Animated 'Jonah Hex' To Kick Off New Line Of DC Universe Short Films?

Jonah HexThe DC Universe has expanded dramatically thanks to animated feature films such as "Batman: Gotham Knight," "Wonder Woman" and the upcoming "Green Lantern: First Flight." But how will those film projects fare with a shortened run time?

Comics Continuum has an unconfirmed report that Warner Bros. Animation is pushing forward with an animated "Jonah Hex" short film that will pave the way for other similar shorts. The project is said to be written by Joe R. Lansdale, who wrote several "Hex" comic books in the 1990s.

The character of Jonah Hex has appeared in animated projects in the past, including "Batman: The Animated Series," "Justice League Unlimited" and "Batman: The Brave and the Bold." This time, however, Hex will ride solo without help from others in the DC Universe, following the lead of the self-contained films released thus far from the WB. Additionally, the "Hex" short will follow the PG-13 mold demonstrated by the other DC Universe animated projects.

As a self-contained, mature-rated short film, this could be an ideal way to introduce some of the characters that will appear in the Josh Brolin-starring "Jonah Hex" live-action movie. Aside from Brolin, the remainder of the "Hex" cast -- including Megan Fox, Will Arnett and John Malkovich -- are playing obscure or entirely new characters in the 2010-debuting film. Perhaps some or all of them will make appearances here, providing prospective viewers of the live-action movie with an opportunity to get to know Hex's cast of characters.

Still, the bit of this rumor that has me most excited is the notion of future animated shorts. Comics Continuum writes that, according to their sources, "multiple shorts are being produced," likely to be released in upcoming DVDs like "Green Lantern: First Flight" and "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies." This specific "Hex" project, along with the other shorts, would likely "be put together for a compilation DVD, which might also include new material."

There are plenty of characters in the DC Universe that would flourish in an animated or even live-action environment, but without the fan base to guarantee box office success, their chances of a feature length film are slim. But a short film version of "Green Arrow," "Martian Manhunter" or even "Elongated Man" could be completed with much financial less risk involved.

Sounds like a good deal to me!

What do you think about the idea of a short animated "Jonah Hex" film? Can you think of other DC Comics characters that would benefit from a similar animated project?