Friday, June 11, 2010

Jonah Hex #56

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Phil Winslade and CP Smith

I've never understood the thinking at comic book companies when a movie featuring one of their characters is released.  Lately, they flood the market with a ton of content, most of it decidedly not new-reader friendly, and I'm sure they confuse and drive away many more new readers than they attract.  Look at Marvel's recent Iron Man output - I love the character and his regular monthly book, but I have no idea what among the other four or five mini-series, specials, and new series are worth buying (and therefore, buy none unless I see Matt Fraction's name on it).

So now, DC has their Jonah Hex movie come out, and they decide to do something very smart.  In addition to publishing a new graphic novel (which I totally missed in the solicitations because I thought it was a trade collection of issues I'd already read), they take the most recent issue of the character's monthly book, give it a wonderfully iconic cover by Darwyn Cooke, and fill it with two short stories that do a great job of introducing the character's past and character, giving new readers enough information that they can access the stories, and still being able to maintain the interest of a long-time reader.  They select, in Phil Winslade and CP Smith two artists with very different styles and approaches to Hex, but with strong storytelling skills.  Basically, they put out one of the best issues of Jonah Hex this year at just the time that people might be looking for it.

And then they seal the whole thing in a polybag with a free movie poster, so that any prospective new readers can't get a glimpse of the high-quality art, or a feel for the comic with its very cool 'silent movie' style titles.  It's been said many times, but it's always a wonder that this industry survives despite the best interests of the people running it.  Go read this issue of Hex - it's not the 90s, so toss the bag and the poster.

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