|From the cover of SLANT, December 2003|
Armageddonville, Texas is the story of the proud Blusterbush clan. G. Phineas T. Blusterbush, the patriarch, owned miles and miles of all he surveyed. The scion of a wealthy Connecticut family, young Gee-Phinnie Blusterbush settled in Texas for a reason that was never quite clear.
With his utter determination to succeed, and a carpetbag full of Wall Street bread, Blusterbush eventually became a cattle rancher of mammoth proportions. A tall and flinty man, Gee-Phinnie believed he owned the Armageddon River that flowed across his land. To make his belief a reality, over the years, he steadily bought up any property along the river he could. He had a special way of convincing the small ranchers and sod-busters to sell off their land and leave the area.
Note: This character’s costume is patterned after Phineas T. Bluster, a puppet villain on the Howdy Doody Show television show of the 1950s. He carries a derringer, hidden in his coat pocket.
Gee-Phinnie’s oldest son, G. W. “Dubya” Blusterbush, a ne’er-do-well in his youth, swore off booze and subsequently found religion (or maybe it was the other way around.) Always on the trail of two nasty villains, Dubya was out to prove he was worthy of walking in his father’s boot-prints.
Dubya was convinced that the two villains were allies - O’ Sammy Benlion and Sa’ad Hellsbells - because it came to him in a dream in which a dead horse rose up and spoke to him in the voice of Jesus.
Note: That's the dream that makes Dubya get off the sauce. Since Dubya had always been afraid of horses, anyway - he rides around in a blue designer stagecoach to keep from having to mount a horse - this dream rocks his world. Dubya’s signature outfit is an all-leather affair. For protection Dubya always carries his matched pair of .44 caliber Colts - blue, of course.
Gee-Phinnie also owned Amageddonville’s sheriff, a defrocked preacher named Johnny Asskleft. Asskleft had to leave his final post as a pastor in great haste. Blusterbush, the elder, was the only man who knew the reason, thus, he had a firm grip on Asskleft.
Note: Asskleft bares a strong resemblance to Paul Lynde, of Hollywood Squares fame. He wears the stock Western Movie sheriff wardrobe.
Gee-Phinnie also secretly owned half of the town’s saloon, The Tumbleweed, operated by his partner, who fronted the business - the lovely and semi-talented Miss Candi.
Note: The sloe-eyed, sepia-toned Miss Candi is cute as a button, but she has no originality whatsoever - her wardrobe is a total ripoff of Miss Kitty’s (Gunsmoke). Still, Miss Candi was loyal to Gee-Phinnie to a fault. Whoa, Nellie! Is something going on there?
Dickie Chains was the foreman of the Blusterbush family’s ranch, the “Flying W.” As a teenager Chains was at the Battle of the Alamo. He survived because he proved to be quite an actor - Chains convinced Santa Anna that he was the shy female servant of an officer. He and a handful of others were released to tell the bloody story of what happened
Note: The swaggering Chains dresses as a cowhand and rides a huge red horse. The horse swaggers, too.
Don Rumdummy was part-owner of an expanding railroad company that wanted to put tracks through the town. He had a secret alliance with Gee-Phinnie to acquire the land. Even more secretly, Rumsdummy and Chains were partners in slime - they sold whiskey and guns to renegade Indians, highwaymen and anyone with the cash to pay.
Note: Rumdummy dresses in the all-black garb of a Pinkerton agent, which he had once been. He carries guns of various sizes, wherever he can.
Collard Kungpowell was the figurehead mayor of Armageddonville. He had no real power and he was eaten up with guilt. He was addicted to laudanum.
Note: Once a soldier, Kungpowell had hung up his guns. He dresses like a banker.
O’ Sammy Benlion, a half-breed, was the adopted son of an Indian chief, who was assassinated by Chains’ henchmen. The kindly old chief had been unwilling to sign the bad treaty the federal government was offering. Before the tribe moved to the reservation O’ Sammy took several young warriors with him. The group became marauding renegades. O’ Sammy and his band of snake-handling, whiskey-drinking followers were determined to wreak havoc. They blew up barns and poisoned water holes, just for fun.
Note: O’ Sammy dresses in a skintight outfit with an “O” on his chest and a cape! He thinks Hellsbells is yesterday’s heavy, riding for a fall.
Sadistic Sa’ad Hellsbells was a mustachioed Mexican bandito chief with a mean-as-dirt gang. They rustled cattle and robbed the stagecoaches that passed through the region with impunity. They shot up the town when they felt like it, too. Sa’ad also had a prize stock of Arabian horses, in his secret mountainous hideout.
Dubya spent most of his waking hours searching, in vain, for those nasty hidden horses.
Note: Hellsbells wears the obligatory bandito outfit - big sombrero - “we don’t need no steenking badges!” - and ammunition belts across his chest.
This swashbuckling story, set in Texas - the land of hot air and bum steers - will continue.
Words and art by F.T. Rea