I think we all need at least one
really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single
day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something
simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster
that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to.
Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the
staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in
on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit
of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll
help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in
their busy celluloid digesting day.

by Elisabeth Rappe Author Page   Twitter Page  Facebook Page

What I’m Thankful For

Jonah Hex.

No, we are not talking about the movie. That thing is over and done with. I’m talking about the DC Comics character, who is still going strong in an outstanding series by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray.

He’s an unrelenting badass. He’s a twisted and angry dose of Josey Wales that arrived on schedule, every month, and with some of the best art in the business.  I’ve scaled back my comic buying quite a bit (ah, poverty) and it was partly due to so many issues being an absolute waste of my money.  They aren’t complete stories. They aren’t even satisfying chapters half the time. But Jonah Hex always is.  It’s a nasty little western in a short space, and I always come away satisfied.  His trade collections are some of the few I not only go back to, but actually find something new in.

Oh, and the series has one of the most killer female characters in comics.  Not even Megan Fox speaking the name of Tallulah Black can sully her cool. She’s a character who not only kills (and is often more eager and relentless in her pursuit of a quarry than Blondie ever was) and takes care of her own damn self, but she’s allowed to be scarred and maimed. This is probably unremarkable to a lot of people, but how often do you see a one-eyed and cut up heroine? Never.

But this week, I was thankful not for the glee I take in the comic and the character (come on,it’s tailor made for me and my obsessions), but that my sister actually enjoys it too.  Now, my sister is a pretty big geek.  When I first attended ComicCon on the fly, she came with me, and we marveled together over collectibles and celebrities as only blood nerds can.

However, she doesn’t like comics.  I’ve handed her stacks over  the years — Astonishing X-Men and Preacher were both notable and shocking failures — and nothing took beyond 300.  At least, I think she read 300.  I’m going to have to ask her. For some damn reason, I persisted and lent her Jonah Hex.  In fact, she actually asked me for them. I can’t remember why. It may have been the trailer for the movie we’re not talking about, or it may have just been a last ditch effort on my part.

To my surprise, she loved it. She borrowed my entire collection of trades.  She even asked how the authors (the notable Palmiotti and Gray) were doing and if I’d seen them on Twitter lately.  It was cute and completely out of character. When we finally rented the movie this week, she was rattling off the character’s finer points like a pro.  She even remembered Jonah Hex’s dog (“Dag”), and outstripped me. But only for a second.  I will not be outgeeked by my sister. Not on Jonah Hex of all things.

So, I’m thankful the comic is surviving in spite of the adaptation we won’t talk about. Considering No Way Back landed on the New York Times’ bestseller list, I think it may even have flourished. I’ve been grateful that gritty Westerns have found some corner of pop culture to thrive in, even if it’s one that doesn’t get it’s due press.  I’m consistently grateful for it’s simplicity. It’s a series I constantly press into people’s hands when they beg me for recommendations, and become trembly at the idea of going into a comic shop. “I — I want to read some comics but ….” I assure them they won’t be lost, and that this is one character they won’t need to hit up Wikipedia to decode. I promise they’ll love it just like they do Sergio Leone, and they’ll feel like an adult reading it. And they have! Every single one. 

But mainly, I’m grateful that my sister took to it. Other geeks have been an easy sell, but not her.  But now that she believes me that there are good stories out there — ones without Wolverine — she trusts me a little more.  She happily accepted my gift of Fables and not only  read it, but discussed it with me.  She even started reading ahead of me, which kind of pissed me off.  Better yet, she told other people she was reading it led to them picking up comics, and recommending books to her. It’s a step into a new world. Why,  she’s even hinted she’d like to give Preacher another shot.

Not bad for one mangled piece of manflesh, is it? Keep on riding Jonah Hex. I hope you never reach that sunset.