Jonah Hex and non linear time travelling plagiarism

Although I’m a keen armchair fan of comics, I’m not the sort who has a standing order for the latest issues of particular series at the local comic shop. I’ll read trade paperbacks (often in the library) or whatever comixology is offering for free in a given week but nowadays that’s about it. Gone are the days when I’d buy stuff like the whole Preacher collection.

So when I shoved Jonah Hex on the media centre the other night I was a bit surprised to say the least. In my capacity as a failed writer, I’ve developed one or two story ideas that have become fleshed out to the stage of plot outline and have even done a bit of research into the subjects and specialities. One of these is Nordel Freelunch, Physic Detective. The major conceit of the story is the titular character can talk to the recently dead when he is drunk. The story outline follows the classic structure of a 20’s detective novel, with Nordel having to come up with ever more elaborate falsehoods to hide the real source of his information. The story is based around a modern take on the legendary locked room murder mystery. Or perhaps that should read “was based around…”

Jonah Hex was actually first in print in 1972, so the degree of travel back and forth in time to nick my concept is pretty astounding. Okay the setting is different (cowboy era America instead of the present day) but the gimmick is essentially identical so I’ll get accused of ripping off a comic I’ve never even read.
Seriously though, this isn’t the first time I’ve come up with an independent idea that I think has some merit to it, only to find I was right enough that somebody has already done it. Perhaps I need one of those tin hats that the nutjobs keep on going on about, to stop the secret satellites stealing my thoughts.

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