When it was announced in May, the going joke on Kevin Smith's Dynamite Entertainment series based on classic radio and TV superhero the Green Hornet was that it was a cool idea for a book that would never come out on time. Today, however, the publisher brought word to CBR that the series will indeed ship monthly in 2010, and they also provided us with an exclusive first look at "Green Hornet" covers by Alex Ross (who also served as series costume designer) and John Cassaday.
"Well, things are at a place that is better than anyone may expect. Kevin has gone above and beyond what I had hoped for," Dynamite president and publisher Nick Barrucci told CBR News. "He has handed in the entire story for his 10 issue run – you heard right, the entire story! We are extremely blessed that Kevin made this possible. I begged. I pleaded. I was on the phone with him, and what he didn't know, but must have used his jedi ability to sense, was that I was on my knees praying for the best case scenario, and Kevin delivered. So, this book will ship on time."
Barrucci went on to say that the 10-issue series would be hitting stores monthly starting in March, and while plot details from the story, which was semi-adapted from Smith's previous "Green Hornet" screenplay and features a modern day Hornet and female Kato are scarce, the publisher expressed surprise for "how reverent Kevin is to Green Hornet and Kato" in the scripts. "I didn't know what to expect, but I did know that Kevin really cared about the character. He must have. Kevin doesn't spend his time writing scripts for a paycheck...so when I was getting ready to read it, I knew that it would be cool.
"Kevin really hit it home that he entrusted us with one of his babies, in that this screenplay has never seen the light of day. He's managed to keep it 'locked down' for years. That doesn't happen in the internet day and age. The fact that we're unveiling the story is an honor! What's got me the most excited is that the script is just hands-down fantastic. When the fans read this, they will know who the Green Hornet is, and they'll know how much he's willing to give to save his city. And this will lead to a huge 'swerve' in issue #3, that few will see coming."
As for the art team on the series, Dynamite is still unable to announce the interior artist, but Barrucci revealed an expanded series of cover credits for "Green Hornet" saying, "Alex [Ross] signed up first for this series, and John [Cassaday] is one of the main driving forces here as well. It's exciting to have two of the best artists in comics help us launch Kevin's Green Hornet story. And there's icing on this cake. J. Scott Campbell, Stephen Segovia and Marc Silvestri and more!"
Smith's "Green Hornet" title is just the first of three waves of Dynamite books featuring the character, whose Michel Gondry-directed, Seth Rogen-starring film is slated to hit theaters in December of 2010. The Dynamite Hornet rollout will launch with Smith's book in March, but the publisher has two more series in the works: the already finalized "Green Hornet: Year One" by Matt Wagner and Aaron Campbell and a series to be written by "Lone Ranger" scribe Brett Matthews. "Kevin's will be first. He's creating a great amount of market share," Barrucci explained of Dynamite's rollout plan. "We're leaning towards Matt's being next, a few months later, since Matt's is a Year One tale, and no one can tell it better than Matt. A few month's later, we hit with Brett's story. All I can say is, we're very fortunate. What most fans may not know, and why would they, is that it took us over four years to get the Green Hornet, and there was a lot of competition. The licensors appreciated our tenacity (or just wanted us to stop calling) and rolled the dice with us.
"When we first got the license, I had a conundrum of sorts in that we had somewhere between 20 and 30 people vying for the ability to work on the series. And we've had great experiences with execution with Matt and Brett. And, to be candid, neither wanted to be in a situation where it was a 'race' to get the gig. Then, out of the blue, I had e-mailed Kevin because I remembered that he had been involved with the previous incarnation (that never happened) of the Green Hornet movie. I had known Kevin socially for years, and he has always been polite to me. I figured, 'What the heck? Ask him. He'll turn you down, but at least you went to bat, right?' I remember this like it was yesterday. I was talking to Alex Ross on a Thursday night and it was around 7:30-ish, give or take. An e-mail came in from Kevin. I said to Alex 'I just got an e-mail from Kevin, I better open it to get the rejection over with.' Then Alex said 'How do you know it's a rejection?' To which I responded 'It's Kevin, he's too busy to write this. He's got a lot on his plate.' Lo and behold, Kevin said yes! I then said to Alex 'Kevin said yes! Kevin said yeeeeeessssss!!! I gotta get off the phone!'
"That night, I had my answer. Kevin doing his take, Matt on 'Year One' and Brett in the here and now/near future. Then the surprise of all surprises hit. Alex called me Saturday night, and said 'I want to help design this and do covers.' I was floored. And the rest, as they say, is history in the making."