Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The character first appeared in a full-page in-house ad for All-Star Western #10 which was published in various Nov/Dec 1971-dated DC comics, including a few of DC's war comics line, as well as a half-page version of the same house ad in Batman #237. This house ad contains the first published images of Jonah Hex, as well as two dialogue-filled comic strip panels not used in his first "full-story appearance".
His first full-story appearance was published a few weeks later in volume two of All-Star Western #10 (February–March 1972), which was renamed Weird Western Tales with its twelfth issue. Jonah Hex all but dominated the new title right up until issue #38, at which point Scalphunter took over the spotlight while Jonah Hex moved into his own self-titled series in 1977. The series lasted for 92 issues with Michael Fleisher as the main writer and Tony DeZuniga providing much of the art.
Jonah Hex was canceled during Crisis on Infinite Earths (in which Jonah also appeared along with Scalphunter and other western heroes in issue #3, 1985), but in the same year Jonah moved to a new eighteen-issue series titled Hex, also penned by Michael Fleisher. In a bizarre turn of events, Hex found that he had been transported to the 21st century and became somewhat of a post-apocalyptic warrior, reminiscent of Mad Max. The series had mediocre success in the United States but was critically acclaimed and well received in Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and Japan.
Three Jonah Hex miniseries have been published under DC's Vertigo imprint. These series, written by Joe R. Lansdale and drawn by Tim Truman, fit more into the western-horror genre, as Hex interacts with zombies ("Two-Gun Mojo" #1-5, 1993), a Cthulhoid monster ("Riders of the Worm and Such" #1-5, 1995), and spirit people ("Shadows West" #1-3, 1999).
In November 2005, DC began a new monthly Jonah Hex series written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with interior art by varying (and occasionally recurring) artists. In assorted postings on their message board, Grey and Palmiotti have stated their intent to depict various adventures from across the full length of Hex's life and career. The main artistic difference is that the series is published without the external restraints of the Comics Code Authority which allows for harder edged stories without having to keep with the Vertigo imprint's dark fantasy themes. Tony DeZuniga, the original Hex artist, has pencilled two issues of the book (#5 and #9) and may do more in the future. John Higgins drew issue #28 and J. H. Williams III provided the art for Jonah Hex #35, expressing an interest in doing more: "I certainly want to do more issues myself or even a graphic novel if the opportunity and schedule presented itself."
To coincide with the release of the film Gray and Palmiotti wrote an original graphic novel, No Way Back (ISBN 1401225500), that was illustrated by Tony DeZuniga.
Jonah has battled alcoholism, and as an adult faced his mother's turn to prostitution. Though he traveled extensively throughout the American West, he also ended up in South America and China. At one point he quit bounty hunting, married and had a son, and took up farming, though it did not last.
Hex's facial injuries can be traced back to being sold into slavery by his father to some Apache for safe passage. Jonah eventually saved the chief from being killed by a mountain lion and was made an honorary member of the tribe. He was soon betrayed by the envious son of the chief while on a raid. He returned years later to challenge him in a sacred tomahawk battle, but the chief's son sabotaged Jonah's tomahawk. Jonah used his knife in self-defense when the tomahawk broke. The tribe saw this as breaking the rules of the sacred battle and sentenced Jonah to wear the mark of the demon by pressing a searing hot tomahawk to his face. They said his honorary relationship to the chief was the only thing that saved him from death.
Hex was transported to 2050 for the Hex series. The exact date when this occurred has been in debate. Several sources point to 1875, however a running timeline of events in Jonah's life places this closer to 1878. It is unknown how long Jonah stayed in the future or what date he returned.
In 1904, Jonah was shot during a card game. His corpse was stolen, stuffed, mounted, and dressed in a ridiculous singing cowboy costume, then put on display in a traveling circus. The circus owner was eventually murdered and Jonah's body was stolen yet again. It would pass through various hands before finally being acquired by the restaurant Planet Krypton, owned by Booster Gold. (This plot line could be a reference/homage to the real life outlaw Elmer McCurdy, who suffered a similar fate.)
In 2010 Jonah was found by a Black Lantern ring and was revived as a member of the Black Lantern Corps.
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