Hi Mountain folks, it’s Andrew!
Because we’re selling new Comic Books now in the Ellijay Coffeehouse, and since lots of folks are having a hard time getting to their local comic shop as a result of the multiple simultaneous national and global crises, I have decided to start writing about comic books. There are a lot of titles out there right now, and it can be difficult to know which ones are worth your time, attention, and budget. I can’t promise to solve that problem entirely, but I will endeavor to provide you with some perspective on new titles that you may have otherwise skipped.
Alright, enough preamble.
The Green Hornet
Today, we’re talking about Dynamite’s Green Hornet #1. (Specifically, that’s Vol. 3 Issue 1 for those who are keeping score.) This issue features a cover by Lee Weeks (alternate covers also available), it was written by Scott Lobdell, and has art from Anthony Marques. It’s on shelves now (and available from us through Ellijay Coffeehouse.)
The Green Hornet is an old character. He has some superficial similarities to Batman (rich playboy, sidekick, cool car, vigilante justice, mostly won’t kill people), but he pre-dates The Bat by several years. He has appeared in films, on television and in dozens of comics from his debut in 1936 through to the modern era. This is a character that has left a mark on American pop culture.
Today we’re talking about the latest Issue #1, which means that we’re picking up a new story and it’s a great place for new readers to jump in. It’s also volume 3 (and a character who has been in publication since 1936), so this issue #1 has the luxury of telling a story With The Green Hornet, rather than telling a story About The Green Hornet.
This issue moves quickly, establishing a major conflict (and, frankly, one that feels a little too close to home in July of 2020) as the US Military squares off against The Green Hornet and Kato on page 2. It takes this moment of shock, this potentially climactic event, and up’s the stakes by adding a baby to the mix, before rewinding 24 hours to start the story that ends with the US military threatening two innocent men and a baby.
The issue rockets along, and leaves more questions than answers (as any good first issue should.) It introduces a mysterious supernatural element on the final page, and cuts to “to be continued” with a cliffhanger that any cliffhanger serial house would have been proud of. In short, the story does exactly what it needs to do, and has fun doing it.
The artwork in this issue is fascinating. The illustrations are simple, with bold lines and sparse details that evoke a newspaper strip. Furthering that theme, the issue is presented in greyscale— or rather, this issue is presented with a monochromatic color pallet. This is the Green Hornet, greyscale wouldn’t meet the brief, so the entire issue is accented with washes of a pale green.
The artwork, ultimately, is beautiful. It’s simplicity is strength, and the subtle use of such a limited pallet manages to create a bridge between the newsprint era roots of the franchise, the newsprint affiliation of the character (he does own a newspaper, after all) and this digital first era.
I’m a fan of digital comics, in principle. I recommend getting this one in print.
It works. This looks to be a fresh, fun, tonally appropriate re-interpretation of a character who has seen more re-invention in the public eye than nearly any other. Seriously, The Green Hornet has a legacy dating back 74 years. He’s been the subject of films (Seth Rogan’s take in the 2010s, plus two film serials in the 30s), radio (where he made his debut), television (appearing alongside Batman), and dozens of comic book series.
This interpretation of The Green Hornet manages to meet the audience where they are in terms of what they may expect from the character, and bring that audience to where the comic wants them to be. Turning someone who has been at turns, too silly, too serious, or too stuck in the past in to a character that, in scant few pages, manages to feel relevant, modern, and comfortable.
Did the world need another interpretation of the Green Hornet Mythos? Maybe not, but this interpretation is a delight and I’m glad it exists.
Scott Lobdell and Anthony Marques have my attention, and I’ll be waiting eagerly for the next issue.
If you’d like a copy of your own, stop by Ellijay Coffeehouse (or contact us, and we’ll get one in the mail!)