16 June 2010

DC Comics 75th Anniversary: Our JONAH HEX Mini-Primer

Abbracadabbling begins our comicsblog look at DC Comics 75th Anniversary with JONAH HEX, the anti-heroic bounty hunter of the Wild West whose adventures sometimes border on the supernatural but always end in blood.  Rumored to having killed 336 people in his lifetime, Hex's trademark is the result of a traumatic disfigurement he suffered during an Apache punishment ritual -- his right eye is enlarged with a cataract, and a scar runs down the right side of his face and across his mouth. 

The character itself was created by writer John Albano and illustrator Tony Dezuniga, and debuted in the pages of All-Star Western comics, Issue #10 in March, 1972.  Since then, Hex has remained the most popular - and most ubiquitous - of DC's Old West stable, and has starred in several of his own series while making appearances in even more. Yes, despite having lived 100 years before a rocket ship would ever deliver Krypton's Last Son to a cornfield in Smallville, Kansas, Hex's  adventures have been told even within the main DC Comics Universe. How? Well,  thanks to the benefits of time-travel - and quite likely the approval of the Justice League of America, whom Hex first met in the 199th issue of that team's book. 

 While not all comics fans - or folks in general - will be familiar with Jonah Hex, DC's done a good job of making the squarely B-list character  more accessible.  Tamed-for-TV versions of Hex have co-starred in episodes of the popular Cartoon Network series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited and, much more recently, on the hit animated show Batman Brave and The Bold (see right)
Tomorrow, the spaghetti-Western stylings of Jonah Hex gallop into theaters nationwide; it's the end of a journey that was often perilous and at risk far more than it ever was of being a success.  That's typical for Hex, but not for a superhero screen adaptation. How the film stacks up we'll know before high noon on Friday; however, the movie has already accomplished a feat, at least within the halls of superhero cinema. Hex will be the first Old West comic book character to see itself on the Silver Screen.  Old timers, don't buy  a ticket and expect The Lone Ranger, because Hex is nothing if not different;  from the Ranger's pulp and radio roots to the core of the character, The Lone Ranger is who Jonah Hex has for breakfast.  Yee-haw!

No comments: