I’ve always been a big fan of western movies.  One that stood out from my childhood was the John Wayne 1971 classic, “Big Jake”.   Short synopsis: evil bandits kidnap kid – Big Jake’s  grandson – to hold for ransom.  He’s been gone for 18years, and comes back not to pay them off – but to get the kid back, by any means necessary. It’s a rough, tough as grit man’s man western with a running gag: Jake’s been gone so long, everyone thinks he’s been dead and isn’t afraid to tell him so.   His frustration at hearing this every time he shows his face is laughable, and obviously made a lasting impression on me.

More so was Big Jake’s larger-than-life personality.  One line he spoke tells you everything you need to know about the man:  “And now *you* understand. Anything goes wrong, anything at all… your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault… it won’t matter – I’m gonna blow your head off. No matter what else happens, no matter who gets killed I’m gonna blow your head off.”

That’s a man not to be fucked with, pardon my French.

Fast forward a few years. Comic books.  Of course I collected the usual Marvel and DC fare (Batman forever!), but I still fell in love with one comic that was a bit outside the box: Jonah Hex.

Hex is a bounty hunter in the Old West.  His horrible facial disfigurement and cynical, surly personality makes him an outcast from most of society – but his reputation as a fearless gunfighter earns him a disgruntled respect among his peers and enemies alike.  He had a personal code of honor, to always protect – and, if necessary, to avenge the innocent.  Heaven help you if you committed an atrocity against an innocent and Hex ended up on your trail.

In recent years, reading today’s urban fantasy/supernatural action novels I found myself wondering things like “Why doesn’t [insert hero name here] just blow the bastard’s head off? Quit chatting with the evil demon and K*POW, game over!”  It brought to mind the film version of Sin City, and the character Marv and I thought,  “That’s what they need to send after vampires and werewolves, someone with a kick-ass first attitude without all the fancy gadgets!”

Why, in fact, couldn’t *I* write that character?

I found myself envisioning a little bit of Marv, a lot of Jonah, and wrapped it all up in some Big Jake.  He had to have a don’t-fuck-with-me attitude, unashamedly so.  He’d carry a big gun, and not much else.  And of course, I needed a bit of diversity (being a person of “diverse color” myself), so he’d have that New York City swagger we’re all infamous for.

But what to call him…what to call him…

I recalled a name from my biblical readings, an ancient king known as “a mighty hunter before the Lord”.  Since my character was going to have biblical…inclinations…it made sense to give him a name drawn from that resource.

And so, Joshua Nimrod Bassou was born.

But why Nimrod, of all names? It goes back to Big Jake again.  I wanted to emulate that frustration in my character, to force him to restrain himself at the reactions of others when they hear his name.  Imagine this near-seven feet tall, intimidating figure…and you get to call him “nimrod”.

I don’t think he’d take too kindly to the smirks.  And smirk, you will.

So if Nimrod is a biblical king, why does it mean “moron” today?

More on that later.