Monday, July 16, 2012

Pulp heroes unite!

Dynamite has recently released information that they will be doing a team-up of the pulp heroes including the Shadow, Spider, Green Hornet & Kato, a Zorro-esque hero, Miss Fury and the Black Bat. The mini-series will be written by Chris Roberson and the artwork for the first issue will at least be done by Alex Ross. 

For once, there are few red flags raised in the interview with Roberson. The biggest one is the lack of commitment on who will be doing the artwork past the first issue. Dynamite has a bad track record art-wise. Many of the pencilers are sub-par and overpowering inking and coloring shore up short-comings. The various mini-series tying into their Kirby: Genesis mini seem to have different art from issue to issue. It's ridiculous that a mini-series cannot have the same creative team from beginning to end. And, come out on time (just don't solicit until it's ready).

When talking about the storyline, Roberson talks about his love for the pulps. In fact, this story is one that continuity buffs like Roy Thomas or Philip Jose Farmer would love. It will be taking a three-part Spider pulp story, where a fascist organization takes over, and the Spider becomes a freedom fighter and different sort of outlaw and then placing the other heroes into that story, what were they doing during this time.

Despite the fact their current series have the Spider in present day, Zorro and the Shadow in their proper though different time periods, and the Green Hornet is in present day, this series takes place in the original time period. When Dynamite launched the Green Hornet, they did so with several different books in different time periods. I don't know if the current series ever acknowledged the gangster era Green Hornet Year One series by Wagner, though Roberson refers that the Hornet seen here will be similar to that. Considering the costumes of the other characters, including Kato are from head to toe in black, the Hornet may stick out like a sore thumb.

The "Zorro" hero is not meant to be the original hero but someone like him. Considering Zorro's original milieu of being a rogue hero, fighting for the common man against an oppressive system, a hero along those lines works. There's actually a long-standing tradition of this in the films as Zorro's legacy would include Don Q, Son of Zorro, the Black Whip, and a Ghost of Zorro (played by pre-Lone Ranger Clayton Moore).

The big departure will be the Spider. himself. The current comic series takes place in modern day and takes so many liberties with the characters as to be a complete departure. The mini will have him in the serial inspired garb, but the interview makes no mention of whether any of the other changes that Liss has hoisted upon the characters will be evident.

This will be the first appearances of the Black Bat and Miss Fury at Dynamite and I'm curious as to how they will be treated. If you look closely, you can see the Bat overhead the other heroes but no Miss Fury.

It's almost a shame that Dynamite couldn't get the rights to the Whisperer as he'd fit right in in this crowd or the Avenger who would make an interesting juxtaposition to the others.

Pulp-wise, just got in Moonstone's Slaughter, Inc, the "last" Spider novel that went unpublished when the series ended in the early 1940s and was printed as a paperback with names changes and the Spider became Blue Steel (and the cover was of the publisher's version of Operator 5). Shaping up to be a fun novel, although could have used an editor to catch some of the typos and bad line breaks.

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