Long John Walker was known as the most deadly gunfighter in California. His nickname comes from the fact that he could hit a target at rifle-distance with his standard Colt Model P revolver. He was a gun for hire that was known for his stoic, detached demeanor and a stare as piercing as his bullets. He gained his fame travelling with “the Johns,” a group of bounty hunters who roamed Eastern California and Western Nevada and were incredibly successful at what they did.
Long John was the face of the group. A living wall of intimidation and quiet confidence, he cast a pall over any town he walked into through his ominous stare alone (though it was backed up by his gun-hand’s deadly accuracy).
Juan John Velasquez was the brains of the group. Born on the coast of California, he could talk his way out of (and into) any situation and was equally deadly at close range.
Johnny Mono was the legs of the group. Born in the Mono tribe, his given name translates roughly to “Floating Feather,” but was given the name “Johnny Mono” by Juan John to keep the theme. He knows how to survive in the wild alone and keeps the group uprooted enough to be able to get the amount of jobs that they do.
They were destined for immortality in the dime novels, to survive as the most legendary gunslinging group in history.
But something changed.
One morning, on the edge of Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierra, Long John awakens to find himself with nothing but his long johns, a head wound, and no friends in sight, left to die of exposure with no answers and at the mercy of a mysterious rider.
Long John is a western webcomic by D. Bethel whose previous work on Eben07 (www.eben07.com) brought him to some public attention for the six years that he co-created, co-wrote, and illustrated that webcomic. A long-form story-based comic, Long John will showcase D. Bethel’s already fan-favorite artistic stylings and storytelling as it ventures into new and exciting places.
D. Bethel (creator/writer-artist) was born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California, but has lived all over the place. He happily resides in Sacramento, California with his wife, Nicole, and teaches Writing and Rhetoric at CSU, Sacramento.
Josh Tobey (artist–”Save the Bones“) is an Oregon-based Symbolist painter and illustrator. The definition of a Fine Artist, he puts everything of himself into his work; every daub of paint, every representative item on his canvases means something. Josh and D. Bethel have been long-time friends, having met in the sixth grade. He is the artist for the Hellrider Jackie side-stories that update between chapter breaks. For a full write-up about Josh, read this.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where did the idea for Long John come from?
Like Eben07 before it, Long John is a comic a long time in the making. Though the “gunfighter wakes up in only his long johns” is not a new idea (re: Silverado), it was one I hadn’t seen before I had a really weird dream about it in 2002. The next morning, I woke up and drew what I remembered:
Since then, Long John has always been there. He was a character with no story aside from the catalyst of his clothes getting stolen. In 2004, in the projection booth of a movie theater where I was working, a multi-tiered outline of a Long John story poured out of me into a notebook, but was shut away and wistfully looked over for many years. Serious development on the Long John comic began in 2012 as I updated the art style and the story for something more fitting to my current sensibilities.
I discuss the creation of Long John in this article, “Developing a Hero.”
I also discuss the inspirations behind Long John in the Long John Primer––a four-part article comprised of The Eastern Sierra Nevada Factor, The Kurosawa Factor, The Hammett Factor, and The Western Factor.
What is the update schedule?
With Long John, I’m really trying to push myself in terms of creating comics. It’s an experiment and will be full of hits and misses. It is a finite story, and is planned to occur between 120-140 pages (allowing for occasional divergences). Starting with Chapter 2, Long John will update in “chunks,” meaning that it will update with a variable series of pages at a time. The updates will always be a cohesive unit and should be at least a story “beat” (a moment in a scene that has character development and/or moves the plot forward). Updating this way does mean, however, that there will not be a regular update schedule as some “chunks” may be longer than others, requiring more development time. To keep updated with regard to updates, I would recommend one of the following avenues:
- Subscribe to the site’s RSS feed and anything published on the feed will update automatically to your RSS reader. I would only recommend this if you are familiar with subscribing to RSS feeds and the process it takes, but it is the most direct way to be alerted to Long John updates.Similarly, if you use Tumblr, you can follow me on Tumblr through the dbethel.com link. I’ll post updates of everything I do there, as well as any fun stuff I find during my rummaging through of the internet.
- Similarly, if you use Tumblr, you can follow me on Tumblr through the dbethel.com link. I’ll post updates of everything I do there, as well as any fun stuff I find during my rummaging through of the internet.
- “Like” the official Long John page on Facebook. If you’re already on Facebook, this makes the most sense, though Facebook’s algorithms for allowing you to see new updates can be a bit fishy. However, I do update the Facebook page with every post I make on the website, as well as posting interesting and (with hope) relevant links, as well as photos. Plus, it’s a good place to get an interactive conversation going about the comic or whatever else is posted on there. You can also start discussions on the page and get interaction from me and other fans.
- You can follow me on Twitter (@dbethel). There is no official Long John Twitter account, so if you prefer Twitter, I would be the best person to follow for Long John updates. Warning: I mostly use Twitter to retweet comments or links that I find in my feed, that and my updates from Long John and my podcast, A Podcast [ , ] For All Intents and Purposes.
If you’re looking for a suggestion on how to read Long John, I would think it would be best consumed by coming by about once a month and read through the updates that have occurred since your previous visit. It’s a slow-burn story and would probably be best consumed in chunks.
Your art looks the same, but different. What comics or artists inspired you?
A lot of influences have gone into Long John. Artistically, I was pulled into new directions after reading a lot of Enki Bilal, Francois Boucq, Darwyn Cooke’s Parker series, and (most significantly) the work of Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis, and Simon Roy in the Image Comics series, Prophet.
Are you drawing digitally or by hand? What tools are you using?
Long John is being drawing completely by hand and will be kept so, warts and all. Any artistic revisions will be done by hand on the page itself. It is toned (i.e., “colored”) and lettered in Adobe Photoshop CS3, however, as I do not trust myself to do that stuff by hand (and probably never will).
I pencil with non-reproduction blue pencils (or mechanical pencil lead) because I hate erasing because I draw heavily and would ruin paper with all the erasing I do. The inking is done with Sakura Micron pens. I also use brushes and sumi-e ink for spot blacks and for the times I want more exciting lines than the Microns can give me.
Do you have any merchandise (books/prints/apparel)?
Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 are currently available as books and can be purchased in my Etsy store: DBethelWorks. So, if you are an Etsy shopper, follow my store or add it to your favorites and it’ll update you with any additions. I will also announce any additions via all my other internet social media avenues. If you have any ideas for merchandise that you think would be good for Long John, please let me know!