Putting Jonah Hex in Motion
However, Jonah Hex, Warner Premiere's eighth Motion Comic series, is the perfect jump off the page vehicle for the award-winning Sequence. Old West style greed, lust and the supernatural are a natural when matched with the scarred, ruthless bounty hunter with a conscience. Based on the comic book written by John Albano, drawn by artist Tony DeZuniga and published by DC Comics, Jonah Hex Motion Comics are now available on the iTunes Store (http://bit.ly/dAduix) (www.itunes.com) and other online digital distributors (http://amzn.to/abP64X). The Jonah Hex Motion Comic also inspired the upcoming June 18 feature from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures.
Voiced by Jim Cummings, the first five episodes are adapted from the graphic novel Two Gun Mojo, in which the bounty hunter seeks justice and revenge against Doc Williams and his gang when a friend is murdered. The Gunfighter and The Hangin' Woman are two additional stories from the '70s comic series, re-colored and animated for the first time.
I spoke to Jonah Hex producer, director and Sequence owner Kirby about the challenges of creating the cutting edge Motion Comic.
Bill Desowitz: How did you approach Jonah Hex?
Ian Kirby: The Jonah Hex universe offered a lot of artistic potential. His character is so strong and raw. When we got the scans from DC and Warner, the pages -- especially the Two Gun Mojo -- are really old material. We had to realign the plate but we know how to do this: our artists spend a lot of time cleaning, redrawing and stylizing. Our main focus was to maintain the authenticity of the original artwork. We wanted to take it to another level and bring it to a younger generation that might not pick up the old comic book. Depth was the biggest challenge. Will it play well in motion and on a big screen? What is the shot supposed to convey and we'll bring the viewers' focus on that with depth of field and any lighting stylization we might add to the shot. It's interesting how the Motion Comic process can work around different art styles and still create an immersive environment. We were true to the comic for the blood and the guts and the action of Jonah Hex: he's a dark character but he's a good guy. Bringing it to life could be almost be more work than animating from scratch -- all the pieces we had to cut up and redraw.
BD: What accounts for the huge jump in quality?
IK: The quality of work based on tools. We deliver fully high-end HDCAM SR masters, which you could almost play theatrically.