There's nothing wrong with putting a new spin on a classic, and that's happening in the upcoming Green Hornet limited series from Dynamite Entertainment.
Series artist Anthony Marques is aiming for "a hybrid approach" with the title, pulling from the past while also adding in modern elements, comparing his approach to the aesthetic of Batman: The Animated Series.
Green Hornet is also an unofficial Kubert School comic with most of the creative team – including Marquez who now owns and serves as president of the school - having graduated from the school or working as faculty. Also on board are Kubert School teacher and letterer Tyler Esposito and fellow instructor Lee Weeks, who provides covers.
Newsarama chatted with Marquez, Esposito, and writer Scott Lobdell about the Green Hornet series. The trio talked about the title's approach, the limited palette of the art, and how it's accessible for long-time AND first-time Green Hornet fans.
Newsarama: So before we start, Anthony, Taylor, let's talk about the Kubert School. Right now you're doing free enrollments, but what was your time like there?
Anthony Marques: The Kubert School is currently waiving the application fee and we've launched some really fantastic initiatives for current students in our full-time program and a brand new online studies program that is open to the general public. The response to the online program has been incredible and I am very excited about making some huge announcements about the program soon. We are so proud of all of our full-time students, as well as our staff and faculty, with how they have all responded to the current crisis we find ourselves in.
As a student, I had an incredible time. There is a reason the Kubert School is called the "boot camp of art schools." You honestly work day in and day out on a slew of different projects, being taught by some of the most incredible instructors who are all working professionals. I absolutely loved my time there! If you have an interest in checking out the school then take that first step by visiting www.kubertschool.edu or contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taylor Esposito: It's only my first year teaching there, but it's been a blast, even with the current situation. Teaching the students really energized me in a way I haven't been in a while, and has gotten my excitement for the future of comics amped up.
Nrama: How have y'all been coping with the COVID-19 quarantine?
Marques: By staying extremely busy! Between working on Green Hornet, the Kubert School, Dewey's Comic City, the Kubert School Art Store, and my duties as a husband and father of two awesome kids, I am always busy! Definitely not complaining though! I am so thankful for each and every day that I am able to do the things I do. I hope that this series is able to provide an escape for people who are going through tough times at the moment.
Esposito: Same as I was before. I don't go anywhere. These writers, artists and editors keep me chained to the desk, and they left the keys at the Dynamite offices. I'm here for the duration. [laughs]
Luckily, I've been busy between my various projects, and teaching (albeit online, the only difference) so the chaos of the lockdown hasn't really been a factor. Other than that, I've had time to binge old shows I've seen before for the sound of human voices.
Nrama: Let's talk about Britt Reid, the man behind the green mask. How would you describe Britt? Who is he to you?
Esposito: Britt is a man who'll do what's right by whatever means necessary, and that kind of role model is a person we need right now. I always love when heroes and vigilantes are members of the press for their day jobs. It reinforces the ideals that journalists always strive for the truth and justice and the good of the people, rather than the agendas of the corrupt.
Marques: Britt is a great guy! I know a lot of people think of him as being similar to Bruce Wayne but he's not. He's much more fun and a very likable person.
Scott Lobdell: I have a brother named Brett but that is where their similarities end.
Nrama: Green Hornet has been at Dynamite for 10 years, will this series be in continuation of those or something completely different? Maybe like a Year Two?
Marques: This series stands on its own two feet. Scott has crafted a story that takes elements of the character and blends them all together in a fantastic, action-packed, story that will feel familiar and new! This is a great jumping-on point for long time readers and for those who want to get into a new series.
Lobdell: Don't tell Anthony but I haven't read any of the other books. I'm going off my memories of the Batman/Green Hornet team-up from the '60s and meeting Seth Rogen in the parking lot of his production company last month. He seems like a great guy and that is his real laugh.
Seth, not Anthony. I've never heard Anthony laugh.
Nrama: Taylor, Green Hornet has this pulp style; when designing the lettering for this, did you want to go more bombastic or something of a more vintage aesthetic?
Esposito: I haven't actually started lettering yet. I like to wait until I get the full art and script in my hands, sit down with it a bit, and really take in the tone of the story, then let the art and direction take me where we need to go. That said, having seen the art already, the wheels have begun turning, and I think we will definitely be going with a subdued vintage look to compliment Anthony's beautiful art.
Nrama: Anthony, what can you tell us about your version of the Green Hornet and Kato? How are you approaching them?
Marques: I'm going with a hybrid approach to the characters. Taking pieces from their history and putting them together that will allow them to feel classic and new. I really wanted to approach this in the same way that Batman: The Animated Series was, meaning that it exists in a sort of timeless universe.
Nrama: Scott, you've been in comics for decades, and you wanted something different with...an alien baby, which feels more '50s sci-fi than '40s pulp. What can you tell us about how you're starting this new series?
Lobdell: Superman is '50s sci-fi? '40s pulp? Hmm. I may be alive longer than I thought because I don't remember that.
Yeah, I just checked. I wasn't alive then.
Anthony and I talked at the beginning about Green Hornet's lack of a definable Rogue's Gallery. It seems he's always battling one crime family or another... or tracking down bad guys. But as far as villains who are as colorful and cool as him...? No one comes to mind.
So we decided we wanted to pull Green Hornet and Kato out of their comfort zone. The way to do that was by expanding the type of stories we can tell and characters we can meet over the next six issues.
Nrama: Anthony, you're also handling the coloring as well with this limited palette. What made you want to scale back on such a visual look?
Marques: I wanted this story to be very easy on the eyes. Let the artwork speak for itself and have a nice flow. Nothing more than that. I have always enjoyed stories that took that approach and I wanted to try my hand at that. With Green Hornet, where a color is key to the character, it just made sense for this to be the project to try it on.
Lobdell: Everyone keeps talking about this limited palette like it has never been done before.
No one asks about how I'm using a limited vocabulary for my script. In this series I'm not going to use any nouns or verbs, just adjectives! It is going to be very very.
Nrama: If you're trying to reach new Green Hornet fans with this title, what would be your go-to pitch for them?
Marques: If you like big action, fun and adventure then this book is for you! It is doused in those elements with a truckload of heart that makes you care about these characters. I know Scott will do a better pitch than me, I mean he is a writer after all, lol, but just trust me that if you give this book a chance you won't be disappointed!
Esposito: It's the Green Hornet, what more do you need?! We're all fans, and you won't find a more respectful team to the source material.