Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is my personality. Maybe it is a phase. Whatever it is, I keep finding myself pulled back into the 70’s lately. The latest culprit to drag me back to that simpler time is the upcoming Jonah Hex movie.
Jonah Hex was a comic book character. Wikipedia describes him…
Jonah Woodson Hex is a fictional character, a Western comic book antihero created by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga and published by DC Comics. The right side of his face is horribly scarred. He was an officer for the Confederacy during the American Civil War, fought at Gettysburg and is normally shown wearing a tattered Confederate States Army jacket. Hex is surly and cynical, and is in many ways similar to Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name or The Outlaw Josey Wales. He will be played by Josh Brolin in an upcoming film adaptation, also called Jonah Hex.
My Uncle Troy is just three years my senior. We lived in the same town growing up and often hung out. Troy and I went through a period where we voraciously consumed comics. Like most kids our age, we consumed the staples, such as the Archie and superhero comics. But our niche was western comics. We read them all. Every character. Every issue. We followed the adventures of such classic heroes as The Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt, and the Two-Gun Kid. They were good guys doing good deeds with lightening quick reflexes and belching six shooters.
Troy and I would read about these heroes of the wild west and then we would spend hours playing cowboys, using every nook and cranny of the church his dad (and my granddad) pastored to hide and stalk one another. We became masters of stealth and surprise. On the odd occasion when we were able to recruit other kids and then work as a team against them, well, let’s just say, the comic book “Kids” had nothing on the Texas Kids ( an unofficial, but cool-sounding nickname we occasionally adopted.)
Then there was Jonah Hex. He was the dark antihero. He had that sinister scar on the right side of his face and that trademark string of flesh over the right side of his mouth. He was, I suppose, the Batman of western comic heroes. Sure, he fought for good and right most of the time, but there were horrors and misfortunes in his past that made him what he was. He was seldom noble. His motives were not always pure.
You might say that Jonah Hex was the first fictional character to suggest to my malleable mind that things are not always black and white. People are seldom completely good or absolutely evil. There are varying shades of gray. The best of us may do the worst things imaginable. The worst of us may have moments of magnanimity.
The western comics I was into did not enjoy the widespread popularity the superhero and other mainstream comics did. I had not thought about them in a long, long time. Then I ran across a note about the soon-to-be-released movie and that opened the flood gates.
[An aside: I don’t know what ever became of the boxes and boxes of comic books I owned. I am sure Mom purged them at some point. I forgive her for that. How could she or I have known we were tossing out tens of thousands of dollars?]
So, yeah. I plan to see the movie. I will let you know if Josh Brolin did Hex justice.