HEX Still HEX Says GRAY, Just Riding in DCnU Gotham in Sept.

DCnU HEX Still HEX Says Writer

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While DC is drastically revamping some titles in September, there are a few that are experiencing little change.

For fans of the current series Jonah Hex by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, the announcement that the writing duo would return on All-Star Western was good news. The comic will feature the same Jonah Hex character that people have been enjoying for a while, and the main story is focused on his adventures as a bounty hunter.

"You're going to see Jonah Hex is still Jonah Hex," Gray said.

But the title's change to All-Star Western isn't the only alteration to the world of Jonah Hex. There's also a different setting, and a change to the way the stories are structured.

"The difference is that it's not stand-alone stories," Gray told Newsarama of the new #1 issue's launch in September. "It's ongoing. But it will have the same passion and drive to tell the best Western stories possible with the greatest characters available to us."

The title also switches its setting to Gotham City, exploring the history of the legendary DC city in a way that goes back even further than the current mini-series Batman: Gates of Gotham. In the first issue's story, ex-confederate soldier and bounty hunter Jonah Hex is brought to Gotham by a criminal psychologist to help hunt down a serial killer.

"He's in Gotham now, and that makes a really nice dynamic," Gray said. "What we really looked at was authenticity, and what Gotham would look like and feel like at that moment in history. And that provides not only a lot of beautiful scene setting, because Gotham looks amazing, but it also presents historical things that make for good story-telling."

Gray said All-Star Western takes place in the Gotham of the 1880s. "What you expect to be in there is probably in there, and maybe a lot of things you wouldn't expect," Gray said.

The artist will also be ongoing, as opposed to the frequent guest stars who drew the former Hex series. Beginning with All-Star Western #1, the regular artist on the series will be Moritat.

"He is absolutely amazing," Gray said. "I love looking at his pages. He was doing The Spirit, and the three of us just seemed to click with what we wanted to do and the stylization of artwork that he wanted to do."

Gray and Palmiotti had already established a loyal following for their current Jonah Hex series, and the pair are well-known for their many independent series as well. Currently, the two have two graphic novels coming out in the next few weeks: Trailblazer from Image and Booksmart from Kickstart Comics.

Fans of their work on Jonah Hex have also come to expect the stories to push the boundaries of what violent and disturbing acts Jonah can either witness or commit. And Gray said that part of their Hex stories won't be changing just because the book is being relaunched.

"We're certainly not shying away from it. If we're telling a story, as long as it makes sense within the context of the story and is integral, and is not gratuitous or done for shock value, which we very rarely ever do, I don't see any problem with it," Gray said. "But we are always going to creep up on that edge."

Check back later this week as we talk to Gray about his upcoming original graphic novels with co-writer Palmiotti.

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