Well it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has a low opinion of the character. Like I said, my problem isn't that I dislike the chracter. There are lots of characters in fictional works that I dislike. I mentioned The Saint of Killers, a guy who was about as likable as snakebite even back when he was still alive, but that character being unlikable isn't an issue with me because, well, he's the bad guy. And even a flawed hero doesn't get on my nerves, that's a pretty standard convention of storytelling. Look at Cassidy, he's about as far from an upstanding paragon of virtue as you can get, but he's still many times more likable than Jesse is, probably because both the writer and the character openly acknowledge his flaws (well, that and he's just funny as fuck).
What bothers me is that Jesse is flawed, but the story doesn't seem to acknowledge that. Quite the opposite, it seems like I'm being asked to admire him, and to do it not in spite of his flaws, but because of them. I have trouble telling whether this is supposed to be an ironic statement about how we like to ignore the inconvenient truths behind our mythical folk heroes heroes, whether it's supposed to be the begining of a character arch, or whether it's a face value type of thing and we the reader are really expected to reconcile Custer's prick-like behavior with his role as the upstanding hero. I dunno, I suppose that like always it's up to the reader to decide. Given the popularity of the series both during and after it's publication, I'm probably the only one who gives a shit, but I was curious about other people's opinions on the subject.