Amy Chu writes a Writer’s Commentary on Green Hornet #5, the final issue, on sale now from Dynamite.
Hola, everyone! I’m back home, fresh as a daisy from that intimate comics focused gathering known as San Diego Comic-Con….
HA! I’m sure it was, once upon a time, but now it’s an absolute beast. This is my eighth convention, and my third year tabling in the Artist Alley. I started this writer’s commentary at the convention but lamely just couldn’t finish it. Yes, I am able to get some writing done at the table, even at San Diego. It gives me some talking points for those curious enough to wander by my table, and an extra bonus for those die hard Green Hornet fans who want to see what’s going on in the art and the script.
This is the fifth and last issue of this mini. I had a few goals in writing this series: 1) Give Mulan some agency as a character, 2) Get the series back to a more classic pulp/noir tone, and 3) Get everyone out of Century City for once for some more global adventure. If you have been following along, you know I was experimenting with a different style of storytelling by switching narrators every issue. It was very tempting to keep Kato as narrator, but this method gives me a chance to play with the different voices. I started with existing characters from Kevin Smith’s run — first Kato, then his daughter Mulan, Britt Jr., and cousin Clutch, so now it’s Tai’s turn. She is our intrepid Daily Sentinel reporter, the first new character to take on this role.
Here we go!
In the last issue we got Clutch’s back story while wandering the street markets of Hong Kong. Here I wanted to start off with Tai’s back story and her ascent in the Daily Sentinel. A lot of writers wrestle with plot, plot, plot, but if you can’t connect with a character, all that plotting is useless. And it’s been a full month since the past issue (this is comics, not Netflix…) so I need a little bit of recap for you guys.
Cut to now — Green Hornet’s nemesis the Oko has our heroes captured and in Hong Kong TV studio LIVE. Naturally it’s the Oko who asks the question on all of our minds, how could two criminals operate for decades without being caught?!
One of the things that makes it so difficult to write the Green Hornet is scenes like this- a fake hero about to reveal the true identities of fake criminals. It can make one’s head spin!
The Oko is my first stab at a new contemporary villain. Good villains are hard to create, way more challenging than an a hero. My artist collaborator German Erramouspe came up with the character design, as well as Tai’s, with a small amount of input from me. By the way, don’t assume it’s the writer or the artist who came up with this or that in a story. Unless you see the actual script and notes between everyone involved, you won’t know…
Tai to the rescue! Nothing is completely altruistic, of course.
And finally, the Scooby Doo moment, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the Oko gets unmasked. Are you surprised? I hope so!
I know what you’re thinking… but #notallrichdudes…
What is a good villain without a good villainous origin story? And let’s throw in a little commentary on the power of the media to tie in the old Green Hornet with the new. So we have come full circle — what made Green Hornet a criminal in the eyes of the public also made the Oko a hero.
A reckoning moment for Tai as a reporter. (True story, like Tai, in high school I thought I was going to be a journalist. I even attended the Medill School “cherub” program at Northwestern University and it was there I learned writing under deadline. I believe they actually timed us. It was great training, but super stressful… but hey, I can use these skills for comics!)
And our favorite street gang is back! In retrospect I should have come up with a name for them, like the Crazy 88s. That would have been fun! German wanted to throw some fire into the whole scene so I was all for that. I think it definitely adds to the visual tension.
If you are wondering who comes up with the SFX, personally I think it’s a writer’s job, but a letterer sometimes has preferences or even better ideas so I try to keep it open ended. If you read manga you know that it can also change from country to country so I don’t get too caught up with it….
Anyway, back to the fight at hand. German really outdid himself with this scene. Let’s throw in some water to really make it complicated!
If you’ve ever watched a Jackie Chan or any good martial arts movie, the props are important. I had to think hard about this, but then of course… a boom mic! (Don’t try this at home, kids!)
Pow, right in the kisser! That’s for Clutch!
I had to rewrite this page a few times, as it is a kind of awkward transition getting everyone from Hong Kong back to Century City. Anyone who’s flown it knows it’s a freaking LONG trip. But hey, social media is good for something, after all!
And Britt’s back! Both in the story and in the series. (Yes, I meant this to have a double meaning.)
And now we have Britt fully shaved, back to his natural blond hair color. Hurrah!
The essential cemetery scene. This is the only time I asked German if he would change a panel. Mulan originally had her head on Britt’s chest — nothing wrong with that, but I thought it was too easy given their tumultuous relationship. If I were Mulan, I’d still be pissed at Britt. Ardent Green Hornet followers were asking about what happened to Mulan’s pregnancy several years ago. I was going to address that here but then it got too complicated. Oh, and here’s a little reveal here. Like I’ve said, I find it really hard to kill a character….
And one more reveal. Look, I like happy endings especially at the end of an arc. Axford gets what he always wanted, and so does Tai.
And that’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed it. I certainly did. I believe I’m the first woman to write an entire Green Hornet series (not the first woman to write the character — Diane Piron co-wrote two issues of the NOW series back in 1990) so no pressure at all, haha. Thanks to Nick Barrucci and Anthony Marques for giving me this opportunity. Artist German Erramouspe and colorist Brittany Pezzillo and letterer Tom Napolitano really brought their A-game to this series.
On the Oni Press panel in San Diego, I joked to James Lucas Jones that I was the anti-Alan Moore of writing. The truth is I get to work with such a great and professional team I don’t want to dictate every little detail. Part of the fun and wonder in creating comics is the collaboration between all of us (until of course we hit the deadline and the editor, colorist and letterer are swearing under their breaths…)
If you enjoyed this story, please check out my other Dynamite title — Dejah Thoris: Princess of Mars and Red Sonja. Also Summit with the wonderful Lion Forge crew. And by all means pester Dynamite Entertainment for more Green Hornet!