Gang, in a meeting with the Overlords (or group text…whatever), Overlord John made the comment that he wishes there was someone ancient, who could do some reviews of old silver age comics. (Okay, it was a lot nicer than that, but my version is more funny)
So I immediately fired up my Victrola for background music, fired up my Osborne Computer, and got to work.
So we are going to start with a classic (in my eyes), and one we’ve talked about more than once in said meetings of the minds, All Star Western #10.
The Journey to get the book
When I first got back into comics, I had a short list of grails, because I wasn’t sure which route I was going, but I also knew which characters I like. Tomb of Dracula #10 (coming soon) because of Blade, and ASW10 because of the first appearance of Jonah Hex. Lucky for me, a friend of mine had the TofD10, so that was literally the first book of my rebirth. ASW10 was a bit tougher. Firstly, you don’t see a bunch out in the wild, because the movie scared a lot of people away. (I liked it) In over a year, I had my hands on one copy, right before Christmas, and I thought long and hard on it for an hour before turning it down, because I just couldn’t spend $300 that close to Christmas, on a limited budget, and cheat everyone else. I’m not gonna lie, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t buy it, but between them and Christmas, I kicked myself every day.
So, since I never saw them in the wild, because really, who collects Jonah Hex right now, I had the search plugged into the old eBay, kept my eyes open, and waited.
Finally an auction in my budget, and admittedly, I blinked first, and the guy outbid me by $2 because I thought I could sneak thru on the cheap (I couldn’t)
Then the next auction. Now, I don’t know how you kids do it, but I have a maximum high end bid, and 95% of the time I stick to it. I think it’s good for me, because I’m susceptible to emotion, and will overbid for an item on principle ever once in awhile. It hasn’t bit me in the ass, I’ve lost those bids, and I self ban me from eBay for a few days.
So I wait the 4 days to the end, I put in my maximum bid…and I lose again by $2. I’m pretty bummed at this point. I’m mad at myself for not waiting just 3 seconds longer, so they wouldn’t have time to counter, but I was afraid, because I was on my phone, that it would lag and I’d miss out. (that has happened twice to me so far)
A day later, I get a notification that someone is selling one. It’s $25 over my max, but the shipping is good, and though only two pictures, it seems in good shape. I let it sit there for 8 hours, and told myself if it’s still there, I will decide then. Okay, I am lying. I made it 5 hours, knew I was going to buy it immediately if it was still there when I cracked, and I am truly surprised that I made it 5 hours.
If you’ve never waited on a book, that only had two pictures (front and back), that seemed to take forever (8 days), you start to worry. What if the book is more beat up than it seems. What if its brittle (1972 book). What if it never comes and I’m ripped off?
It arrived, and I’m going to be honest. Probably in as good as shape as the $300 book. A few rough edges, so so corners, but for a 1972 book, in great shape. I’m not a grader, but I saw a 7.0 go for way more, and I was extremely happy that this was for real, and not a dream.
Of course, since the condition allowed it, I had to read it. I love reading all the old comics. I’ll buy new ones and bag them, but the old ones…have to be read.
This book had 3 stories. The first starring the great Jonah Hex, his first appearance. The second was a story about El Diablo. I was surprised that they had a story starring my ex wife, but to each their own. And the last was a tale of Bat Lash. Bat Lash comes in and out of Jonah Hex’s life in his books, had his own series, and really is pretty much a generic, but awesome cowboy character, but nothing to set him apart really from the old cowboy books from the Golden age. Good cowboy, rustlers/gang/Indians (this was before the age of outrage), he tracks them, he outwits/shoots them, nobody dies, happy ending, Bat drowns in showgirl pussy.
In this book, Jonah is different. He is on the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe one of the first cowboy anti heroes. He’s a bounty hunter, and he’s not trying to bring them in alive. He’s shooting them, he’s not putting them on the back of his horse he’s dragging the corpses in, and he’s not all frilly and nice, very matter of fact.
About 2/3’s the way into the story, It shows a close up of Jonah, and it reveals all the scarring on the right side of his face. It doesn’t give a backstory, just the melted image of half his face. It also shows that Jonah has a bit of a soft spot for families, and kids, though he tries to come across as a hard case. In this case though, it doesn’t matter. The single mother who’s husband was killed rejects Jonah’s help, the townsfolk are happy that Jonah gets rid of all the bad guys, but they sure as hell don’t want him living near them.
Jonah gets this, rides off swearing to never settle down, and we go on to the next story, but not before he shatters the town sign for Paradise Corners with one punch.
Now, I’m a western comic fan, and I loved it. I thought it was a good introduction, and after seeing that scar, who wouldn’t want to read more about this mysterious stranger. In 1977, DC comics agreed, and started his own book. It lasted for 92 sweet ass issues, until they decided to pull the plug. DC tried again in 2006, and that run lasted 2011, but since it didn’t feature Joker or the Batman, it didn’t last.
So if you like a book that is far from politically correct, where people actually die, and anti-heroes that aren’t shitty IPA’s, I strongly suggest checking out the character, and make this a grail so the price goes through the roof, though I’ll never sell it.
Creative Team for All-Star Western #10
Writer – John Albano
Penciler – Tony DeZuniga
Editors – Mark Hanerfeld and Joe Orlando
DC Database Link – https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/All-Star_Western_Vol_2_10