Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe. #11 (Jan 1986)
Full Name: Jonah Woodson Hex
Occupation: Bounty Hunter, Former Soldier, Former Farmer
Marital Status: Married, later separated.
Known Relatives: Woodson (Father, Virginia "Ginny" (Mother, Mei Ling (Wife), Separated, Unnamed (Son), Mei Wong (brother-in-law), Mei Song (Sister-in-law), Unnamed (father-in-law, deceased)
Group Affiliation: None
Base of operations: Late 19th century American Southwest; for a time, the Seattle area circa 2050 A.D.
First Appearance: All-Star Western Tales #10
Hair: Reddish Blond
Born in 1838, Jonah Hex was one of the greatest legendary gunmen of the old West. He was the son of a brutal drunkard named Woodson Hex and his beautiful, long-suffering wife, Ginny. When Jonah was ten, his mother ran off with a travelling salesman named Preston W. Dazzleby. Jonah would not see his mother again for 27 years.
In 1851, when Jonah was 13, he and his father had gone out west for the California gold rush. Woodson sold Jonah as a slave to ah Apache chief in exchange for pelts, and never returned. Jonah was miserably treated by the Apaches until, when he 15, he saved the chief from a puma. The grateful chief freed Jonah and thereafter treated him as a son.
Jonah became the best hunter, tracker, gunman, and rider among the Apaches, and an Indian girl, White Fawn, fell in love with him. The chief's son, Noh-Tante, grew jealous of Hex. When both turned 16, they were sent to steal horses from the Kiowa Indians as a test of their worthiness as warriors. Noh-Tante knocked Jonah out, returned to the camp with the horses, and reported that Hex had fought poorly and been killed.
Bounty hunters killed the Kiowas who surrounded the abandoned Hex and shot Hex as well. Jonah was nursed back to health by an old trapper. Returning to the site of the Apache camp, he found the tribe was gone.
Hex became a buffalo hunter for the U.S. Army and eventually became a U.S. Cavalry scout. When the Civil War began, Hex joined the Confederate Army and became a lieutenant in the 4th Cavalry. But after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Hex told his best friend, Jeb Turnbull, that he could no longer fight to defend a system that supported slavery against people who were trying to end it. Hex went to the Union's Fort Charlotte, and after walking right into the captain's quarters, Hex surrendered to him. Although Hex refused to say where the other Confederate soldiers were camped, an orderly figured the location from examining the clay on Hex's horse's shoes. The Union captain had the Confederate soldiers taken by surprise, and then thanked him for his help in front of them. Hex found an escape tunnel in his cell and used it to reach the compound where Turnbull and the other Union prisoners were being held. But Hex did not realize that had planned all this as a means of ridding himself of prisoners he claimed he did not have enough food for. The captain's soldiers were waiting for the prison break and shot down almost all of the escaping soldiers, including Jeb. Hex survived and shot the captain. Only a handful of other Confederate soldiers escaped to safety, and they blamed the "Fort Charlotte massacre" on treachery by Hex. Jeb's father, Quentin Turnbull, vowed revenge on Hex and became his most implacable foe.
After the war, Jonah found Noh-Tante, who was now married to White Fawn. The chief decreed a trial by combat to decide whether Hex or Noh-Tante was telling the truth about the day they stole the Kiowa horses. But Noh-Tante gave Hex a tomahawk with a faulty handle, and Hex was forced to kill him with his knife to survive the combat. By killing Noh-Tante, Hex had broken Indian law. Not accepting Hex's claim that Noh-Tante cheated, the chief disowned Hex, burned scars called "the Mark of the Demon" onto his face, and expelled him from the Apache village.
Hex became the greatest bounty hunter of his day. As a result of one of Quentin Turnbull's conspiracies against him. Hex gained the enmity of the Mexican bandit chief El Papagayo (See El Papagayo), who became his other greatest foe.
Hex eventually fell in love with a young Chinese woman named Mei Ling, who asked Hex to give up hunting and killing other man for her sake. Jonah agreed, and they were married and had a son. But circumstances kept Hex to use his guns against other men. Finally, after Hex went to save a young boy named Petey Foster, who was in danger. Mei Ling took her son and left Hex. Heartbroken, Hex returned to his previous way of life.
But then, in 1875, Hex was apparently teleported to the Seattle area of the year 2050 A.D. by Reinhold Borsten, a power-hungry scientist. Borsten Had teleported many warriors from the past to his own time, apparently to battle each other for his own amusement. Borsten constructed his time-transporter in 2041, used it to send a man to 2045, and learned on his return that a nuclear holocaust would occur in 2045. Taking scientific records with him, Borsten teleported himself to a point after the holocaust, planning to rule the people who remained. But he found instead that society was now dominated by a criminal alliance called the Conglomerate, which controls "soames," a chemical means of decontaminating irradiated water. Hex escaped from Borsten and is now trying to survive in this devastated environment. It is not yet known how much of the world was ravaged by the holocaust, nor is it known whether Hex's 2050 occurs "before" or "after" all but one alternative future are "eliminated" in the so-called crisis on infinite earths.
It is known that Hex eventually returned to his own time. In 1904, when the 66-year-old Hex was cleaning his glasses, he was knocked on the head and fatally shot by George Barrow, leader of a gang of bank robbers whom Hex had killed. Lew Wheeler, owner of a Wild West Revue, shot Barrow and stole Hex's corpse, which he had treated by a taxidermist and put on exhibit in his revue. The corpse was last seen in the Westworld Amusement park on the outskirts of New York City in 1972.
Powers and Weapons
Jonah Hex was an extraordinary marksman and in his prime was quite possibly the fastest draw in the West. Hex was superb in hand-to-hand combat, horseback riding, hunting, tracking, tomahawk throwing, and in using knives and lassos. While in the 21st Century, he quickly mastered many forms of advanced weaponry and became a skilled driver of various kinds of motor vehicles.
Writer/Editor: Len Wein.
Contributing Editor: Marv Wolfman.
Contributing Writers: Mike W. Bar, Gary Cohan, Paul Levitz.
Contributing writers/Researchers: E. Nelson Bridwell, Peter Sanderson.
Not too long ago, during our Star Trek lunch, I mentioned that the Jonah Hex / Hex entries in Who's Who contained a number of errors. Realizing full well, as I do, what a huge job must have been involved in the compiling of Who's Who, I hope you won't mind if, for the sake of future accuracy, I list the Hex errors for you.
- Bank robber George Barrow did indeed kill Jonah Hex in 1904. But the man who killed George Barrow was not, as you state, Lew Wheeler, owner of a Wild West Revue, but rather Hank Crawford, a Wyoming Chief of Police.
- The Wild West show operator who ultimately acquired Jonah's corpse was named Lew Farnham, not Lew Wheeler, as stated in Who's Who. Princeton historian Michael Wheeler was Jonah Hex's friend in the last days of his life, and his biographer.
- The events depicted in HEX occur after the events delineated in Crisis on Infinite Earths. There is no question as to whether they occur before or after Crisis. They are real events, occurring after Crisis, and I do not believe there has ever been any confusion about this.
Please be assured that I have only words of praise for Who's Who and that I think the entry on Jonah Hex is excellent. I point out the above discrepancies only in the spirit of keeping the "historical" record straight.
- Michael L. Fleisher
Originally printed in WHO'S WHO Vol. XV (May 1986)
Hex was joined in the 21st Century by Metamorpho, the Element Man (aka Rex Mason), seemingly confirming this timeline's place in post Crisis continuity, though hypertime may make this a redundant point.
During his time in the 21st Century Hex came face to face with his corpse, thus confirming to him and readers that he would eventually get back to his proper time period.
In the late 1990's a busty red-head ex-supermodel called Hex appears to occasionally play host to the spirit of Jonah Hex. When possessed she speaks like Jonah and displays the ability to fire energy bolts from empty guns.