"But as any man, woman or child knows, he had no friends, this Jonah Hex... but he did have two companions... one was death itself, the other, the acrid smell of gunsmoke."
The last of the great American Comic Book Western
Created in the 1970s "Weird" phase
in comics, Jonah Hex was created as a deliberate subversion of every Western hero cliche you can think. He then ended up being the last headline character of the genre in the comic book medium. He first appeared in "All-Star Western
" vol. 2 #10 (February-March, 1972), created by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga . The title was soon renamed to "All-Star Western
", with Jonah remaining its star to 1977. He was then moved to his own series, which lasted from 1977 to 1985.
Jonah has a rather grim background. Raised with unrelenting abuse from his drunken father, the boy was sold to a Native American tribe, until he came of age and joined the Confederate forces in The American Civil War
. Deciding to resign his commission after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, he inadvertently left clues to his old unit which led to it being found by Union forces. Wrongly accused as a traitor, Hex left on his own, unwanted by either side even while he still wore his gray Confederate officer's uniform.
Eventually, he was adopted by another Native American chief, but was challenged to a duel of honor by his jealous son who cheated in his favor. When Jonah was forced to kill him with a knife, the chief punished him by scarring his face, giving him the hideous "Mark of the Demon."
Since then, Jonah makes his living as a bounty hunter, carrying out his hunts with ruthless efficiency, although tempered with a personal code of honor that leads him to defend and avenge the weak and the oppressed in his own brutal way. He's part of the wider DC Universe
, though long-dead in the present era (his body was apparently stuffed and mounted and ended up in a traveling circus).
When his original series ended, Jonah was thrown into a post-Apocalyptic future ala Mad Max
in a title called simply Hex
. He had a few miniseries in Vertigo Comics
with a supernatural bent, went on to a new DCU series that, with The Comics Code
having lost any meaningful power, was even Darker
than before, and eventually came full circle, returning to the pages of All-Star Western
in the New 52
as the main character.
The character has appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League,
and Batman: The Brave and the Bold
episodes. Also, a feature film
was released on June 18, 2010 starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox
. The results were... less than auspicious, with reviews ranging from mixed to horrible, and a box office that suffered heavily (thanks mostly to competition from Toy Story 3
). There is also the animated short, DC Showcase: Jonah Hex
, that serves as a bonus feature for Batman: Under the Red Hood
; interestingly, it's written by Joe Lansdale, who wrote the Hex-starring Batman TAS episode "Showdown".
The series contains examples of: