I really was excited to write the dialogue for this page. However, when I got to it I was a bit intimidated to complete it because I had to deliver a very clear and specific point about Long John.

The Long John Walker that existed before page one of the comic was a pulp hero––he was the guy dime novelists wrote about and got paid per word for each fantastic story reported as fact from the Wild West. For all intents and purposes, Long John Walker was the Californian Wild Bill Hickok, the Wyatt Earp––but more than that, he was The Man With No Name and the Shane. He was the Western hero that has become an American archetype. More importantly, that’s the type of person everybody thinks about when the name Long John is mentioned within the context of the comic, even to Long John himself.

It’s hard to not show the old Long John in flashbacks––it’d be easier, in fact––but that’s something I strictly do not want to do. A key part of this story’s bible is for us to never see what Long John looked like pre-page one, which stinks because he looked pretty cool. But that’s also not how the tales of gunfighters were spread––it was a mash of published writing and a sort of oral history that created the tall tales of Western gunslingers.

To keep the pre-Long John Long John as a tall tale, seen only as the words of second-hand spectators, actually helps paint the picture of where Long John was and where he is now. As is often said, an image can rarely top the imagination of a reader, and in the case of pre-Long John Long John, his grandiosity and murderous aptitude and fatalistic heroism is best served as nebulous half-truths rather than prescriptive flashbacks or visualizations.



A few weeks ago I had a really fun talk with Johnny Flores, host of the podcast, Serious Talk. Seriously. That episode went up today and you can hear us go all over the place in terms of topics, but I go pretty deep into the creative inspirations, goals, and theory behind Long John. So, check it out (and listen to the other episodes, too; it’s a really good podcast).