A Writer’s Commentary: Michael Uslan talks Lone Ranger/Green Hornet #1, on sale this week from Dynamite. Cover is by John Cassaday.
I definitely wanted to open this saga with the dual traditional openings from the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet radio shows. Putting them side-by-side shows just how parallel these two characters were and crystallizes the obvious intention of creator/writer Fran Striker.
Many years ago, I tried to convince the movie studios to get behind me on a “Lone Ranger/Green Hornet” feature film that would tell the family saga. I wrote a short treatment for the film I was proposing, and these pages represent what would have been the opening of that movie that never was. (Note: Since Clayton Moore had died, my intention at that time was to try to convince former President Ronald Reagan to play the Lone Ranger in his 80s.)
If this was to be a true family saga, it was important that I establish the connection between the generation of the Lone Ranger with the generation of his nephew, Dan Reid, Jr. Dan is the essential bridge between the Lone Ranger in the Green Hornet/John Reid and Britt Reid. Also, I used these pages to make sure that this story would fall in line with the events as reported in Dynamite’s previous series, “The Green Hornet: Year One”. In fact, the top of Page 10 is a direct quote from that arc. I also wanted to make sure I put in a reference to that legendary portrait that hung in the office of Dan Reid, Jr., and later Britt Reid. For years in various media, it had been referenced without the legal right to come out with it and specify that it was a portrait of the Lone Ranger. I’m the lucky writer who finally gets to identify this portrait properly and legally for all time.
The link is forged from John Reid to Britt Reid. Although Dan Reid, Jr. is now “the missing link,” his presence will be felt throughout the rest of this story. He is the invisible “glue” in this family.
I felt an important and pressing need to show the Lone Ranger in his prime. If in this story we only see the Lone Ranger at age 88, it takes away from who he was, what he symbolized, and how he lived by his Code. It also serves to cement the importance of the role of Dan Reid, Jr. in this saga.
As a student of history, a lover of history, and a writer of alternative history, here’s where I get to jump in with both feet! How could I write a story of Chicago in the 1930s without an appearance by Eliot Ness? I was a huge fan as a kid of “The Untouchables” television series starring Robert Stack. My historical research turned up the infamous Torso Murders of 1938 and that would be the true event that would link Cleveland to Chicago, and Ness to the Green Hornet and the Lone Ranger. My favorite part was trying a direct parallel between “The Daily Sentinel” and Britt Reid’s challenge to personally become Chicago’s daily sentinel. And finally, I get to spring what I hope will be a big surprise to the readers, that the current greatest threat to America in 1938 is a group called “The Cavendish Gang!” Just when everyone hopefully was anticipating Ness calling on the Green Hornet to fight a new threat, instead he must turn to the old Lone Ranger for help against Cavendish. What fun I’m having!
I definitely see shocking and sad parallels between these events of 1938 and things that are happening today in America. Do you? And yes, regarding that last panel, as Executive Producer of “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” I admit to being influenced by Christian Bale and Morgan Freeman.