Friday, June 18, 2010

Jonah Hex

Jonah 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. Hex is surly and cynical, but bound by a personal code of honor to protect and avenge the innocent and is in many ways similar to Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name or The Outlaw Josey Wales.

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.

Throughout the character's history, the western genre conventions have been heavily subverted. 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, got married and had a son, and took up farming, though it didn't last.

Hex's facial injuries can be traced back to being sold into slavery by his father to the 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 and 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.

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