Is James Gunn just messing with us now? Or is he just being respectful? The new co-CEO of DC Studios has tweeted out yet another picture of a DC Comics character, fueling speculation that he may be teasing yet another potential addition to the forthcoming DC Cinematic Universe. But he could just be saying “Happy Anniversary” to DC’s venerable western hero, Jonah Hex.
DC has taken a few swings at a Hex project before. Johnathon Schaech has played him in several DC CW TV series and the character has appeared several times in the DC Animated Universe, but his 2010 cinematic debut starring Josh Brolin as Hex was an unmitigated belly flop despite a star-studded cast. The face-palm of a flick earned only a minuscule $11 million at the box office, less than a third of its $47 million budget. It currently stands at a 12 percent Tomatometer rating on the review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes.
Of course, Gunn may only be paying his respects, as the gun-toting bounty-hunting antihero made his debut exactly one half-century ago in 1972. Hex was invented by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga as an homage/pastiche of western heroes such as “the man with no name” portrayed by Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns. Writer Jimmy Palmiotti, who has written the character for DC Comics for several years now, took to his own Twitter to wish him Happy Anniversary — and to bemoan the lack of a current Hex title at the comic book publisher.
One person hoping that Gunn may be considering more than an anniversary celebration is Hex actor Johnathon Schaech. Schaech took to his own social media to personally lobby Gunn for a spin-off for his DC CW character. And given that the character has enjoyed far more small-screen acclaim than big-screen success, he may have a pretty good argument that Jonah Hex belongs on TV.