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 constant companions; One was death itself...the other, the acrid smell of gunsmoke....
Hardly ever bought westerns back in the Bronze Age. Hardly ever bought war books either, or the DC mystery titles for that matter. Didn't see the point when there was all those superheroes flying around.
Sure, occasionally I'd pick up a Kid Colt Outlaw or Rawhide Kid if there was nothing else in the shop, but somehow Jonah Hex almost completely passed me by. I was aware of him, but just wasn't that interested.
More fool me, 'cos as I've since discovered as an alleged grown-up, Jonah Hex is one of comics' great anti-heroes, right up there with Conan or The Punisher.
Plus, he's purtier than both of 'em.
Designed by the late, great Tony DeZuniga, Jonah is a mean, deadly bounty hunter who retains an inner goodness he's not often keen to show off. Disfigured and tortured by Apaches, his face is half good / half evil, just like his christian / satanic name, and he comes with a compelling backstory you only slowly discover as the original series progresses.
For most of his Bronze Age career, he was written by the barking mad Michael Fleisher, Mr. Misanthropy himself, and was a case of a writer and character being a match made in Hell.
There was a not especially great movie a couple of years ago, with a miscast Josh Brolin, and I wouldn't bother, as clearly nobody realised that a Jonah Hex movie had already been made, sort of. It was called The Outlaw Josey Wales. But for a proper adaptation, far better to check out the animated one, part of the DC Showcase series. Here's a fan made trailer to give you a flavour:
While here's his first appearance, sort of. This is a fill-in / reprint of Jonah's debut, wrapped round a new prologue and epilogue that gives an added dimension to the original story, and for once, it's a fill-in idea that worked. Here's the deadliest gunfighter in the West: