Thursday, August 31, 2023

Red Loves Black , Moon Over Uno & Django Unclaimed

 August 31, 2023

   Look who's giving me the side eye.

Full Moon Over Uno

   Yes, we had a full moon sinking over the Seven Sisters this morning on our walk and Uno wouldn't stand for it. Well, actually, he is used to me telling him to sit by now (I had him sit at least five times on today's walk so I could take a photo of him and, well, you know).

Uno Is 30 for 30

   I tell him to sit and he sits down and laughs. "This is so funny," he seems to say. It never fails.

Go Figure

   I keep a narrative sketchbook where I grab inspiring examples of sequences that seem to jump off the page to me. Important for someone who aspires to telling a story in graphic novel form. I do this exercise so I can try and figure out the reason why certain things work together together. Here is a typical page.

Red Loves Black

   And here's a really good example of red loving black.

Django Fandango Unclaimed

   That's some major love right there. And, speaking of Django and love, my favorite little Aussie Bastard, James B. Mills, is taking us to school on this film in the next issue of True West. Here's a sneak peek at his opening salvo:

   "There are many disconcerting issues that a young historian of the American Frontier must confront as the ten-year anniversary of the release of Django Unchained recently passed without acknowledgement from True West and those who stopped paying attention to pop-culture when Reagan left office. The academic cliques presently holding positions of influence and seemingly obsessed with patting each other on the back for acting like Gandhi. The archivists still dry humping their sacred public domain photo collections and picking like vultures at the warm breathing carcass of every historian who comes their way in the hopes of foraging a dime. The deeply liberal and conservative outrage expressed over the moral implications of supposedly glorifying frontier violence by not continuously raking every outlaw and lawman who shot somebody over the coals for their 19th century actions. The creeping-up-the-spine concern over the apparent lack of interest in the American West among younger generations."

—James B. Mills

   And, here's another narrative page where I am noodling how much you can break the sequence and still have an emotional impact.

Narrative Breakdown: Walkdown Snoozer

   And here's a narrative page delving into the accumulation of head shots and what they might convey. The top three are from Cheryl Tieg's awful husband.

Hellraiser Head Shot Narrative

officeCapitol Request

"I want a Curly Bill t-shirt with 'I feel just...capitol!' on it. And please bring back the 20th anniversary True West Tombstone t-shirt. The one that says "The western that changed everything". You're a daisy if ya do! Thanks."

—Mark, True West Maniac # 235

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

O. K. Corral Lynching, Part II

 August 30, 2023

   To be clear, the Cowboys did not attempt an actual lynching of Doc and Wyatt from the Tombstone makeshift jail BUT I have to believe Ike Clanton considered it, and probably promoted it. And, there is some evidence that Will McLaury, the Fort Worth lawyer and brother to the two slain McLaurys, offered a $500 reward to any cowboy who could kill an Earp. And, as we know, more than a couple took him up on the offer. That speculation led me to this question:

How Close Did Doc & Wyatt Come to Being Lynched?

   Given the ease with which the Bisbee Vigilantes extracated John Heath from the brand spanking new—safe and secure—jail in the basement of the Tombstone Courthouse, it isn't much of a stretch (ahem) to think that the Cowboys of Cochise County led by Curly Bill and John Ringo could have successfully captured and lynched Doc & Wyatt. It is my opinion those two O.K. stalwarts were very lucky during their 16 day incarceration in the makeshift Tombstone jail. It could have easily gone a different way.

Daily Whip Out: "O.K. Lynching?"

   As I mentioned there was a rumor that Will McLaury offered a $500 reward for any cowboy who could kill an Earp or Holliday. Part of the participation of the group who ambushed Virgil Earp on the evening of December 28, 1881 were counting on collecting the reward money. The same is true of the Morgan Earp assassination in March of 1882. The main takeaway is that there was plenty of bad blood in Cochise County about what the Cowboys saw as the "cowardly assassination" of Billy Clanton and the two McLaury brothers. This prejudice has persisted in the area up until the present day. When you go to Tombstone it is Wyatt Earp 24/7, but if you venture outside the city limits, especially to the ranches to the east of The Town Too Tough to Die, you will encounter some pretty strong animosity towards the Earps. These old families simply believe the Cowboys got a raw deal. Some of this is tribal and some of it is political (the Cowboys were Democrats and the Earps Republicans).

   Of course in the late Twentieth Century the cowboys all turned into Republicans, but that is another story.

   With the Earps banished from Arizona in the spring of 1882, the story gestated for quite a while with the Cochise County Cowboys taking the upper hand in the telling well into the 1920s. In Tombstone there was a sign on the Allen Street boardwalk that claimed a Cowboy shot Morgan Earp in front of Vogan's because Morgan was "too slow on the draw." This speaks to a couple things. How much local lore leans towards the dominant telling and how strong local prejudices tend to be in the "official" history of anything. Thanks to Mark Lee Gardner, here's Wyatt himself reacting to the publication of Billy Breakenridge's book, "Helldorado: Bringing Law to The Mesquite" 1928:

"Mr. Breakenridge tells that the Clantons and the McLowerys [SIC] were unarmed and that they threw up their hands. All of which is very interesting, and probably explains how Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday were wounded in the fight."

—Wyatt Earp, in a letter to Stuart Lake

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Sub Par Sunrise, Typical Boomer Behavior

 August 29, 2023

   Had some major fun today. 114 out so went swimming. Okay, it was actually sauna-ing

   Found a spider in the studio commode and Kathy told me, "Don't kill him. Take him out." So I took him out. Nice guy. He's a web designer.

   Went for a walk before dawn. Got a haircut from Bev on the way back. Caught this scene on the return walk.

Uno Scoffs At Mediocre Sunrise

   Got a new art print ready for shipping.

"Billy Stands Tall"

   Here's a T-shirt idea born from a clever Kevin Jarre line in the "Tombstone" script.

And here's Dan The Man's take on it with Dana Delaney, who spoke the line in the movie, as Sadie Marcus.

   Of course, if we are going to sell it as a shirt I need to make it my drawing of the real Sadie, I mean Josie Marcus Earp. You want one? Just say "I want one."

  I have an ambitious (read that complicated) illustration in mind for my latest YouTube video on the chances of Doc & Wyatt being lynched after the O.K. Corral fight. The Tombstone stalwarts were actually more at risk than most people have realized. Evidence to follow. Meanwhile I sure do love doing prep drawings of frontier types who might have showed up for said lynching at the O.K. Corral sign, no less. That would include these cats:

Daily Whip Outs: "O.K. Witnesses"

Fear & Generational Loathing

   Read a funny piece in the NYTimes about the hatred of Gen X, written by a Gen Xer. Loved this line: "Boomers know they are lame." Well, some of us do, who have lived long enough to realize how lame we are. I remember a time in college where a fellow student lamented the Vietnam War and gushed that he couldn 't wait until people our age got into power and stopped all the madness. And, here we are at the tail end of Boomer rule and look who we put in the White House: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump. I can't wait to see that trio on Mount Bushmore.

"Every generation thinks they're smarter than the last and wiser than the next."

—Old Boomer Saying

Monday, August 28, 2023

How Close Did Wyatt And Doc Come to Being Lynched After The O.K. Corral Gunfight?

 A Lynching at The O.K. Corral?

   By my count, there have been almost 40 movies on Wyatt Earp and the world famous O.K. Corral gunfight in Tombstone, but I cannot recall a single one of them that has been told from the viewpoint of the cow-boys. And, not one of these movies has dealt with just how close Wyatt and Doc probably came to being lynched.

One of the Best of the Forty

   Okay, I trust you know the Wyatt Earp take on the gunfight, so let's start with the cow-boy version of the legendary event. Now this is not to say this is the true account but it's how many of the cattlemen and cowboys of Cochise County view the fight to this day.

The Cow-Boy Version of The O.K. Fight

   Five shots were fired by the Earp party before any of the cow-boys attempted to fight back. Only two, Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury, even had a weapon, and both of theirs were holstered. As the marshal—Virgil Earp—ordered them to raise their hands, the Clantons and McLaurys complied completely, only to be shot down like dogs.

Cow-boy Halos at The O.K. Corral

  Immediately after the 30 second gunfight on Fremont Street, Sheriff John Behan, attempted to arrest Wyatt Earp, saying, "I want to see you." Earp replied, "I won't be arrested now. You threw us Johnny. You told us they were unarmed." This is true. Behan, in trying to stop the fight as the Earps and Holliday came towards the cow-boys, ran up the boardwalk and told Wyatt he had disarmed the cowboys and not to go any further. Wyatt put his pistol in his coat pocket and they marched on.

   After the fight the Vizina mine whistle blew and the Tombstone Vigilantes, a local voluntary law and order organization showed up some 70 strong. They were friends of the Earps and the group considered them allies so the two wounded Earps, Virgil and Morgan, were carried to a drug store where their wounds were dressed, then a buggy, or hand cart, was procured and the men were ferried to their home.

   Ike Clanton paid for a fancy funeral and had a sign painted that said, "Murdered On The Streets of Tombstone." Tensions mounted, and after a possible assassin showed up at the Earp compound, all the Earps moved into the Cosmopolitan Hotel for safety.

October 29, 1881

   An arrest warrant was issued before Justice of the Peace J.B. Smith: "That Wyatt Earp did willfully, unlawfully, deliberately, premeditatedly, feloniously, and with malice afore thought, kill or murder William Clanton, Thomas McLaury and Frank McLaury."

   Ike Clanton also filed murder charges against the Earps and Holliday with Justice Wells Spicer. 

October 31, 1881

   Spicer begins a hearing to determine if the Earps and Holliday should be bound over for a full-scale murder trial. The first witnesses provided damning testimony against the Earps, essentially echoing the cow-boy version of the fight, above.

November 4, 1881

   Will R. McLaury arrived in Tombstone from his home in Forth Worth, Texas. The brother of the two slain McLaurys, Will joined the prosecution team and immediately got Wyatt and Doc remanded to jail without bail (Virgil and Morgan were exempted because of their wounds).

November 7, 1881

   Wyatt and Doc are arrested by Harry M. Woods and held in the makeshift jail on Sixth Street. For 16 days, heavily armed friends take turns guarding the two-room clapboard hoosegow.

The Makeshift Tombstone Jail

   Because Tombstone was still new in 1881, they had no stand alone jail and Wyatt and Doc are placed in a two-cell, makeshift jail which was 10 foot by 12 foot and essentially made up of 2X4s stacked on top of the other and each one spiked down. It is all but a chicken coup and to think that Wyatt and Doc were held in this claustrophobic contraption for more than two weeks is nothing short of crazy amazing. Friends of the Earps and Holliday guarded the jail 24/7 but it still seems that this situation would make them vulnerable for a lynch mob and in fact, there is a historic precedent for what could have all too easily happened to the O.K. Fighters.

   A little more than two years after the O.K. fight we have a similar set of circumstances just down the road from Tombstone.

December 8, 1883

   Five Clifton area cowboys rode into Bisbee and attempted to rob the Castenada-Goldwater Store. In the botched robbery, five people on the street are shot and killed including a pregnant woman. Eventually the five cowboys are caught and brought to trial along with a sixth person, John Heath, a saloon owner, who the five arrested outlaws claimed actually planned the robbery. The five outlaws were tried and convicted and sentenced to hang, but Heath was tried separately and convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to prison. His lawyers wanted to appeal the verdict, which incensed many in Bisbee and Tombstone. On the morning of February 22, a mob of vigilantes (crowd estimates run from 50 to 150) overpowered the guards in the newly built Tombstone jail—in the basement of the newly built courthouse—and the mob overwhelmed the guards and took Heath from the jail. Sheriff Jerome Ward talked them out of hanging Heath from the balustrade of the courthouse so the mob took Heath down the street and hanged their prisoner from a telegraph pole at the corner of First and Toughnut Street. The lynching photo is one of the most famous photos in the history of the Old West.

John Heath lynched at First and Toughnut

    By the way, there were 42 legal hangings in Arizona from the 1860s to 1911 and 32 lynchings.  So this photo could just as easily have been of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and serves as a good example of just how close Wyatt and Doc probably came to being lynched out of that makeshift jail a mere two years prior.

Daily Whip Out:

"Cow-boys Celebrate An O.K. Lynching"

   I think it's safe to say, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were very lucky boys in the aftermath of the O.K, Corral gunfight.

   Of course, the actual O.K. Corral affair ends with two assassination attempts, one of them successful and the Earps and Holliday are ultimately driven from Arizona as fugitives from justice.

  So, how do we get from this lurid version of the familiar tale to the glorious finale and the triumph of Law & Order at the O.K. Corral? Well, that took a couple of very creative writers—two of my heroes by the way—Walter Noble Burns and Stuart Lake, who each wrote a best selling book about "The Lion of Tombstone," and together those two books have spawned 40 some movies and tv shows trumpeting the "flawless" lawmen who was so "brave, courageous and bold." And, pretty damn lucky.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Walter Noble Burns"

The author of the book "Tombstone,"
with a chapter on Wyatt Earp called
"The Lion of Tombstone"

   If there is anything to be learned, it's this:

"The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, August 27, 2023

O.K. Lynching Prep, A Father Gives Thanks And Black Jack Before The Drop

 August 27, 2023

   My father's birthday. He was a good man.

Allen P. Bell


Said This to A Friend With A Terminal Illness

   I want you to know you are loved and respected by all the intelligent and sensitive people in this neck of the woods. True, that's perhaps only 12 people, but still you can take that to the bank. Love you bro.

Meanwhile, A Father Gives Thanks

The author R. j. Palacio ("White Bird") was interviewed in the New York Times Review of Books today and she relates the story of sharing "Les Miserables" with her two sons. She says, "I love how affected they both were, not only for the heroic intentions of young people their age, but by the small affirmations of human goodness reflected in the subtlest of gestures, the briefest of dialogues. I can't say these conversations made us actually closer than we already are, but when your children become adults with whom you can have deep, philosophical conversations that blow your mind, well, it's really a joyful, exuberant, life-affirming moment in the life of a parent."
   I shared this with my kids and told them I hope they get to have those conversations with their children when they are grown, as I have. It is a very wonderful and fulfilling thing.

O.K. Lynching

   Doing sketches for an ambitious set piece on a hypothetical lynching at the O.K. Corral. Want to capture the crowd in an accurate way.

   Slack-jawed goobers at the corner of First and Toughnut in Tombstone, at the impromptu hanging of John Heath in 1883. If you ask me those mouth-breathers are not the brightest looking citizens of Cochise county.

Daily Whip Out:

"Slack Jawed Goobers"

Another piece of reference I am using is this close up of Black Jack on the gallows.

Black Jack Before the Drop

      And, if you know the story, he lost his head.  

"These days my preferred brand of sunscreen is a house."

—Cranky Old Boomer

Saturday, August 26, 2023

One For Fun And Uno Is The One

August 26, 2023

   I had a busy and crazy week with deadlines and a YouTube taping on Friday and now it's Saturday, so it's time to do one for fun.

One For Fun

   I have a gaggle of new old vaqueros I want to work on so I chose this one just for grins. 

Daily Whip Out: "Hell Bent Vaquero"

Gas Station Chic?

"Whiting Bros? Terrible Herbst's? Or how about a yellow cap with a black jackrabbit silhouette? 'Where She Danced,' or 'Frog with canteen hats from Dick Wick's filling station in Salome?

—Daryl Dikus

“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”

—Kinky Friedman

His Tail Is Waggin' On A Wet Morning

   Sent this monoprint, below, out to my Kid Braintrust and got a nice note back from one of my favorite Kid Krazys saying how much she loved it.

Daily Whip Out: "Billy Al Fresca"

"If you've made one thing that has an impact on another human being, you've succeeded."

—Ben Gibbard, lead singer for the indie band Death Cab for Cutie

   On the other hand, if you can make someone laugh at something that is not funny at all, like death, well, you are welcome to join my tribe.

The Daltons Check Their Phones

Russell Means by Andy Warhol

"There is only one thing valuable in art: the thing you cannot explain."

—Georges Braque

Friday, August 25, 2023

Camo Dog Stalks Massive Saguaro And Rurales On The Move

 August 25, 2023

   Caught this up on Morningstar this morning.

Camo Dog Stalks Massive Saguaro

   Had some fun reworking some old whip outs.

Daily Whip Out: "Rurales On The Move"

   And this one.

Daily Whip Out:

"Blood Brothers"

   Recorded a new YouTube video today on "Just How Close Did Wyatt and Doc Come to Being Lynched After The O.K. Corral Fight?" Closer than you might think.

"That's a hell of a thing for you to say to me."

—This Guy

Courtesy Donna Dycus

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Gas Station Chic Meets The 66 Kids

 August 24, 2023

   We're on the home stretch of a very personal book, which is actually a follow-up to a previous book myself and Dan The Man did in 2014. That would be "The 66 Kid."  This time out we are adding some major zane from the Ashfork area.

Gas Station Chic?

   Get your motor running. I just read a very inspiring piece in the Wall Street Journal about "Gas Station Chic," three words I would have never predicted to be connected in, well, any way, forever. And ever.

"Well, ain't we chic, Ernie."

   Turns out hipsters are going to gas stations to get unique caps with out-in-left-field slogans, like "Bite Me!" (on an angler's cap) and "The Buck Stops Here" stitched on the front with a deer in the crosshairs. One proud wearer, a music producer in Atlanta, quickly adds, "I have never actually hunted." Ha. Oh, that is rich. Said another cap wearer, "There's just something really cool about  dressing like a real American." Dang. Well, ain't that just quaint as all git out?
  For starters, I want a cap that says, "Jugs Iced Free" with the Flying A arrow wrapped around it.

Jugs Iced Free!

  And, we need an Ashfork-centric cap for Marshall Trimble, to wear proudly and promote his home town. And I have a hunch there is a Hackberry cap, a Truxton cap, a Seligman Sno-Cap Drive-in cap, a Yucca cap and maybe even a Needles-And-Hell-Is-Redundant cap. Not to mention a Don't Forget Winona cap. And that's just for starters, don't you think?

   Send me your Gas Station Chic cap ideas to and if we use your idea you will receive real money, like $66 bucks, or something. No kidding. Plus, if you play your cards right you just might get a FREE cap. Ain't that chic as all git out?

"Hell, I was just a kid working after school at Fred Fegley’s gas station during the glorious heydays of Route 66, filling the gas tanks of the tourists listening to them complain about the high price of gas a gallon (31.9), never realizing I was an eyewitness to an important chapter in America’s rich history."
—Marshall Trimble

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Big Hats, Big Taps & The Big Philosophy of Life

 August 22, 2023

   There was a time when taps ruled the world. And by taps I mean tapaderos and by world I mean the world of the vaquero.

Lon Megargee on Coyote with major taps

   And a certain Texas bad boy had them as well.

Daily Whip Out: "Black Jack's Taps"

   That would be Tom "Black Jack" Ketchum.

  And off we go. 

Emotional Intelligence

"The emotionally intelligent person knows that love is a skill, not a feeling, and will require trust, vulnerability, generosity, humor, sexual understanding, and selective resignation. The emotionally intelligent person awards themselves the time to determine what gives their working life meaning and has the confidence and tenacity to try to find an accommodation between their inner priorities and the demands of the world. The emotionally intelligent person knows how to hope and be grateful, while remaining steadfast before the essentially tragic structure of existence.

"The emotionally intelligent person knows that they will only ever be mentally healthy in a few areas and at certain moments, but is committed to fathoming their inadequacies and warning others of them in good time, with apology and charm. There are few catastrophes, in our own lives or in those of nations, that do not ultimately have their origins in emotional ignorance."
—Alain de Botton

Yes, Alain's insightful comments are a working answer to this more brutal summation of life:

"You can't win. You can't break even. You can't leave the game."
—Variously attributed to Allen Ginsberg, Charlie Smalls and C.P. Snow

Monday, August 21, 2023

A Breakast In The Sweet Steady Rain

 August 21, 2023

   My view of breakfast at the Triple B Ranch this morning. 

A Fine Breakfast View

   The lilies were provided by Kathy Sue and the inspirational card underneath is courtesy of Ralph Waldo Emerson (see, below) and the toast is sourdough, the coffee is Don Francisco's Hawaiian Hazelnut, and the sketch is a new old vaquero. The New York Times Magazine is open to a page that features this quote: "Everyone deserves compassion, 'Remedy suffering wherever it is, whatever form it takes and whoever causes it." And, to boot, it's sprinkling outside thanks to Hilary the Hurricane. Life is good. Hope yours is as well.

On The New Old Vaquero Front

   Opened up a new front on the scratchboard scene yesterday. I bought a packet of scraping tools from Arizona Art last week and it included a batch of steel wool, and while I have utilized this nifty "lifting" device before in my scenes, I really leaned into it with this one to see where it might go.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"I Can See By Your Outfit That

You Are Not A Vaquero"

   The title is meant as a damning observation by the vaquero in the scene looking out at you and me. Not sure that translates, but that is the intent.

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:

"Rurale On The Jump"

   Ran across a campfire scene in my discard file that had some potential, so gave it another go.

Daily Reworked Whip Out:

"Campfire Trio Card Game"

   Here's a little known Sonoran Moral Tale that goes like this:

Mess with the bull, get the horns.

Mess with a vaquero, get the riata.

Mess with Lupe, get the blade.

Mess with Mamacita, don't expect Christmas tamales.

   The moral of the tale:

Don't Mess With Mamacita!

"No tamales for YOU!"

This Is The Text On The Card Beneath The Lilies

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who alllows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, not doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. 

This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson​

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Sunrise After Sunrise This Dog Won't Look

 August 20, 2023

   I know this sound ridiculous but I am not prompting Uno into these sanguine poses.

Sunrise Today

"You look. I don't really care."

Same Sunrise Up The Road

"Frankly, the view is better this way."

The Day Before That

"Oh, look. A bunny."

"If you've seen one, you've seen 'em all."

A Sunrise In 2021

"Come to think of it, I never have really cared."

Full disclosure: I see the breaking sunrise and I tell Uno to "sit," and he does it, but he always puts himself sideways to me, as if to say, "You can command me to sit, but I'll sit on my own damn terms, dude."

“As wonderful as dogs can be, they are famous for missing the point.” 

– Jean Ferris 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

The Sunrise Kid, Outragous Django Cover & Old Vaquero #37

 August 19, 2023

   I love getting out on the road before sunrise, because, well, I get to witness the sunrise. For some reason, my companion on these daily walks is not all that impressed.

The Sunrise Kid Ignores The Sunrise

   Or, maybe he is looking for something to chase, down the road. Oh, yes. That is definitely a distinct possibility.

   Meanwhile. . .

   We've got a punk Aussie kid who thinks this should be our next cover. You buyin' it?

Time Traveling Ignoramus

   Nate Bargatze does a great bit about how dumb he is, and if he could time travel and he was sent back to the 1920s, nothing would change. He would walk up to a guy on an old-timey phone and say, "Do you know someday you'll be able to hold that in your hand?" And the 1920s guy goes, "Really, how?" and Nate looks flummoxed and shrugs, "I don't know, satellites, or something." and the 1920s guys says, "What's a satellite?" and Nate goes, "A round metal thing that goes up into space." And the 1920s guy is fed up and he says as a final test, "Okay, who's the next president," and Nate says, "Sheesh, I have no idea. I guess I just need to take a regular job here, I don't know anything."

   Speaking of being a time traveling ignoramus, I sure dig those old jefes.

Daily Whip Out: "Red Rev Soldado Final"

   Here's another dude based on a friend, Jeff Prechtal.

Daily Whip Out: "Old Vaquero No. 37"

"Rare is the man whose visage is not improved with a good hat."
—Old Cowgirl Saying (who thinks all men should wear hats)