family business of bounty-hunting, though, even going so far as to dress the part by donning twin six-shooters and a Confederate-gray hat (which the ghost of Jonah Hex approved of when they ran into each other!).  As fearless as her forebears and just as formidable with weaponry, Chastity came to the rescue of Bizarro and his "worstest friend" Jimmy Olsen throughout the miniseries, eventually scoring a jetpack and a pair of ray-guns straight from Area 51 by the end of it.  She was last seen heading out to see the galaxy with a some new alien friends...and maybe if we're lucky, Chastity Hex will return one day to continue the Hex legacy here on Earth.


<< Part 14  |  Index  |  Part 15 (coming 2017)
Appendix A

Monday, October 31, 2016

Self-Pub Progress Report #4

Well, here we are, the last day in October, and we're still prepping Swords & Sixguns for publication. I do apologize for all the delays, and I want to reassure you that we are hard at work getting everything ready, it's just that life gets in the way sometimes (this is why we put "Fall 2016" on the flyers and not "October 2016"). I've been splitting my time between book work, blog work, and paying-job work, while my cover artist Matt Erkhart has been kept away from the drawing board by some personal matters. On the upside, yesterday he sent me the interior art I needed, so now I can finish uploading the manuscript to CreateSpace. With luck, we'll have the cover done soon, and then we can wrap up the whole thing with a pretty little bow and present it to y'all.
Back on the subject of blog work...for those of you who've been enjoying my Jonah Hex history project, I want you to know that it will continue, but it will likely turn into a once-a-year thing. Over the past six months since the last installment, my life became so overwhelmed with Swords & Sixguns-related work that I wasn't able to fit in the interviews I want to do for the Palmiotti & Gray era. There will be an installment this November 1st, same as always, but it'll be an Appendix piece covering a specific facet of Jonah's life, rather like the one I did last year regarding his time in the Confederate Army. As soon as the book is out, I'll get on those interviews, and if I can get the next installment ready by May, it'll go up then, but if not, you'll have it in November for certain.
That's all for now, kids. Remember not to eat all your Halloween candy in one sitting...make it last the whole week.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Self-Pub Progress Report #3

The final edit is in my hands!  Or as I like to call it, the no-more-messing-with-this-darn-thing-you've-gotta-stop-sometime edit.  My good friend, Kerrie Moyer (who's been acting as unofficial editor on this book for well over a decade) went over it with a fine-toothed comb, making sure we'd eliminated every last spelling error and continuity goof that may dwell within.  If any slip by into print, we'll just say a wizard did it.

Cover work is still in progress.  Matt Erkhart is sketching up some ideas I sent along, plus I asked him to toss in any of his own, 'cause you gotta keep your artists happy, and one of the best ways is having them draw stuff they like as well.  Speaking of art, a big thank-you to Don Walsh and Michael Davis for volunteering to distribute some of our lovingly-rendered promo flyers beyond the borders of Michigan.  Don brought 400 of 'em to the Great Falls Gaming Rendezvous last weekend and came home with about 50, plus some of the attendees were overheard discussing it, so I daresay I'll need to get a table at this con once we're got the book printed up.  By the way, if anyone else wants a bundle of flyers -- big or small -- to pass around wherever you live, let me know.

And now, I have an important question for you fine folk.  I've been thinking about perhaps utilizing one of those print-on-demand merchandise websites out there like TeePublic to help generate some extra revenue for this crazy venture.  Basically upload some images and book quotes and such so they can be printed on t-shirts or mugs or notebooks or what-have-you.  Would anybody out there be interested in buying some Swords & Sixguns merch, and if so, what would you like to see?  Keep in mind that something high-end like action figures is a long ways off (though I'd love to make some!).

Okay, that's all for now.  Have a great weekend, and keep checking back here for more updates.

Friday, September 16, 2016

"Willkommen...bienvenue...welcome... come on in..."*


Hello, and welcome to my blog!  If you were led here by one of the many "wanted poster" promo cards we've been plastering all over God's green Earth, I'm glad to know they're working.  Feel free to take a look around the site, and to learn more about Swords & Sixguns, you can follow this link to a side-page I have specifically set up for it, as well as click on the "Swords & Sixguns" label at the bottom of this post.  I also recommend you view the "Welcome" video I recently posted on the Facebook page for Swords & Sixguns (I was going to post it here as well, but the file's too big to upload...that's a still from it up at the top, though).  It'll fill you in on a few more details about the book and its upcoming release.

Okay, let me step aside so you can walk in here proper.  After all, you are my guest and I am your host.  Y'all got any questions, drop me a line at swordsandsixgunsnovel@gmail.com and I'll do my level best to answer 'em.




*(read title aloud in your best Lili Von Shtupp impression for proper effect)

Sunday, September 11, 2016



I did this drawing of Richard a few days after September 11th, 2001, when I was still reeling from the events but had become clear-headed enough to try and get my feelings on paper in some fashion.  Fifteen years on, this is what I can recall of the actual day...

My husband Jamin and I both had that Tuesday off, so we were sleeping in when my Mom called around 10 AM.  Since we work nights quite a bit, we've got this rule that you don't call us that early unless it's an emergency, so I picked up the phone and wondered what was so darn important that she had to call and wake us up.  Mom asked if we were watching TV, and I said no, we were sleeping.  She insisted that we had to turn on the news, so we got out of bed, half-asleep, and went into the living room to turn on the big TV.  That's when we saw the World Trade Center on fire.  We sat there staring at this for about a minute when Jamin said, "Isn't there supposed to be two of them?"  As he said that, the news replayed the footage of the planes flying into the towers, and we realized that one of them had collapsed due to the impact.  Not long after, the second tower fell -- unlike the South Tower, which we'd slept right through, we got to watch the North Tower collapse on live TV.
We numbly watched TV for about a half-hour or so, still in our pajamas but too transfixed by what was going on to think about getting dressed, when a horrifying thought grabbed me: my Dad goes to New York on business trips a few times a year.  I ran to the phone and called his place in Ohio, and was glad to find that both he and his wife were home.  Then Dad told me that my stepbrother Matt was in New York -- I was right about the business trip, but had thought of the wrong family member.  Matt had already called home and was safe, but he'd been roughly 15 blocks away when the planes started coming in.  I've never really talked with him about the experience, as I don't find it an easy subject to broach, but I do thank God that he made it out of the city unharmed.

After a few hours, Jamin managed to pry himself away from the TV, but I kept on watching.  There was so much to take in -- all the planes, all the places, all the people -- that it didn't feel right to turn away.  I think I quit after 5 hours or so, and finally got into the shower and cleaned up.  I don't remember anything else we did that day, but I think we turned the TV off for a little while, just to give our minds a break.

Friday, September 9, 2016

In the Cards


Take a gander at the promo cards that just came in! These were printed by a local shop called In the Mix Productions (https://www.facebook.com/inthemixpro), and they will definitely be getting more business from me. A big thank-you once again to Matt Erkhart for putting this together. Can't wait to pass these around at Motor City Nightmares next week!