Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are having a blast with Jonah Hex. They've been writing the character for nearly 100 issues now and lately, Jonah's been having strange adventures in his future, the present New 52 timeline. You can imagine a fellow from the Old West running into characters such as Batman or Superman would be pretty crazy and you'd be correct. While Jonah's time in his future may be limited (he will, of course, find his way back), it's not all fun and games. There will be repercussions.
We had the chance to talk to Jimmy about Jonah in the future and whether or not we'll actually see those "Sexy Western Stories."
COMIC VINE: Did you guys map out from the beginning how many issues Jonah would spend in the present or just let it ride out?
JIMMY PALMIOTTI: We had an idea about what we were going to do in the present with Jonah and then see how the audience liked the idea. The feedback has been wonderful, and things are going to get a bit wild. Many changes are coming soon. We have always been trying to find the audience for this book, which has been difficult from the beginning since just doing a die-hard western was not generating enough of an audience. Breaking out with the new title under the New 52 , it got us some attention, but like anything, you need to keep the attention and push on a book like this to survive. Since its on the low end of the sales spectrum, we have to do the heavy lifting within the book, and as you can tell for the past year, we have taken the book in places nobody dreamed we would…and there is more to come.
CV: We've seen Jonah interact with different characters in the present day. What made you choose Superman for issue 27?
JP: We wanted to get another character that was an “alien” to the world Jonah has been stuck in and since our characters were heading west, Metropolis and Superman seemed like the coolest pair up. The conversation between Superman and Jonah alone is worth the price of the book and then we took things a bit further in the second half of the story that will change Jonah forever. I think its all a natural progression for the character and what happens after will sock some readers. Even the die-hard Jonah fans will be talking about this issue for a long time.
CV: Superman seemed to really try to connect with Jonah. Why did Superman let Jonah go on his way without worrying about anyone he might kill?
JP: Superman says why in his conversation. He cannot be everywhere at the same time and Jonah is an adult. The conversation was Superman trying to understand who he is and I think in there, Superman understands that although he is a killer, his values are on the right side. He was trying hard not to judge and understood where Jonah came from at the same time. He does try to talk to him about guns, but that conversation went south quickly.
CV: Were there any other characters you and Justin wanted to include but it didn't work out or would just be too crazy?
JP: We did a story that will remain unpublished, where Jonah is dropped in another time on the other side of the world before he comes to the United States present day, that will appear in an annual or a special one day in the future. It was our tribute to one of the artistic greats of our time and other than that, we cannot talk about it, otherwise we will ruin the surprise. Its one of my favorite stories we ever did with Jonah, so my fingers are crossed this day will come soon.
CV: Jonah learns a bit about his possible future. Will this come into play in later issues or is it something Jonah just isn't going to dwell on?
JP: How can you see your past, what happens to you and how time has treated your legend and not have it change your life. The second half of All Star #27 will shock readers and especially anyone that has a sense of history of the character and Jonah’s reaction to this is that he is overwhelmed and causes him to do something really unlike him.
CV: At the museum, we see a sign for "Sexy Western Stories." When are we going to see you write that?
JP: That is the next title we do when this one is put to pasture. Or maybe it will be our next Kickstarter, since we can get away with murder on those. Either way, there is nothing I would find more fun than to tell sexy stories of the west. I like to think a lot of the past books we have done have been very sexy.
CV: What about the idea of Jonah someday traveling even further into the future and meeting the Legion of Super-Heroes or Justice League 3000?
JP: That sounds like a mini-series idea outside the actual ALL-STAR Title. I think we have hit upon as much as we can with the cross over characters for now. Well, there is still one more coming in an issue or two…but Jonah knows this guy pretty well.
JP: Interesting. 70 ISSUES, one graphic novel, one zero issue and the next ALL-STAR WESTERN is issue 28. Yup, that would be 100 issues. Well, it’s not up to me to do anything except keep working, but I am sure some web site or something will hopefully make some sort of big deal…lol.
People love milestones. In my living room, I have the original cover to JONAH HEX#1 that Frank Quitely did. I plan to get a beer and a shot of jack and toast all the wonderful people that have helped us make this a spectacular run. We have been blessed with so many talented artists over the years, so for now, that's the plan.
Maybe we will get a phone call green lighting the Sexy Western Stories anthology. That would be cool.
ALL-STAR WESTERN #27 featuring Jonah Hex and Superman is now on sale. The "hundredth" issue, #28, is on sale February 26. Be sure to check out the PaperFilms website for updates on projects by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts and Frank Tieri.