Thursday, May 24, 2012

He Hunts the Biggest of All Game

I’m in man-love with the Green Hornet.

The Green Hornet, if you didn’t know, is Britt Reid, a rich newspaperman that has had it up to here with corruption and crime in his city. Aided by his mechanical genius/sidekick Kato, he takes on the persona of the Green Hornet, a maverick operative in the Underworld, dedicated to bringing it down from within.

...and lookin' smooth while doing it.

Wacky, right? I love it. I always have. When I was a wee lad, I caught an episode of the 1960s Greenway production, the same company that brought Batman to the television screen. I was dumbfounded. I was appalled. I was amazed. I asked my dad who that was, and he just smiled. I mean, this guy had to be the real McCoy, right? He had freakin’ Bruce Lee as his sidekick!

Fast forward about ten years, and NOW! Comics had started their own line of Green Hornet comics, and I devoured them whenever I could... which wasn’t very often at all, unfortunately. In my most important formative years, I lived way deep in south Texas, in a little town (?) called Falcon Heights. The nearest place to buy comic books was in the mall in McAllen, Texas, a drive of seventy miles. And since I had no license, no car and no money, well... it might as well have been a mall on the moon.

Even later, once I had joined the Navy and had a pocket full of jingle-jangle, I didn’t have a lot of time to read comics, but I went to the shops anyway, just to see if they carried back issues of all the stuff I’d missed. More often than not, they didn’t.

It was as if the universe at large was against me, determined to stand between me and the Green Hornet. And much like everything else from that time in my life, it got put aside as my career as a submariner got underway. (See what I did there?)  

In 2001, I got a desk job at a training office in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i, and most of what I did was... bowling. Seriously. I was supposed to be coordinating an apprentice program thing, but since the civilian side of the shipyard was heavily unionized, over half of the things the participants of the program had to do to complete it wasn’t allowed because it was someone else’s specialty. So I bowled a lot.

...not unlike this guy.
I also discovered eBay.

All of a sudden, I could find (and afford) all those things I had to put down earlier, like finding every Destroyer novel, or whatever Grendel merchandise I could... or the Green Hornet comic books. Yesss. So I bought them all up and devoured every last four-color panel. (Or whatever they’re in. Shaddap.) And for a while, I was happy.

Holy crap, ten years went by. 2010 was a good year for the Hornet. There was a new series of comics from Dynamite! as well as a movie in the works. In the intervening decade, I had *ahem* picked up copies of the television show’s entire run, as well as the two movie serials from Universal and all the radio shows I could lay my grubby mitts on.

And then... and then it came home to me. I got an email from my good friend, Matthew Baugh, with whom I share space on four tables of contents, at last count. An outfit he was on good terms with, Moonstone Books, was putting together a prose anthology of Green Hornet stories, and he said he would put in a good word for me. As it was invitation-only, I didn’t get my hopes up, and I think Matthew had mentioned me in an editorial manner, as perhaps someone that would do very fast and well-done line edits.

Imagine my shock and surprise when I get an email that says Moonstone got too many people and they’re putting out another volume, so get your pen ready! Cue dancing for joy.

(I’m not talking about writing or the process, so I’ll skip ahead here.)

At this point, I should thank Joe Gentile, Matthew, CJ Henderson, and the several other authors that signed the hardcover copy I shipped around the country. It made my father proud.

Woohoo! This is the first volume.
And then the movie... I’ve already gone on record as saying that adaptations are always a mixed bag, and one should realize that the book is the book and the movie is the movie, and should never the twain meet, it should be no surprise and get over it, already. So that’s what I did. I put aside my reservations and watched Seth Rogan’s version of The Green Hornet, enjoying it for what it was. For the record, Kato was completely bad-ass.

This year, Moonstone is putting out a third volume, The Green Hornet: Still at Large, of which I am pleased to say I am a part.

My wife, Kitty, understands my incredible fandom, and for one of those holidays where you get gifts, she gave me a replica of the Black Beauty to put on the shelf alongside the other cars of legend, the Batmobile, Ecto-1, and KITT.

I guess I said all that to say this: the Green Hornet, to me, will always represent the best of a hero. The character is brave, uncompromising and full of conviction. He commands loyalty of those around him and earns it. He’s got the right amount of gadgets to get the job done, but not so many that they’re plot devices. (I’m looking at you, Knight Rider.) And he gets the job done, by cunning and wits or two-fisted action (four-fisted, if you count Kato, which you should). If I had to pick a hero to emulate, it would be the Green Hornet. He’s the best of them.

Next week, I want to talk about the grizzly bear, and how you shouldn't let it get away from you. 

-Thom Brannan


  1. I was a huge Green Hornet fan during its first run on commercial TV and distinctly remember pitching a minor tantrum when I found out it would not be on anymore. (I still do this when they cancel shows I like.)

    Then my Dad introduced me to Bruce Lee movies (and the other Kung Fu imports--FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH and so on) and I was happy again, until TV canceled David Carradine, Bruce Lee died, and the world kept turning.

    Then in the 2000s we have 500 cable channels to fill with programming of one sort or another and hey, presto! Everything old is new again.

  2. I am a late to the party fan of the GH!

    I have now seen every episode. :)