Tag: Jonathan Lau

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    Pathfinder with Extra Pulp

    Sword and sorcery is the name of the game in Pathfinder Worldscape. All of the swords. All of the sorcery. Blending Paizo’s classic roleplaying game setting from Pathfinder with Dynamite Entertainment’s huge stable of pulp-fantasy characters that helped inspire games like Dungeons and Dragons in the first place.

    Issue 1 drops us right into the action with a stable of the “iconic characters” from the Pathfinder world of Golarion. Fans of Pathfinder will recognize Valeros the Fighter, Seoni the Sorcerer, Merisiel the Rogue and Kyra the Cleric as those characters depicted on their respective character class pages in the Core Rulebook.

    While doing battle with a psychic shapeshifter in the sewers beneath the City of Secrets (sentences like those are the reason I play RPGs) our heroes are violently pulled into a chaotic realm known only as the Worldscape. It feels like Battleworld from Secret Wars crossover, if it was populated by pulp-adventure and RPG characters.

    Most of the first issue follows Valeros as he tries to figure just what in the Nine Hells is going on. The sardonic Fighter acting as Fighters do when confronting unknown dangers. They fight it. Soon he is being accosted by dimensionally displaced bandits, a White Ape of Barsoom and finally made into a gladiator-slave by the serpent-witch Xanesha (I thought I’d seen the last of her when I played Rise of the Runelords!).

    There is so much fun to be had in this first foray into the Worldscape and before the first issue ends Valeros is crossing paths with the likes of Queen Pha from Frank Frazetta’s Thun’da series and the She-Devil with a Sword herself, Red Sonja. There are also bits and pieces from the John Carter of Mars books, as well as plenty of references for those familiar with the Pathfinder world of Golarion.

    As an added bonus (and like many of the Pathfinder comics to come before this one) each issue of Pathfinder Worldscape comes with the in-game statistics for featured characters and maps to bring the adventures off the page and onto your tabletop! It feels as though this series was hand-crafted for a particular brand of fanboy, with its unique blend of pulp-fantasy and tabletop RPG goodness.

    If you like Pathfinder, you’ll also love Dungeons & Dragons.

    Pathfinder Worldscape #1, Dynamite Entertainment, Released October 19, 2016, Written by Erik Mona, Art by Jonathan Lau, Cover byReilly Brown, $4.99.

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    Pathfinder Worldscape: A Who’s Who of Fantasy Characters

    Exclusive Intervie With Pathfinder Worldscape Writer Erik Mona

    Pathfinder fans, you’re in for a real treat in Dynamite’s upcoming six-issue Pathfinder Worldscape miniseries written by Erik Mona (Pathfinder: Hollow Mountain) and art by Jonathan Lau (Red Sonja and Cub, Miss Fury).

    We had the chance to chat with series writer Erik Mona about his favorite part of writing this series and where he hopes to the story. Read on for insights into the series and see how you can win a copy of Pathfinder Worldscape #1 signed by Mona and series artist Jonathan Lau!

    TFAW: You have plenty of awesome Pathfinder comics under your belt–dozens of adventures. Each one leads us on a new journey. What is different about this one?

    Erik Mona: Pathfinder comics to date have taken us into dark and deadly dungeons, into the winding streets of treacherous cities, and even into the unknown corners of our heroes’ pasts, but things really jump to the next level with Pathfinder Worldscape, which transports our heroes to an entirely different dimension — the Worldscape. The Worldscape is an ancient trap created by a long-dead wizard to gather the greatest warriors from three worlds — Pathfinder’s Golarion, John Carter’s Barsoom, and Earth, including its remote history during Red Sonja’s Hyborian Age.

    In the course of the 6-issue series, the Pathfinder heroes cross swords with the likes of Red Sonja, John Carter of Mars, Tars Tarkas, Tarzan, and the jungle heroes Thun’da and Fantomah, among many others. The character interactions are a huge highlight for me.

    Crossing over Pathfinder characters with heroes created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Frazetta — artists who inspired the fantasy roleplaying hobby that ultimately inspired Pathfinder itself — definitely counts as new and different!

    “I’ve been tinkering with the Pathfinder Worldscape idea for years…”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 1TFAW: With this huge cast of characters, did you find this story more difficult to manage or does it just come at ease at this point?

    Mona: The enormous cast of Pathfinder Worldscape presents some challenges, to be sure. You want to give everybody a chance to shine and do their thing while still having pages left over to tell an actual story. When you’re mashing together multiple properties in a dimension informed by the cultures of three different worlds (and at any time during the history of those worlds), there’s a strong temptation to over-indulge in world-building and wheel spinning about how this or that minor detail works into the overall character of the Worldscape dimension itself.

    My background in writing for tabletop RPGs has me thinking about all kinds of details that will never really play into the story. I’ve spent a significant amount of time thinking about the role of bullets in the Worldscape, as an example. While most of the Worldscape’s inhabitants come from eras or lands that fit well with traditional sword & sorcery themes, it’s perfectly likely someone trapped in the Worldscape will encounter a World War II soldier, a pistol-toting hero of America’s high plains, or a musket-wielding, fanatical street-fighter of Revolutionary France. Assuming they appear in the Worldscape with only the ammunition they bring with them, that makes their bullets a very rare and valuable commodity.

    I imagined a whole barter economy based around warriors seeking out the appropriate bullets for their chosen weapons, but after spending a considerable amount of time thinking about this, I snapped back to reality and realized that details like this — while perhaps quite interesting, useful, and even necessary to support a Pathfinder RPG campaign set in the Worldscape, probably weren’t going to enter into the comic book story too much.

    Happily, I’m fairly certain all that world-building will come into play in Worldscape-oriented Pathfinder RPG products down the line, but right now I’m putting my full effort into the comic book.

    TFAW: What exciting lands/places might we see on this adventure?

    Mona: The Worldscape itself is as exciting as you can get, with elements literally ripped out of the worlds in conjunction with it.

    Frank Frazetta’s jungle hero Thun’da, for example, lives in a place called the “Dawn Land,” a sort of time-lost valley filled with cave men, dinosaurs, amazons, and weird monsters. I always thought it strange that the subtitle of Thun’da’s comic was “King of the Congo,” when so many of his adventures took place in a much more interesting (and, from today’s standards, a much less politically fraught) location.

    I’m far more interested in struggles against pterosaurs and shaggy cave men than I am in fights against stereotypically primitive African witch doctors, and during a thorough review of fantasy-oriented stories and characters from the jungle comics of the ’40s and ’50s, Thun’da’s stories stood out as exceptional because of the weird monsters and lost cities.

    Naturally, when I started constructing the Worldscape plan, I drew in not just Thun’da and his savage girlfriend Pha, but also the entirety of his Dawn Land refuge, ruined cities and all. The central location of the Worldscape series, the brutal city of Shareen, is in fact drawn from Thun’da’s early adventures.

    Beyond that we’ve got misty valleys stuffed with Barsoomian white apes and a cadre of trained killers, another ruined city inhabited by the simian scum of three worlds, and the jungle itself, nominally ruled by the Council of Jungle Kings and their enigmatic and elusive First King, Tarzan of the Apes. Whether traveling by foot, by thoat, or by airship, the lands of the Worldscape promise death and danger at nearly every turn.

    “The character I’m enjoying the most and the one who has become weirdly central to the plot of the whole thing is Fantomah.”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 2TFAW: Was this an idea that you had brewing for a while? How did this all come together?

    Mona: I’ve been tinkering with the Pathfinder Worldscape idea for years, since shortly after signing on to Dynamite and becoming more familiar with their roster of amazing licensed characters.

    So many of their heroes are based on the same fiction and characters that inspired tabletop gaming back in the early ’70s, and in particular Pathfinder has always been a gaming brand firmly in touch with its “pulp” roots.

    Working with characters created by Burroughs, Howard, and Frazetta…it’s just too tempting to try to put it all together and do something cool. Add to that that each issue of Pathfinder Worldscape contains a Pathfinder RPG rules appendix that provides official RPG statistics for these legendary heroes — in some cases heroes people have wanted game adaptations of literally for decades — and I had to try to put something together.

    At the time Dynamite had already teamed up many of their modern-day pulp heroes in their Masks comic, and Bill Willingham had just mashed a bunch of them together in a steampunk-inspired series called Legenderry. It seemed obvious to me that crossing over their awesome fantasy characters was the next logical step. In the meantime, Dynamite also launched the Swords of Sorrow series, which teamed up nearly all of their female characters, and Worldscape is the next logical progression.

    At a certain point I’d put so much work and thought into how to make it all happen that Dynamite offered me the chance to write the series myself, which is a huge, humbling opportunity!

    “Jonathan [Lau] has a fantastic attention to detail and an inventive spirit…”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 4TFAW: How did the artist, Jonathan Lau, become involved with this epic adventure?

    Mona: Jonathan was my favorite of several artists Dynamite suggested for the project. I was familiar with his work on former Pathfinder writer Jim Zub’s Red Sonja and Cub from a few years back, so I was already familiar with his visual sensibility and his strong action compositions.

    What I didn’t know at the time was that Jonathan has a fantastic attention to detail and an inventive spirit that fills every nook and cranny of the book with interesting things to look at.

    His Tars Tarkas is probably my favorite version of the character I’ve seen in comics to date, and it’s fascinating to see him adapt characters like Thun’da, Fantomah, and the immortal empress Camilla, who haven’t really been in active production since the ’40s or ’50s (barring a limited series or guest appearance here and there).

    I’m thrilled to be working with him on the series, and each page I get from him on the earlier issues inspires me to put even crazier characters and scenes into the later issues I’m writing now.

    TFAW: With such a large roster of characters, have you found that you favor one more than others?

    Mona: I’m honored to work on all of them, especially Red Sonja and John Carter, two titans of fantasy publishing.

    Oddly, the character I’m enjoying the most and the one who has become weirdly central to the plot of the whole thing is Fantomah, the beautiful, nigh-omnipotent skull-faced woman introduced by literal madman Fletcher Hanks way back in ’40’s Jungle Comics #2. I’ve been mystified by this character (and by Fletcher Hanks) ever since reading about her in the incomparable “I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets” collection/biography by Paul Karasik from a few years back.

    When Dynamite challenged me to add some public domain fantasy heroes to their already impressive roster, I immediately leapt to Fantomah, and I’ve never really looked back. Hanks portrayed Fantomah as this unstoppable force of nature capable of just about anything. Unlike staid jungle heroes of the era, it was never really clear whether Fantomah was a hero or a villain, just that you never wanted to cross her, lest she rip the skin from your flesh, turn you into some crazy plant creature, or dispatch you in whatever weird way Fletcher Hanks could concoct between bottles of whiskey. In Pathfinder RPG terms, she’s basically a god, which opened up another interesting element of philosophy for the series.

    Each of the three worlds involved — Earth, Barsoom, and Golarion — have very different relationships with religion, and what it means to be a god. For most of the people of Earth — certainly the more or less modern ones like Thun’da and John Carter, “God” is something to be inferred as a matter of faith.

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 3On Barsoom, religion is a fraud designed to deliver the dying to a valley where they are drained of blood by bizarre plant creatures so that their bloodless corpses can be eaten by a cannibal priesthood of Holy Therns (also, by the way, in Worldscape). Burroughs’ “The Gods of Mars,” the second of his John Carter books, is largely about that religion.

    Then you’ve got the Pathfinder world of Golarion, where gods are literally, indisputably present and real and divine. It’s not so much a matter of belief as it is acknowledgement of existing supernatural forces, and that gives me a lot to play with in terms of how my characters interact with the world and their predicament as captives of the Worldscape.

    John Carter and the cleric Kyra get a nice juicy conversation about this, but Fantomah plays an important role in this aspect of the story as well, and I’m thrilled to be able to use her!

    “I’m still hard at work crafting cool Pathfinder RPG rules appendices for each issue…”

    TFAW: Do you have any other projects coming up that we should know about?

    Mona: In addition to running Paizo’s day-to-day publishing operations, managing the creative staff, and making diabolical plans for the future of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, most of my focus these days is soundly on Pathfinder Worldscape.

    Most of the scripting is out of the way at this point, but I’m still hard at work crafting cool Pathfinder RPG rules appendices for each issue. I just finished official game statistics for Red Sonja, for example, and now I’m noodling around with Tars Tarkas, who will appear in the second issue. After that we’ve got Tarzan, Thun’da, and a whole host of others. How much damage does a radium pistol do? What’s the Strength bonus for a green Martian? I dunno, but I will know soon, and it’s really exciting to map the game designer part of my brain over the story I’ve been composing using my comics writing circuits.

    You can keep up with my projects and get some insight into the Pathfinder RPG adaptation process behind Worldscape by checking out my blog at erikmona.com or following me on Twitter @erikmona.

    TFAW: What comics are you enjoying right now?

    Mona: Oh, man, there are so many! I went in way deep on DC’s New 52 a few years back and am working my way through a longbox of backissues of Snyder’s Batman, which has been fantastic, of course. I’m always keen to follow former Pathfinder comics writer Jim Zub on whatever he’s doing, and I really like what he’s been rolling out with Wayward, as well as his new title Glitterbomb, from Image. I’m highly intrigued by DC’s Young Animal imprint. The first issue of the new Doom Patrol was fantastic, and I can’t wait to break out a copy of Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. As far as comic titles go, that’s probably the best I’ve heard in a long time!

    We want to thank Erik for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us! Make sure to order your copies of Pathfinder Worldscape.


    Are you looking forward to Pathfinder Worldscape? Tell us which character you’re looking forward to seeing in the Worldscape in the comments below and you’ll be in the running to get a copy of Pathfinder Worldscape #1 signed by Erik Mona and Jonathan Lau!

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    Phil Hester & Jonathan Lau Rebuild Bionic Man With Kevin Smith

    Bionic Man ComicsGo on, I dare you: take a look at Alex Ross’s excellent covers for Dynamite Entertainment’s new Bionic Man comics without hearing, “Gentlemen: we can rebuild him,” and The Six Million Dollar Man theme song. Go on! I’ll wait here.

    The Six Million Dollar Man was an icon of 1970s’ TV, starring Lee Majors as Steve Austin, an astronaut who barely survived a horrific crash and was literally “rebuilt” with cutting-edge bionics, later working as a secret agent for intelligence agency O.S.I. After the series ended, Austin’s adventures continued on in a few TV movies in the ’80s and ’90s (one co-starring a very young Sandra Bullock!), but the concept was ripe for a reboot: enter Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), who wrote a screenplay, titled Bionic Man, a few years ago. After the success of adapting Smith’s Green Hornet screenplay to comics, Dynamite decided to bring Steve Austin into the 21st century with the help of Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau with their new Bionic Man series!

    Hester and Lau, of course, also took the helm on Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet comics, which makes them familiar to TFAW readers. We had the chance to interview them about Bionic Man as part of Dynamite Month, and they were nice enough to throw in an exclusive five-page preview to Bionic Man #3, out October 19! Read on:

    TFAW.com: This is the second time both of you have collaborated on a Kevin Smith screenplay–the first time being with Green Hornet, of course. What were the major differences this time, with The Bionic Man?

    Phil Hester: The source material is a bit older. Kevin wrote his Bionic Man screenplay quite a long time ago, so there were a lot of technical updates we needed to do, especially regarding computer and cell phone advances. As far as the actual working process goes, very little difference. I adapt the screenplay, Kevin edits my pass, I incorporate his notes, Kevin does a final polish, and then poor Jonathan has to draw it all.

    Bionic Man #3 Page 1Jonathan Lau: Yes, very much so–at least poor Jonathan is glad to be on this team. Phil knows what I enjoy working on and allowed me to have at it. The only thing missing is the live-action movie that coincides with the comic book, as with Green Hornet.

    TFAW.com: I’m a huge fan of the original Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman–were you familiar with the shows before you started on the project?

    PH: Sure. I was a kid when both shows originally aired. I spent many a recess running in slow motion and lifting imaginary cars off of imaginary trapped grandmas while humming “nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh!”

    JL: I have vague memories of the show, so I couldn’t say I am a die-hard fan. But Lee Majors will always be the Six Million Dollar Man for me. And very similar to Phil, I did those things too. It’s just that when leaping off high cabinets, gravity isn’t in slow motion for me, so I go “nuh-nuh-nuh-n-OWWW!”

    TFAW.com: I was holding my breath waiting to see what the name of Steve’s girlfriend (who happens to be blond, athletic-looking, and a grade-school teacher) was, and was happy when it turned out to be [SPOILER ALERT!] Jaime! Does that mean there’s a Bionic Woman comic in our future?

    PH: Mmmmmmm–could be.

    Bionic Man #3 Page 2TFAW.com: Besides some of the minor changes, such as Steve being a test pilot instead of an astronaut, I would think the most important changes would involve how quickly technology has advanced since the 1970s. Do you think that helps or hinders the story?

    PH: I think it helps, especially with all the Iraq and Afghanistan wars producing so many wounded vets who utilize prosthetic technology. A character struggling with adjusting to a largely artificial body, even one that gives him tremendous physical advantages, has a deep resonance with what’s happening today. There’s also the whole issue of just how closely humans will want to integrate with artificial intelligence. The Bionic Man is a great book for playing with those concepts.

    TFAW.com: What are some other major changes from the television series that fans will notice?

    PH: No holds barred. For the most part, the show was hindered by the special effects technology and television budgets of the ’70s. We can do anything with Steve’s powers, as long as Jonathan can draw it . . . and he can draw anything. You’ll see a lot more widescreen action in this book than we ever saw on the show, and some adversaries that are Steve’s equal in the super-human abilities department.

    TFAW.com: Who is Margaret, and what is her role in the O.S.I.?

    Bionic Man #3 Page 3PH: Margaret Carlisle is the cold, calculating head of O.S.I. She’s the kind of level headed, but lethal power player you are secretly glad is on your side. But as Steve and Oscar learn, one can never be 100 percent sure she is on your side.

    TFAW.com: At this point in the story, there’s already one rogue “Bionic Man” running around, destroying technology and actually eating people. What triggered this maniac?

    PH: I don’t want to spoil any plot points, but I think it’s safe to say this rogue cyborg has a legitimate beef with O.S.I. How he tries to resolve this conflict is where things get sticky.

    TFAW.com: There seems to be a clear man-versus machine dynamic here–for example, one character is disgusted when better, more efficient machines put people out of work. Margaret believes that her “Bionic Men” should be treated like machines rather than people, and turned off when not working. What are your thoughts on this matter?

    PH: Well, that’s the heart of the whole thing, isn’t it? At what point in the union of man and machine does the man disappear? This is Steve’s daily existence. His new body has given him incredible powers, but by definition, it has distanced himself from the rest of humanity. I think what he chooses to do with his abilities makes him a true hero, as he comes to value the humanity he maintains beneath the plastic and titanium more than he ever did when he was flesh and blood.

    TFAW.com: When you and Jonathan got to the end of Kevin’s storyline for Green Hornet, you continued the comics yourself. Do you see that happening with The Bionic Man?

    Bionic Man #3 Page 4PH: I hope so, but that’s for the reading public to decide.

    TFAW.com: You’ve done several books with Dynamite now. What are the advantages to working with them?

    PH: They never stop moving. Too many companies are paralyzed by success. I mean, they find a formula that works and stick with it even after if stops working. Nick Barrucci and Joseph Rybandt are never content to rest on past success. They’re always tinkering, always looking for new opportunities. Also, they pay on time, every time.

    TFAW.com: Jonathan–some of the characters, like Steve, somewhat resemble their television counterparts, while others, like Rudy, look quite a bit different. What kind of guidelines were you given?

    JL: Phil usually gives detailed descriptions or actor references for the casts. And whenever supporting characters are open to interpretation, I still look for actor references myself. It helps to have distinguishable facial features, and the more eccentric the better. The main character, however, is designed by Alex Ross.

    TFAW.com: How do you approach drawing the bionics? Are you basing them on real-world technology, or getting creative?

    JL: I really appreciate Alex’s design–the glowing muscle fibers of Steve’s bionics is really an impressive idea. Some people are really good at designing robots and mechanical parts extravagantly out from their noggins, whereas I have to Google ideas. The rest of the characters I get to design. For Hull, Steve’s counterpart and predecessor, I made him look duller in color to contrast with Steve’s upgraded, shiny, sophisticated look. Meanwhile, the Naga (Hull’s henchmen) have the crudest technology of all of the bionic men. This is to show the differing levels of technology. It’s more realistic that way.

    Bionic Man #3 Page 5TFAW.com: How does The Bionic Man compare to when you were drawing Green Hornet?

    JL: It’s like comparing an elephant to a gazelle. Readers familiar with my Green Hornet work may remember the flow and grace of the action scenes, the moves of a martial artist–but martial artists can’t punch through walls or lift heavy objects. That’s where the fun in Bionic Man comes in. I’d say Green Hornet will always be special to me, not only because of the cape and kung fu that I love, but it also kicked me up a notch in the comics industry (and I’m still waiting for a Green Hornet/Batman crossover). In any case, as long as there are gratuitous action scenes, I’m along for the ride. In addition, I get to draw covers for the two titles.

    TFAW.com: What’s been your favorite part of The Bionic Man thus far?

    JL: That would be the most current issue I’m working on, which is issue #4, where we finally see Steve exercising his bionics. But what I’m highly anticipating are issues #5 and #6, where I finally get to do some bionic brawls! It’s about time, I’d say.

    TFAW.com: What do you have coming up next?

    JL: Other than doing alternate covers of different titles, Nick Barrucci and I often talk about what other titles I would like to work on (PSP Chapter 3?) Hopefully it’ll come about. But for the moment I’ll take one bionic step at a time.

    Our thanks to Phil and Jonathan for answering all of our questions–we can’t wait to see the rest of Bionic Man #3! You can order all of Dynamite’s Bionic Man comics right here on our site. Plus, remember that you’ll save 35% on all of Dynamite Entertainment’s October catalog comics and graphic novels this month only!



    Are you a Steve Austin and O.S.I. fan? Have you checked out Bionic Man yet? Post your comments below!

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    Phil Hester & Jonathan Lau Tell Us What’s Next for Green Hornet!

    Green Hornet #12The Green Hornet is back! Sure, there’s a new movie opening January 14, but Dynamite Entertainment launched an ambitious slate of Green Hornet comics in the spring of 2010. In addition to Green Hornet Year One by Matt Wagner, Dynamite also kicked off Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet, the first 10 issues of which adapted Smith’s unproduced screenplay, which rebooted the classic pulp duo and stars the original Green Hornet’s son, Britt Reid Jr., and his (female) Kato, Mulan!

    Smith was joined by veteran writer Phil Hester (The Darkness) and artist Jonathan Lau (Battlestar Galactica), who brought the Green Hornet and his supporting cast into the 21st century! Now, starting with issue #11, Hester has taken up the reins as sole writer. We spoke with him and Lau to find out what’s next for Green Hornet, what they think about the upcoming movie, and more:

    Plus, make sure to enter our Green Hornet Contest to win signed Green Hornet #1 variants signed by Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau!

    TFAW.com: What’s your personal history with the Green Hornet?

    Phil Hester: Like most people my age, my exposure was initially from television, but as an old-time radio fan, most of my recent exposure to the character has been through the radio show.

    Jonathan Lau: Saw it early on when it was on TV. It was very adult-oriented in a sense that everything is dark and serious, the story, characters, action, etc. that very much contrasted to the superhero shows on TV during that time.

    Green Hornet #12 Page 1TFAW.com: What do you think are the essential elements of the Green Hornet mythos? What is it that keeps readers and viewers interested after all of these years?

    PH: It’s most definitely the Green Hornet/Kato relationship. The way they interact, more as partners than hero and sidekick, make a great storytelling dynamic for both readers and writers. That and all the gadgets. Where would we be without The Black Beauty, The Hornet’s Nest, gas guns, stingers, and fedoras?

    JL: Generally, people make comparison to Batman and Robin. Everybody knows Bats and company are the good guys, they show up in crime scenes, talk to the police, investigate along with their city commissioner, and set up a signal up in their roof. Green Hornet, on the other hand, is a crime lord. They shun the police and work in the lawless underground mafias so to speak. So it’s more of viewing from the bad guys’ angle. Something like the Secret Six from DC.

    TFAW.com: How do you balance refreshing the story and making it different for a new audience, and staying true to the original story so that’s it’s recognizable for longtime fans?

    PH: That’s the tough part. For me it’s all about trying to keep what is essential about the characters intact, but find new wrinkles in plot and character that haven’t been presented yet, or at least presented in a fresh way. I try very hard to put myself in my characters’ shoes and make them react with honesty to the situations they find themselves in. In the Green Hornet universe super-powered heroes are fictional, so all the fantastic stuff Green Hornet and Kato wind up accomplishing should amaze even them. We try to keep things on a Die Hard possibility scale; outrageous, but not magical. Seeing a normal person react to those situation is where most of our humor and character-building moments come from.

    Green Hornet #12 Page 2JL: I imagine this is a hard area to work on from a writer’s standpoint, but Phil Hester has the experience to pull it off. Visually, though, I get to show my style of comic book action for the Western readers. Its befitting of my style in a comic book having East meets West characters involved. For some readers this might look new, and I hope my style would be generally accepted in due time.

    TFAW.com: What do you two think of the upcoming movie?

    PH: I can’t wait to see it! I try not to form any opinions about movies or books until I see them for myself.

    JL: Dubious like most people, in particular with the actors portraying the characters. But I have been hearing good remarks from supposed insiders posting news on the Net. Here’s hoping that we’ll be surprised. If not, I hope for a remake! Just don’t let it pass, Hollywood!

    TFAW.com: What other comics are you following right now?

    JL: Project Superpowers is one title that I’m looking at, especially after reading chapter two, where there is a long epic battle with a character named Zeus. I’ve thought of many action sequences I could have done in the series. All I can say is the Superpowers series has been a multi-layered story with fast-paced adventure. I can only wish that I was working on the series, maybe the artist there and I could switch books once in a while.

    I’m not into collecting per se, but rather I buy everything art-wise–usually illustrators that I admire, even if it’s non-US made comics.

    Green Hornet #12 Page 3TFAW.com: Phil, what was it like doing the breakdowns for the first arc from Kevin Smith’s script? Did you have to add anything to get 10 issues out of it?

    PH: Oh, no. In fact, it was almost too tight for 10 issues. Adapting Kevin’s script was a lot of fun. It brought back a lot of memories from our Green Arrow days. Kevin’s work is very cinematic and depends a lot on the power of the actors reading his dialogue. In a comic book, the artist is the director and actor. I helped out with the staging and timing, and Jonathan Lau provided all the fantastic acting.

    TFAW.com: Were there any major deviations from his script?

    PH: Only the ones Kevin added during the rewriting process. He wasn’t hands off at all. He was on the job every day just like the rest of us. Like any artist, looking back at older work probably inspired him to tweak things here and there.

    TFAW.com: Now that you’re the sole writer of the book, where are you taking Green Hornet next? Will you be changing the cast, characters, or tone?

    PH: I’ll be trying desperately to maintain the tone of the book. I’m not as naturally funny as Kevin, so I may replace some of his humor with what I think I’m good at, which is action. The cast will change only through addition. We’ll be seeing some new villains make Century City their home.

    Green Hornet #12 Page 4TFAW.com: The first arc was a very traditional “sons avenging their fathers” story. What will the main theme of the Santa Muerte/Los Hijos storyline be?

    PH: Stepping out of your father’s shadow. Britt Reid Sr. cast a long shadow. His methods were very successful, but Britt Jr. and Mulan will run into a special brand of criminal on whom those tactics are useless. Green Hornet must establish his own identity, not only for his mental health, but for the physical existence of Century City. He must become a new breed of crime fighter.

    TFAW.com: In issue #11, Kato senior and Clutch leave for Japan. Are they leaving the book for now, or will we see their adventures abroad?

    PH: We will follow them to Japan. Hijinks will ensue.

    TFAW.com: There’s a lot of emphasis on the romantic tension between Britt Jr. and Mulan–at least on his side. Mulan’s a little more ambiguous. Will this progress, or will you keep up the “will they or won’t they” aspect for the time being?

    PH: The teasing is so much fun. I suppose I’ll just write the characters as naturally as possible and let whatever develops between them grow organically. No stunts. The repartee between them is one of my favorite things about the book, though.

    Green Hornet #12 Page 5TFAW.com: I’ve noticed that both this reboot and the movie center around Britt being a playboy who takes on the mantle of the Green Hornet after the death of his father. Besides this being a classic superhero setup, what makes this scenario so well-suited to the modern Green Hornet?

    PH: Well, Green Hornet sort of has to be a rich guy. Tough to keep the Black Beauty gassed up on Peter Parker’s budget, right? I guess it speaks to our time. We’re surrounded by the likes of Kardashians and Hiltons who are famous for absolutely no reason other than their social status. If Britt Jr. were a real person he would definitely fall into this category. Also, the fact that Britt is a relatively well-adjusted social being makes taking up the legacy of a relatively realistic action hero more plausible than his becoming something as bizarre as a traditional super hero. It’s not too big of a push to add a mask to a green suit, while putting on Batman armor takes a truly damaged psyche.

    TFAW.com: Is the Green Hornet’s blood relationship with the Lone Ranger ever going to factor into the story?

    PH: Not in the near future. Different licenses, I’m afraid.

    TFAW.com: Jonathan, what is the most challenging aspect of drawing this book?

    Green Hornet #12 Variant CoverJL: Cityscape. [Drawing an] urban setting is often tedious work. Fortunately I took up architecture back in college, I guess that pays off. A long-suffering attitude is really required to work in this field.

    TFAW.com: How do you approach the fight scenes?

    JL: For the fight scenes, I have lots of ideas to play with, I grew up watching kung fu shows and kung fu comics, and it was very fortunate I landed on a book where some good kung fu fighting is involved. This is what I enjoy doing, lots of intense action. As much as possible, I would prefer working on these types of genres instead of some talking-heads comics. I remember reading World War Hulk, and it made me wish I was on the book.

    TFAW.com: Early in the series, it looked like you were having a lot of fun with different “updates” of the Green Hornet’s outfit. How did you settle on his present look?

    JL: That was all Phil, Kevin, and ultimately Alex for the final outfit. I don’t mind the design, it still looks cool even [after] drawing it endlessly.

    TFAW.com: What was it like updating Kato as a woman?

    JL: It spices up everything. You know what I mean.

    Green Hornet TPB Vol. 02 Wearing GreenTFAW.com: Is there a scenario you’re itching to draw for Green Hornet?

    JL: Certainly! Sometimes I wish I could ask Phil to cram the talking pages and leave more room for the action. Oftentimes I thought about, “You know, wouldn’t it be cool if they were to execute a fight like this or that.” And in addition, I hope there will be crossovers, like GH vs. Bats and company, that would be awesome! We always have a couple of plot ideas running in our heads, it’s just the matter of being heard when pitched, hopefully someday my voice can be heard. In the meantime, more action please!

    Thanks again to Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau! You can pre-order Green Hornet comics and save 20%. Plus, pre-order Green Hornet TPB Vol. 02 Wearing O’ the Green and you’ll automatically be entered in our Green Hornet Contest for the chance to win one of 10 Green Hornet variants signed by Hester and Lau!

    See a five-page preview of Green Hornet #12, in stock now.

    Are you a fan of the Green Hornet? Are you looking forward to the movie? Post your comments below!

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