Saturday, January 19, 2013
I don't get Hex
So DC Comics has a character that was brought to screen, rather horribly. They turned Jonah Hex who is pregnant with storytelling possibilities into an steampunk hero who is nearly divorced from everything the comic character was, except for the scars on the face. I get that, actually. Movies are made all the time and molest the source materials indecently to make a movie story instead of a comic book story consistent with its origins.
DC Comics wouldn't likely have had the character at all in public eye without the really fine run of stories with him, by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and various artists. The run of work is really fine, and I am not complaining, even a little bit that the comics have been collected, mostly, in tradepaperback format for the book trade and for the casual reader who doesn't pick up the serialized monthly single editions.
But I do have a problem.
The character was a meaningless spaghetti western hero/anti-hero for years and while there were moments of greatness, mostly, it was an unsuccessful comic character with a range of stories from ok to pretty good. Until Tim Truman and Joe R. Lansdale took the character on three very memorable adventures. The stories were labeled, appropriately, for mature audiences, but weren't altogether nasty or wrong, but showed the level of violence and depravity his character required to tell the story properly.
The art by Timothy Truman, long an artist with an affection for western and frontier characters, was mindblowingly good. The stories, though dark and hard edged, were crisply written, and explored the world of a man like Hex, without the limits of the comics code.
And despite a print or two of Two Gun Mojo, the first of the adventures, it is miraculously hard to find, and the second and third series have never been collected. DC was sued over creative issues by two musicians for various reasons, but the work was fiction, labeled as such, and DC mostly won the court cases. But seemingly to placate the people suing, the second and third volumes of Hex by Truman and Lansdale have never come out. I don't remember Truman doing much at DC since then, nor Lansdale, so it is an incredibly hairy deal to suggest that with the excellent work done, that DC is not reprinting these works.
Is DC suggesting that the other more recent works are MORE worthy of being collected? Well despite having some affection for the more recent run, there is no comparison, Truman and Lansdale have thus far done the best of all the work on the character. There is absolutely no reason for not reprinting the stories in TPB format other than what I suspect are petty worries about things that were settled.
Hey DC if you print these people will buy them, and maybe then you'll find a film maker who can understand what makes the character great, instead of the people who made the piece of shit movie that you were left with.