Mark Waid is no stranger to relaunches. From representing the newest take on Daredevil in decades, to recent runs on The Rocketeer and Steed & Peel, Waid has put his imprint on some of the greatest characters in the comic book medium. Now, he's taking on another icon, as he tells what might be the final tale of the Green Hornet for Dynamite. We'll find out more this week at New York Comic Con, but in advance of the official announcement we chatted with Waid about his take on Britt Reid, Kato, and even the Black Beauty:
MTV Geek: Mark, between Green Hornet, Steed & Peel, and Rocketeer, I feel like you’re turning into “The Olde Timey Reboot” Guy… Are we going to see you tackling The Yellow Kid next?
Mark Waid: Annnnd there goes my career, ladies and gentlemen! It's been a good year, thanks for that! See ya! If anyone needs me, I'll be at the Springfield Retirement Castle watching my afternoon stories on the black-and-white Philco.
Geek: Seriously though, it almost feels like you’re embracing the future – with Thrillbent – while also exploring the past… Why is this important at this point in your career?
MW: Look, heroism is heroism regardless of the timeframe or the backdrop. "Retro" is a misunderstood term--it doesn't describe things and places, it describes tone, and there's nothing "retro" about the way I'm approaching Hornet. This is in no way the kind of superhero story anyone was telling or could have told in the 1940s. Personally, I enjoy working on a very modern approach to comics, whether it's at Thrillbent.com in digital or on Daredevil, but I also like stepping back every once in a while to iconic characters who have a lasting appeal to demonstrate through story why they're timeless.
Geek: More to the point, what’s your take on The Green Hornet? Why is he such an enduring character?
MW: His whole narrative hook is too easily forgotten--the reason he can work effectively as a crimefighter is because both he AND THE UNDERWORLD believe he's a master criminal. That's what makes him unique--almost as if he has not a dual identity, but a triple identity. That's a cool idea, and it plays just as well today as it did originally. Also...the car. The car is cool. How many other masked crimefighters are chauffered across town in their own private limousine?
Geek: What about the Green Hornet/Kato relationship… What’s at play there?
MW: Tension. Kato works for a millionaire publisher who treats him as a friend and ally whose counsel he solicits, but at the end of the day, Kato's still on the payroll. I, too, have worked for a millionaire publisher who treated me as a friend and ally and who solicited my counsel--until his ego overran his humility and he came to believe he didn't need some pesky Jiminy Cricket "conscience" nagging him all the time. Let's just say that Kato doesn't like the kind of man Britt Reid is becoming.
Geek: Okay, what can you tell us about your run, in particular? What’s the big idea, see? [That’s some olde timey journalism language for you.]
MW: Stop the presses and get ready to re-plate page one: this is Green Hornet by way of Lawrence of Arabia and Citizen Kane--the story of the later years of his career, when he got a little too full of himself and, as a consequence, risked losing everything. I'm excited to dive in to this because I can't remember the last superhero story I read that was driven by hubris.
Geek: One thing I’ve always found intriguing is the layers of deception going on with ol’ Greenie… How difficult is it to keep all those balls in the air, and how much will that be playing into your run?
MW: Quite a bit--the question of who Britt Reid REALLY is inside and what motivates him is central to everything, and the issue isn't how difficult it is for me to keep his identities straight--it's how difficult it is for HIM.
Geek: How about the Black Beauty… Any sweet car tricks coming up? Kids love cars, Mark.
MW: I'm planning on equipping it with a TELEPHONE. Yes, IN A CAR. CRAZY!
Geek: Who are you working with on art here? And any other collaborators you want to tease?
MW: Still finalizing an artist, but we've got our eye on a couple of really great ones!
Geek: Any final thoughts or teases? Or words for younger fans who may not have interest in a nostalgic character like Green Hornet?
MW: Yeah--it's not a "nostalgia" story any more than TITANIC was a "nostalgia" movie because it took place in the past. Again, heroism is timeless.
Green Hornet relaunches soon from Dynamite Entertainment.