What happens when the Green Hornet and Kato's war on crime draws to a close? What happens when a dynamic pulp duo brings the fight back to the streets, giving the crooks one last hurrah while in the prime of their youth?
With Dynamite selling gangbusters with Kevin Smith's take on the mythos — featuring the twenty-something son of the original Green Hornet donning his father's emerald duds — the publisher now is taking a look back at the tail end of Britt Reid Sr.'s career in Green Hornet: Blood Ties, due out in October from writer Ande Parks and artist Johnny Desjardins.
Focusing on Britt and Kato finally sweeping up the last of the crime bosses in Century City, Newsarama sat down with Parks to talk about working in the Green Hornet universe, exactly how he approaches this tale of urban crime, and the costs our heroes have to pay to maintain order.Newsarama: Ande, how'd you get involved with this project? What was the appeal of Green Hornet to you?
Ande Parks: Nick at Dynamite asked me to pitch a prequel series to Kevin Smith's Green Hornet book. He wanted a story about the last days of the mob in Century City. That's a done deal for me! It's really appealing to have a chance to portray Kevin's version of Green Hornet and Kato in their primes. Add a bunch of mobster intrigue to the mix, and I'm sold.
Nrama: Now, since this is a prequel to the Kevin Smith series, this is following Britt Reid, Sr., correct?
Parks: Yeah, we're dealing with the few months leading up to the opening flashback of Kevin's Green Hornet book. This is Britt, Sr. and the original Kato in action.
Nrama: Since in the flagship Green Hornet book, we only see him in his twilight years, can you tell us a little bit about Britt and Kato in this stage of their lives?
Parks: Blood Ties deals with the very tail end of Britt's war on crime, so this is the story of two men who are now very good at what they do. That means more than just the fighting (although they're good at kicking some bad guy ass, obviously). It means that they have become experts at manipulating the criminals: pitting them against each other, forming and breaking alliances with different factions, etc.
On the other hand, these are two men who have put almost everything else in their lives on hold for this mission. With the bad guys of Century City almost completely defeated, they are looking ahead, wondering what they're going to do with the rest of their lives.Nrama: How about the crime families of Century City that the Green Hornet and Kato have to face? What can you tell us about them?
Parks: Two of them were set up by Kevin in the first scene of his series. That's Don Fennelli and Oni Juuma. Oni Juuma and his family already played a part in our Kato series, so I get to explore his past in greater depth. In Blood Ties, we show what led up to the power meeting between Juuma and Fannelli that we saw in Kevin's Green Hornet book.
We also have a lot of intrigue between the two families and another Century City boss. I asked myself how Don Fennelli came to be the guy that lasted the longest against the assault of Green Hornet and Kato. I think our answer to that question is very interesting.
Nrama: For you, how did you approach this script, since you've had the Kevin Smith copy moving ahead of you? Are you trying to match anything that Smith wrote — or are you shooting for something completely different?
Parks: I have to write with my own voice, but the work is definitely informed by the foundation that Kevin built. I keep his style in mind, particularly when writing the dynamic between Britt and Kato. In writing the mob and Yakuza sides of the equation, I don't have that template in place, so it's more free-wheeling.
Nrama: And touching upon that a little bit — with all these different incarnations of the Green Hornet running around, there's a lot of room for Easter Eggs and putting your own spin on things. Is there anything you've been able to add to the mythos that you're particularly excited about?
Parks: Since I was already writing the Kato series, which deals with the original Kato's daughter taking the reins on that heroic legacy, I had a world I could reach out to and coordinate with. That's been really fun for me, and I think it will be fun for readers who follow both books. While the series are set some twenty years apart, there are interesting connections between the two. Characters will show up in Blood Ties who will defnitely resonate with fans of Kato.
Nrama: Let's talk a little bit about the artist on this book, Johnny Desjardins. He worked as a protege for David Finch, right? What's the back-and-forth been like between you two?
Parks: Right. You can see the Finch influence in Johnny's work. The figures are amazingly dynamic, and the backgrounds are really rich and convincing. There's real depth in Johnny's work, too. This is a book that features a lot of very personal moments in the lives of those involved. In the hands of a lesser artist, these scenes could fall flat. Johnny's characters are so real that I think the quiet moments carry a lot of weight.
Johnny and I exchange messages from time to time. It's been very exciting to see how he is running with the script and making it his own. This is a really satisfying collaboration. I think that will show in the final product.
Nrama: Finally, just to wrap up — for the people who still aren't convinced about Green Hornet: Blood Ties, what would you say to get them on board?
Parks: This is an entertaining book, full of good Green Hornet and Kato action. It's more than that, though. It's also full of intrigue on the other side of the legal equation. I think it's fascinating to see how the "bad guys" are dealing with Green Hornet's increasingly threatening war on crime. These are real people, with real concerns about their livelihoods and their families. Pulling the curtain back on that world is interesting to me.
This is a rich series, full of intersecting loyalties and agendas. And, you get to stare at Johnny's stunning artwork. In my own humble opinion, that is too good to pass up.Looking forward to more Green Hornet and Kato action?