In 2011 Jimmy Palmiotti and I were tasked with relaunching our Jonah Hex series as All-Star Western with artist Moritat (his work above).
At the time I felt quite strongly that the title was going to be the demise of the book. Stating outright that it was a western at a time when DC was relaunching its superhero line (again) felt like a doomed proposal. As a result, the original concept was to tie more deeply to the DCU’s roots of those superheroes. Ultimately, much of that concept was erased or diluted, and it was not until the book faced cancellation that the deeper ties to the DCU became a topic of discussion. This is the first draft pitch document for:
Gray & Palmiotti
Prepared for Joey Cavalieri
The concept is simple.
We intend to frontload the existing DC Universe with previously unrevealed legacies while maintaining the same tone and time-period realism we brought to Jonah Hex. The introduction of a “secret history” not only ties the book and characters to the DCU, making the book relevant and exciting, it also offers fans a new look at the icons they know and love.
Just as The Kent’s explored the history of Superman’s adoptive parents, we will build a “western” family tree for characters like Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Deathstroke, Hawkman, Doctor Mid-Nite and many others. And we’ll do it by feeding into the existing mythology of each character showing that each modern relative shares a similar trait with his or her ancestor – be it fearlessness, archery, blindness, etc. The idea being that they were predestined to become these unique heroes. We will see some familiar family names, just as existing families tend to name children after parents and grandparents. Another fun element is showing that rivalries between heroes and villains existed or in some cases began in the 19th century. Maybe the Jordan’s hated the Hammonds long before Green Lantern fought Hector Hammond. Maybe Eel O’Brian’s great-grandfather was a contortionist in the Grayson Circus. John Dibny and Simon Pennyworth – Pinkerton detectives. Archie Bullock as a corrupt sheriff. William Cobblepot as a brothel owner and so on. There is a world of opportunities in All-Star Western both big and small.
With the backup stories, we will introduce some of these new characters as well as the other existing western characters in the D.C.U. If the situation and story are strong enough, we can move them to the feature position and keep this back and forth going for the entire series, holding the readers on edge.
STORYLINE #1 GOTHAM
JONAH HEX is hired to capture a mysterious murderer who has been stalking the streets of Gotham and killing prostitutes- Jack the Ripper maybe? Hex reluctantly joins forces with the alienist/psychiatrist Amadeus Arkham for clues as to the mental state of the killer. Arkham is already planning to build his hospital at this stage. The killer is Jasper Crane, ancestor of The Scarecrow. We’ll show a Crane family history of obsession with creating and mastering FEAR. Arkham stops Hex from killing Crane, explaining to him that men like Crane belong in a hospital. Naturally, Hex disagrees, stating that men like that belong in a grave.
STORYLINE #2 DEATHSTROKES
One of the most prominent villain families in DC comics is the Wilson family, so we’d like to expand on that in some unique ways – Jonah Hex is still in Gotham from the first arc, is hunting down three outlaw members of the WILSON (Deathstroke) family. This leads him on a quest to capture the rest of the wanted members of the notorious family. The story intertwines with Bat Lash as the backup as he faces Preacher Blackfire (Ancestor of Deacon Blackfire), finally culminating in the front and back stories becoming one in a massive conclusion issue. The family is so big that several members escape Hex, leaving room for the bloodline to continue.
BACKUP STORIES: Nighthawk – the traveling repairman, tries to stop corruption in a mining town and discovers the remains of his Native American incarnation wearing a small hawk shaped amulet made of Nth Metal. The Nth metal saves his life and gives him above average speed and endurance – just enough to make him one of the fastest guns in the west.
THE MARKSMAN – A Green Lantern legacy
When “Fearless” Frank Jordan, great-grandfather of Hal Jordan, loses his family and farm he becomes the masked gunfighter known as the Marksman hell-bent on hunting down the men responsible – the ancestors of Hector Hammond.
THE WHITE ARROW – A Green Arrow legacy
The sole survivor of an Indian attack that wiped out his wagon train, seven-year-old Hank Queen was adopted and raised by the Cheyenne where he eventually became an expert marksman with a bow and arrow. Having battled against his own people alongside Crazy Horse and the notable chief’s from the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Lakota, even the white soldiers, began to call him the white arrow or ghost arrow.
THE NIGHT DOCTOR – A Mid-Nite legacy
After being robbed and left for dead in the desert, traveling physician Seth McNider is blinded by the sun. He’s saved by a shaman who uses magic to restore McNider’s vision, but there’s a catch – His vision is now ‘inverted’: he can see in the dark the way most people can see in the light, and vice-versa. Now he is the doctor and blind vigilante in the old west.
Max Mercury/Windrunner joins forces with Jonah Hex to save Jay Garrick’s father from being hanged making it possible for the first Flash to be born.
Solomon Grundy V.S. El Diablo.
Jonah Hex saves The Grayson’s traveling circus.
You can download the first script for the first issue right here: ALLSTAR-WESTERN01
The revision of the first script after notes and a call to make the issue larger can be downloaded here: ALLSTAR-WESTERN01_Revised(4-27-11)
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