Interview: Jimmy Palmiotti Discusses the End of His Run With Jonah Hex

Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring
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Sadly, ALL STAR WESTERN has come to an end. Issue #34 marked the end of a Jonah Hex run of over 100 issues by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. With sadness in out hearts, we talked to Jimmy about his run and also what's coming up in STAR-SPANGLED WAR STORIES: G.I. ZOMBIE.

COMIC VINE: You and Justin Gray had a great run with Jonah Hex that lasted over 100 issues, over the course of two volumes. How does it feel to have this long run come to an end?

JIMMY PALMIOTTI: I don’t think it will hit me fully till after this week when the last issue comes out. I am a bit sad we won’t be working on Jonah hex again, but Justin and I have already been working on another idea for a western for ourselves that hopefully fill the gap. I find it very surreal that we got to write over 100 issues. We honestly didn't think we would get past 12 issues of the initial run. We knew from the start that a western was probably the hardest kind of comic to sell in this day and age, but we stuck with it, and in the end, it was the fans and DC that made this happen. So, it sucks, but I’m really happy we had the run we did.

CV: Looking back, what are some stand out moments in the series for you?

JP: Working with Tony DeZuniga on the hardcover right before he passed away was one of many highlights. Growing up loving the character and actually working with one of the co-creators was a dream come true. He was one of the nicest guys I had the pleasure of knowing. Another was getting to work with the legendary Jordi Bernet. I have been a fan of his work for years starting with the Torpedo series and getting to work with him and then finally getting to meet him was just amazing. Another wonderful man. Writing the series with Justin is another. We work together so well and getting to throw ideas back and forth every month has been a great learning process for me. He taught me a ton. I know how lucky we were with this series…we were teamed with the best in Art, color and lettering in the business. Each and every issue had its standout moments. I hope some of the characters we created like Tallulah Black and Barbary Ghost get a chance to appear again someday.

CV: With issue #34 being the last, what can we expect?

JP: You can expect some closure, a nod back to the “ death of Jonah Hex” story from way back, and some of the finest art you have ever seen from the amazing Darwyn Cooke and Dave Stewart. This issues story is made for everyone that has been there for the ride. I am really proud of it. The ending is worth the wait.

CV: Any Booster Gold?

JP: Hell no. He had his chance.

CV: You've worked with some great artists over the course of this series, such as Moritat, Staz Johnson, and Darwyn Cooke. To you, how important was the art style for this character and series?

JP: The art and storytelling is the heart of the book. We had the easy part of the gig. Look at the first run and try to find any series that had that much talent between the covers! We were teamed with the best in the business and they made us look good each and every issue. Moritat had the longest run and his work blew us away each and every issue. One day I hope DC collects them into 3 or 4 hardcovers. I have been asking for that for years.

CV: How has the support been from the fans for this series?

JP: We wrote this book for the fans and they have been an amazing group of diverse people. We only wish there were another 20 thousand of them, then we wouldn't be here kissing the book goodbye. Justin and I owe them so much for standing and making noise about the title. We were almost cancelled many times, but the fans have the power and they flexed their muscles and we did our best to repay them with the best stories we could tell. We owe them all a great big shot of whiskey.

CV: Any chance we'll see a special edition or collection of this series or some of the best stories from Jonah Hex?

JP: They have not said a word to us other than telling us we had a great run and how proud of it they were. I hope we see some hardcover collections. I don’t know if you know this, but the trade collections are not being reprinted and most are out of print. I hope retailers stock up and this all changes. It would be a shame not to have collections out there of the first series we did.

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CV: You, Justin, and artist Scott Hampton have another book at DC hitting it's second issue: STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES: G.I. ZOMBIE, a darker, covert op book. What's going on in issue #2 of this series?

JP: This issue opens with our main character riding a missile into a small town and letting out a virus that …well, lets just say it becomes very dawn of the dead really quick. It's a fun, over the top story that gets bigger and more insane every single issue.

CV: Is there any chance we would ever see a cameo from Unknown Soldier from Justin and your work on G.I. COMBAT?

JP: You know…that’s not a bad idea. We haven’t planned it yet, but those two might get along…unless G.I.Zombie doesn't eat that day.

CV: You have a great knack for bringing classic ideas and characters into the present. Do you feel a bit more passionate for western and war books compared to the super-hero genre?

JP: I enjoy every genre but especially ones that have infinite possibility. I love writing characters like Harley and Hex and the approach is always, to me, what can I bring to the table. I am passionate with every gig I take on and honestly, pass on those I have no interest in. I cannot do work for hire anymore where I have no interest in the character. I am turning down work right now because I just don't see a unique angle or voice to explore. I feel by doing this my other work gets better.

CV: Is there a property or character in DC's history that you've really wanted to write or work on?

JP: Believe it or not, I always wanted to write the Legion of Superheroes. I want to introduce them to a new audience and go over the top exploring other galaxies. Take the book and characters somewhere else and make it fun. Another is the Spectre. I want to go all film noir on him and make it the scariest character ever. I would like to do it with Darwyn Cooke co-writing and on art. Hey, you asked. Other than that, I am sure there are a few others I would be interested in.​

Thanks to Jimmy Palmiotti for answering our questions and make sure to pick up the finale of ALL STAR WESTERN #34 and STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES: G.I. ZOMBIE #2, now on sale!