Alex Ross teaser art for the Green HornetAs we reported yesterday, filmmaker and occasional comics writer Kevin Smith will be at the helm when Dynamite launches its new Green Hornet. We also gave you an idea of what you’d be in for with Smith’s version of the Hornet when we debuted Alex Ross’ designs for the character, featuring a female Kato.
So what’s the big picture for this comic book revival of The Green Hornet? For that, we went to Dynamite President and Publisher Nick Barrucci to talk about getting Smith on board, how the Green Hornet fits in with Dynamite’s larger plans, and…that rather feminine Kato.
Newsarama: Nick - it's been a little while since you announced that Dynamite had acquired the rights to make new comics starring The Green Hornet. What's been going on in that timeframe?
Nick Barrucci: The main thing that's been going on is ironing everything out with Kevin Smith. When we first acquired The Green Hornet we had quite a few creators wanting to be involved and had creators asking us for up to four years to be involved. A few of the creators we'll be working with . . . and Kevin Smith was the only person we reached out to and he was interested - but we had to wait to see if it was a definite yeah or nay. Kevin was able to bring incredible amounts of media attention by getting brought on to entertainmentweekly.com, which we gratefully respect, and with the support of the comics industry we plan on making this one of our biggest launches that we possibly can.
NRAMA: When did Kevin come into the picture, and can you kind of recount the thought process that got you enquiring to him about his interest?
NB: Well, Kevin came into the picture when we remembered that he was a fan of The Green Hornet. He's done a movie with Seth Rogan [Zack and Miri Make a Porno] and while just like the original script that Kevin did that has no involvement with the new movie script with Seth, Kevin as a creator has grown over the last five years and we were able to approach him about doing The Green Hornet as he would approach him today.
NRAMA: In terms of who Dynamite is as a company, how does Green Hornet fit in? Yes, aside from being the grand-nephew of another character you publish...
NB: The Green Hornet is another classic character that has been around forever that we believe we can introduce to a modern audience and make him contemporary and compelling with the right creators. Obviously being able to get Kevin Smith, having Alex Ross design Kevin Smith's story and having John Cassaday be the regular cover artist are great pushes, plus we have David Finch and other surprise artists lined up. The future is bright bright green that is [laughs].
NRAMA: For you personally, what was the motivation to get the rights to the Green Hornet?
NB: I've been trying to get the rights to The Green Hornet for four years. It's been a long road. But some things are worth waiting for, and I absolutely think that the Green Hornet has been worth it. The motivation is that he is one of the most classic iconic characters that we feel we can promote and release well. You know, a lot of love and a lot of compassion that adds a lot of the "x" factor in that hopefully allows us to succeed more. I think we've had the ability to execute and the fans seem to love what we do so we're going to keep doing it, with the help of the right creators. We can't do it without the right creators. We're very fortunate.
NRAMA: Back to Kevin – what does his story cover, and how will you be expanding upon it? Is his version of the movie is a pretty discrete origin story that establishes the status quo, correct? Where do you go from there?
NB: I don't want to say what Kevin's story covers in this interview, as I think Kevin will answer that in one on his own, and I don't feel comfortable saying where we're going from here - because that would be giving away too much too soon. Right now, I just want to enjoy the fact that we have Kevin Smith with Alex Ross, John Cassaday, David Finch and more surprise guest artists to be announced.
NRAMA: Speaking of other artists, Kevin mentioned the artists that are associated with the book - who's going to be handling interiors?
NB: It's too early to talk about the interior artists as we have a few people we are in discussions with, some of them people will recognize and be surprised, but I don't want to put the cart before the horse.
NRAMA: From Alex's designs - can't help but notice that Kato's gender has changed. That's from Kevin's original ideas, right? Was there any trouble getting that change past the licensors?
NB: There was resistance from the licensors at first, but looking at the history of the Green Hornet, and the mythology is timeless as the character is concerned (another great reason to have John Cassaday involved), but you as you can tell from the ’80s comics line there was a female Kato, so this isn't the first time the idea's been introduced. It was introduced before in the Green Hornet mythos. And this is Kato being a female, and not The Green Hornet himself. But I will say, changing characters sexes has happened throughout millennia in all media, but to do it right, it just has to make sense in the story, which Kevin can do better than most. When Kevin stated was that he wanted Kato to be a girl, when Alex agreed and designed a female Kato.
NRAMA: Finally, give us a quick primer - aside from the more hardcore, we're about a generation out from the Green Hornet being a player on the pop culture landscape. What makes him special, and more importantly, what makes him work now in the present?
NB: In a lot of ways, The Green Hornet was a predecessor for Batman, as he has been a predecessor for so many cape and cowl characters that makes him work today is putting the right creative team on it. Kevin's part of that creative team (he's a leader of the team), other people will be part of that creative team. What makes him work is a passion for the character and just reminding people what the passion is and us getting there. We're in it for the long haul, we're in it to enjoy what we're doing, we're in it to make great comics and this will help Dynamite make it to the next evolution of comics. We're grateful for the retailers and fans that support us as well as the creators that support us. As you can see it's a lot of great creators, and we're excited.