Michael Uslan talks Lone Ranger / Green Hornet #1, on sale in July from Dynamite. Main cover is by John Cassaday with two incentive covers by Giovanni Timpano.
MICHAEL USLAN: Many, many years ago, long before the rights to making a Lone Ranger movie and the rights to making a Green Hornet movie were parsed out by the respective right holders to two different movie studios, I had a dream of combining the two characters into one great family saga. Unfortunately at that time, the owners of one property had no interest in going down that road, and the owners of the other property wanted a large fortune on the table for the rights. Needless to say, little old me was quickly outbid by one of the major studios.
And so, I placed my notes for what that motion picture might’ve been into a file and moved on. Many years later, when I became friendly with Nick Barrucci at Dynamite Comics, and he began amassing rights to some great classic pulp, radio and TV properties, I told him that if, after some 80 years, he could be the one to bring together legal rights to the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet for one joint family story, that I would give my left whatever to write it. Nick had always enjoyed the crossover I wrote for DC back in the 1970s in The Shadow #11, when the Shadow met the Avenger. On that basis, he asked me if I would be interested in writing the first crossover of the Shadow with the Green Hornet. I jumped at that, and we had a great experience together with The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights. That led to my giving Nick my graphic novel writing bucket list. I said that if he could ever get the rights for a first-ever crossover of the three Street & Smith pulp heroes, Doc Savage, the Shadow, and the Avenger, I would love to write that. He did it. And so I wrote Justice, Inc. I then told him if he could get the rights to the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet appearing in one story, that I would love to write that. He did it. And now, here we are…
By the way, the opening of this saga in issue #1 of “The Lone Ranger Meets the Green Hornet: Champions of Justice” is based on my original notes as to how I envisioned the opening of the movie that I had wanted to make. One more note of historic interest is that I wanted Ronald Reagan after he left the presidency to play John Reid in his 80s in this opening scene. One last note of historic interest is that there are still three crossovers left on the bucket list I gave Nick. I am hoping that one day he will also reach out to me to write those when and if the magical days happen.
BB: That is so cool, Michael. Can you tell us about the LR/GH storyline?
MU: In its essence, this is a family story of three generations who are bound together by blood and traditions and who are torn apart by generational rifts. It’s a story of hope, tragedy, choices and consequences, love, integrity, redemption and adventure.
Like my last three graphic novels, Batman: Detective #27, The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights and Justice, Inc., this too is a tale of alternative history. I’ve taken these legendary fictional characters and mixed them together with real legends of history in true historic events interwoven with fictional events. It’s a story grounded in real life, as it may have actually unfolded in a parallel universe to ours.
BB: Can you compare and contrast your two stars?
MU: Both men are Reids. They are connected by DNA.
Both have partners… Tonto and Kato.
One rides an amazing horse called Silver, and the other rides an amazing car called Black Beauty.
Both refuse to kill.
Both lead the fight for law and order in a daring and resourceful way.
BB: Why is Giovanni Timpano the right artist for this book?
MU: Gio and I previously worked together on Justice, Inc. He knows how to portray legendary, classic characters and respect their integrity. He does his research carefully and when we are doing stories that are alternative history, this becomes very important to the ultimate effectiveness of what we are trying to accomplish visually. In addition, creatively, we are on the same wavelength. We communicate with each other often and he offers suggestions, modifications and new ideas, and the end result is based on a full partnership between us. Not only is he an excellent illustrator, he is a cutting edge, dynamic, bold graphic story-teller. And he is as crazed about every detail as I am!