Did you hear the news? Dynamite has a new Green Hornet comic hitting the shelves!
That's something you may have heard around the comic shop any given month in the last year and a half or so, and the folks at Dynamite know it. So their decision to launch a new series, Green Hornet: Aftermath by Jai Nitz and Nigel Raynor, was not made lightly. Reteaming the creators of Parallel Lives, the prequel to the film, for the official sequel comic made too much sense, though. Exploring the still-starting-out careers of Green Hornet and Kato, Nitz gave us some hints of what's to come and why this comic should be on the shelves, and your pull list.
Newsarama: To be blunt, there have been a lot of Green Hornet comics over the last year. What story needs to be told that requires another #1?
Jai Nitz: We need a new Green Hornet number one because Aftermath is the new/first/beginning place you should go if you like the movies and want to see more. Green Hornet: Parallel Lives accentuates and enhances the movie, but Aftermath is a direct sequel to the film.
Nrama: This is marketed as a sequel to the movie- will the characters be modeled after the actors or will they maintain a unique style as in Parallel Lives? If so, how does that affect the creative process?
Nitz: The characters in Parallel Lives were modeled on the screenplay I had read, but everyone knows a screenplay and a finished film are different animals. I think I got a lot of the character nuances right in Parallel Lives, but now I can use some of the shorthand because the audience for Aftermath knows the film. Also, Nigel and I have also been working together for several issues now, so our process is smoother.
Nrama: Seth Rogen's brand of humor is a signature of the actor and made its way into the film. How will the Green Hornet in this book compare as far as light-heartedness goes?
Nitz: I think Rogen is a really good writer/actor, and his tone for Green Hornet as a character is a big concept to play with in the comic. Britt Reid grows throughout the movie, and our comic expands on that. The Green Hornet in Aftermath isn’t a different character than in the movie, he’s just a little further along in his journey.
Nrama: There's mention in the solicitation text of a "new set of masked men." What can you tell us about this pair and how they're connected to GH/Kato?
Nitz: We’re a copycat nation. If someone gets famous by being a Youtube sensation, suddenly everyone is doing what made that person famous. Green Hornet and Kato are a big deal in Los Angeles, so some… less-than-mentally-balanced people start copycatting the duo.
Nrama: You've written two other Green Hornet books already, with one focusing on the "comic book/pulp/radio" version of Kato, and the other also existing ostensibly in the movie universe. Thinking of Kato specifically, how do the two parallel versions of the character differ, and how are they similar?
Nitz: The climate of America is different for both characters. The Golden Age Kato is Japanese in America just before and during World War II. Think about that. Think about the pressure that climate would put on a man. The movie Kato is a modern immigrant, born in China, making his way in America. They are both immigrants. They are both Asian. They are both martial artists. They are also totally different. The eras they inhabit will point them in different directions. Also, being Japanese versus being Chinese is totally different.
Nrama: The first issue of this book is priced at just $1.99. What does that price point do for you? How do you expect that to effect sales?
Nitz: That makes me smile from ear to ear. The proof is in the pudding, comic retailers and readers are much more likely to try a cheap first issue. I feel like Nigel and I are giving them a great package and many people will stick around.
Nick Barrucci: Bluntly, we went with a $1.99 comic to get in to as many hands as possible, as it's a very good book. We realize that last year we put out too many Green Hornet books and we’re slimming it down, but Jai has really done a great job in the series he’s written. We wanted this to have the best chance to get a wide audience and the best way to do that it to get fans to try it at $1.99. It's for the first issue because we want fans to try it and we believe they will buy subsequent issues and this should help. We expect initial sales to be higher than they would be at $3.99. How much? I can’t tell, if I knew that, oh the things I would do on comic prices.
Nrama: Having already worked with Nigel Raynor, how do you customize your writing to him? What level does he come into the creative process with you?
Nitz: Nigel is great at making every character look different and making the action kinetic. He’s also great at laying out the book to be exciting to look at and simple to read. So I can throw lots of characters at him rapidly and he’ll make sure the reader is clear as to who is who. I can also give him complex action and he’ll deliver every time. That’s very liberating for a writer. I can change speeds and move around as rapidly as a music video and the reader won’t get lost because I have a great artist. It allows me (and pushes me) to cut all the fat off my scripts because my artist will save me anytime I fall down.
Nrama: Having an adventure or two under their belts, what's going on in the minds of GH and Kato in this story? Are they more confident? Still learning?
Nitz: They’re still learning. The movie was great about showing an extended look at the first story for Green Hornet and Kato. But they obviously aren’t experts at fighting crime or staying out of trouble. Also, comedy comes from those moments. Green Hornet is an action/comedy. There isn’t much room for the main characters to be funny in Batman or Thor; that’s for supporting characters. I want to show Green Hornet and Kato still learning and having it be funny along the way.
Nrama: How accessible will this be for someone who maybe hasn't seen the film yet?
Nitz: Aftermath #1 gives you all the information about the characters, who they are, and why should invest in them from the beginning. If you’ve seen the film it will make the experience fuller, but it won’t be empty without that knowledge base.
Nrama: Any other particular hints or teases you'd like to leave the readers with?
Nitz: The first issue is $1.99, give us a shot and you’ll stay for the whole thing.