Saturday, June 19, 2010

Jonah Hex

Last night I went to the theater and watched a movie called Jonah Hex. There were only 11 people in the audience on this opening night. I found out why.

Josh Brolin stars as the title character and he actually does a good job, but unfortunately, even his talent could not save this film. It had a lot of potential but the main problem was the fact that the powers that be seemed to ignore the true value of sticking with the source material found within pages of the comic book. They seemed to focus more on making this as hokey as possible and leaving all believability and authenticity out.

The story of Jonah Hex is one that combines elements of the traditional Western and several doses of the Supernatural. It is a very strange idea that was brought to life by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga back in the early 70s. The character first appeared in “Weird Western Tales” # 10. There was enough interest to launch Jonah Hex into his own comic book where he embarked on various strange adventures which had a lot to do with revenge and his own brand of justice. He is a kind of bounty hunter who is very reminiscent of Clint Eastwood‘s “Man With No Name”. The characters Jonah Hex meets in his adventures are not limited to the traditional bad guys found in western stories, but also include evil zombies, witch doctors, scorned women and just plain odd balls. None of them wants to go peacefully so there is always a cause for a shoot out, hanging or some other bizarre demise... And did I forget to mention... Jonah Hex is one ugly dude himself.

The current comic book incarnation of Jonah Hex is masterfully written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti who put their own stamp on the character while being respectful to the original comic book. The film makers would have been better off simply choosing one of the comics (preferably the origin story) and using it as a story board instead of straying so far off course it doesn’t even seem to have anything to do with the Jonah Hex I enjoy reading in the books.

Though it is not your standard western fare, I recommend the comic book. See the movie if you wish, but please try not to let it steer you away from all things Hex as you will be missing out on some great stories and artwork.

The movie stars Josh Brolin, John Malkovich and Megan Fox.

Cap'n Ron

*UPDATE: May 27th, 2011-

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Jimmy Palmiotti this past weekend. He and Justin Gray are responsible for writing the great stories found within Jonah Hex comics. I am not a member of the press so this was not an interview. I was just speaking with him as a fan. I did not discuss the movie with him, but we did talk very briefly about the Jonah Hex comic. He told me that people often wonder how a guy from Brooklyn can write western stories. I replied that I was sure he did his research as there are many books about the time period. He said he has done a lot of traveling which has been inspirational to his work. He also mentioned that Justin Gray, his collaborator on the Jonah Hex stories, had worked on a ranch as well. Perhaps his experiences in that environment serve as an inspiration. I noticed right off that Mr. Palmiotti was very humble and very appreciative of his fans. He signed a couple of Jonah Hex Comics as we conversed and thanked me for my compliments. In my opinion he had already done plenty for me as I was happy just talking to the guy, but then he said "I'm going to draw a little sketch for you". I was thrilled to see that he was doing a quick sketch of Jonah Hex for me right on the cover of my issue #1. I know this update isn't directly related to western movies but if you read the review I posted about the Jonah Hex movie, you will recall that I expressed great admiration for the Jonah Hex comics. So for me this experience was worth sharing and I hope you enjoy it.

Cap'n Ron


  1. I enjoyed this movie for what it was (which wasn't much) but still consider it to be quite a misfire. It's as if the writers and director never even looked at the current series of comics, which I suppose would be fine if it were not a simple fact that the stories Palmiotti and Gray have been delivering are the reason why this movie was made in the first place! I mean, I like the old comics as well, but this current run is definitely where it's at. All in all it was disappointing. Thankfully I don't think the movie will drive away any current readers, but it isn't going to do much to gain the book any new ones either, and that is unfortunate.

  2. It was definitely a disappointment and not something I'll watch a second time.

  3. It was stylish, but the producers seemed to be too enamored with the idea of making a comic book movie, when they should have been making a western.