Just when you think that you know someone you come to learn that there is so much more to discover, such is the case with the seminal pulp fiction character, The Green Hornet created for the Radio by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, in 1936. Recently a new film of his adventures staring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou (as The Green Hornet and Kato, respectively) was released this January (earning a domestic total of $45,341,243 as of Jan. 20, 2011 according to Box Office Mojo). Still, even the film doesn’t quite form even the most recent chapter to this long-ignored Golden Age Superhero. No, that honor belongs to the creators over at Dynamite Entertainment, a comicbook company that is busily publishing a full line of Green Hornet & Kato comics.
Yes kids, that’s right, Dynamite is currently publishing five on-going brand-new Green Hornet titles as well as a pair of series spotlighting Kato. Then the publisher is also remastering the Green Hornet’s Golden Age comicbook adventures. Then, of course there are the requisite annuals, one-shots, trade paperbacks, hardcover collections, all of which are produced by numerous A-list creators, including Kevin Smith (adapting his own unused Green Hornet film script), Matt Wagner, Brett Matthews, and Phil Hester; with covers illustrated by Alex Ross and Matt Wagner, and interiors by Jonathan Lau, Nigel Raynor and other talented artists.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these numerous incarnations of this enigmatic hero is that not only do each of the various comics focus in on a totally different aspect of his legend, but they really each synch up with each other as they overlap and reinforce the entire tapestry of the overall story being played out in the pages of Dynamite’s comics, as well as acknowledging the larger story of The Green Hornet throughout the decades in all of the various media in which he (and his fellow cast members) has appeared.
The Green Hornet Year One (Matt Wagner & Aaron Campbell)follows the story of the original Green Hornet and Kato as they prowl the mean streets of Chi-Town ridding it of Probation-era bootleggers and mobsters. Told in a grim and gritty style, this series tells of a newly-minted Hornet and Kato just beginning to set up their dodge of pretending to be crooks while attempting to rein them in.
The Green Hornet Strikes (Brett Matthews & Ariel Padilla) is about a modern-day Hornet who is attempting to forge a new legacy in Chicago, with the help of past and present Katos, as well as the resources from past Hornets.
Green Hornet (Kevin Smith/Phil Hester & Jonathan Liu) is based on the filmmaker and comicbook scribe’s unused proposed film script. This tale follows the son of the original Hornet and the daughter of the original Kato who pick up their father’s legacies after the murder of Brit Reid, Sr.
Kato (Andre Parks & Diego Bernard) is from the pages of Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet, and follows Kato’s daughter through her training under the tutelage of her father and how she comes into the heritage of Kato.
Kato Origins (Jai Nitz & Colton Worley) is from the pages of Matt Wagner’s Green Hornet Year One and follows during the dark days of WWII as Kato learns how to walk the heroes’ walk prior to becoming The Green Hornet’s faithful ally.
All of the various incarnations of both The Green Hornet and his faithful companion Kato provide for thrilling adventures, and offer up a decidedly different view of what makes a costumed hero than do most of the comicbooks out there today. Also, one of the relatively minor aspects of the Hornet which often tends to be overlooked is his blood relationship to The Lone Ranger — who is another character who was created by Striker. In their original incarnations, The Lone Ranger’s nephew was named Dan Reid. In the Green Hornet’s radio shows, the Hornet’s father was also named Dan Reid, thus making Bret Reid grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger (a character also being published by Dynamite. Now how cool is that?