familiarity with the Jonah Hex character is mostly limited to the episode of Batman:
The Animated Series
that focused exclusively on Hex squaring off with Ra’s
al Ghul in the Old West over a crazy domination scheme involving fancy
dirigible technology. But from what I understand, that’s pretty much the
character in a nutshell. Honorable guy. Defeated face. Good with guns. Only problem
is he’s been tossed around the DC universe so much that he’s never had a
long-lasting, definitive run. Not too long ago, he was taken in as a stray by the
Vertigo imprint, which added some nifty supernatural touches to his universe to
liven up a static western antihero.

As far as
using the character for a movie, DC/Warner Bros. has had to cope with the twin
obstacles of A) the western being a hard genre to sell to people in recent
years and B) the fact that Jonah Hex is unknown to the general public. But
apparently Warners thinks they got the solution, and that solution is to hand
him over to the makers of Crank, the lunatic actioner starring
Jason Statham that blindsided us out of nowhere. Since then, the film’s
architects, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, have been mentioned as
writer/directors or producers on a number of projects, but they’ve just made
room to adapt Jonah Hex as well. They’re said to be taking cues from the
Vertigo iteration, so you can look forward to Hex squaring with off with an
undead foe or two.

surprisingly, DC is looking at this as franchise material, which hopefully
means that they’re going in the opposite direction of Hollywood’s last attempt to marry the Old
West with the fantastic in hopes of a lucrative franchise, Wild Wild West. I just
haven’t seen enough of Neveldine and Taylor’s work to know if they got the
chops yet, and a couple of their upcoming projects (especially the Gerard
Butler Avalon-redux Game) sound sketchy even at the
conceptual level. But we’ll keep our fingers crossed anyway.