Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jonah Hex

“He was a hero to some, a villain to others, and wherever he rode people spoke his name in whispers. He had no friends, this Jonah Hex, but he did have two companions: one was death itself… the other… the acrid smell of gunsmoke.” 

Those words set the tone for one of the finest Western characters ever created. Born in 1838, Jonah Hex was a surly bounty hunter and former Confederate soldier bound by a personal code of honor. His hideously scarred face made him instantly recognizable.

If you’re not familiar with the character, I encourage you to pick up the two Showcase Presents books reprinting his earliest adventures. The first volume reprints All-Star Western #2-8, 10-11 and Weird Western Tales #12-14, 16-33. The second volume picks up with Weird Western Tales 34-38 and Jonah Hex 1-22.

I’m currently reading the second volume and was reminded of why I fell in love with the character in the first place, way back in the 70’s when I first started buying comic books.

He is unique amongst DC Comics’ stable of characters. In a landscape populated by morally black and white heroes and villains, Hex stands out as being all sorts of gray. It’s part of what makes him such a rich, compelling character.

Here’s a sampling of some of the cool covers from the book’s original run. 

Easily the ballsiest Hex story ever published was “The Last Bounty Hunter” from the Jonah Hex Spectacular, released in the fall of 1978, written by long-time Hex scribe Michael Fleisher and drawn by the talented Russ Heath.

It’s a gripping and powerful story in which we witness the murder of Jonah Hex at the age of 66. And then, in an even more disturbing turn of events, his body is stuffed and put on display. Pretty gutsy stuff for a popular character whose monthly book was still going strong—and would keep going for another 70+ issues.

No comments:

Post a Comment