Posted by: Graeme McMillan on April 9, 2010
I’m running behind on, oh, almost everything post-WonderCon – I blame the late nights and con-going debauchery (Breakfast with Heidi MacDonald sounds innocent enough, but any breakfast in Mel’s Diner is pretty damn debauched, if only from the “That can’t be good for you” viewpoint) – but I wanted to drop in and say this: Dynamite: Please stop driving me away from your Green Hornet books.
I’m not the first, nor even the fiftieth person to say this, but there’re no reasons whatsoever for there to be five Green Hornet books at the same time (That’s as many Avengers books that Marvel have, and people actually want to read about those characters in large numbers). I’m vaguely convinced that there’s something going on behind the scenes about this decision, because it’s flooding the potential market on such a scale that even Dynamite don’t normally do (Look at their Stargate books, which’re finally being solicited; that franchise, which has a proven market, unlike the Hornet, is getting a slower and apparently smaller roll-out) – Maybe there’s something about the terms of the license that means that Dynamite have to do this many series, or have X number of books released by a certain date?
Something that’s particularly annoying as a reader, though, is that I have no idea how they interrelate. I mean, I know that The Green Hornet and Kato both take place in the same “Kevin Smith” continuity, and that The Green Hornet: Year One and Kato: Origins are, again, paired in terms of continuities (The Green Hornet Strikes series is off on its own, as far as I can tell), but… Are they all part of the same world? Is the Green Hornet whose origins we see in Year One the same character who’s retired in Kevin Smith’s series? Will Smith’s series ultimately lead to the near-future of Strikes? I am reading the books and have no idea.
And the worst part is: The books aren’t that bad. Yes, that sounds like damning with faint praise, but they’re perfectly enjoyable – Smith/Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau’s Hornet is slick enough, if a little rushed (Why should I care about the new Kato at the end of the second issue? Why would I be bothered by someone dying next issue – it’s totally the original, retired Hornet, of course – when I don’t even know who any of these characters are, yet?), and Matt Wagner and Aaron Campbell’s Year One is a solid chunk of pulpy goodness so far – and already overwhelmed by the weight of all the other books. If the line had launched slowly, with either one of these books, then maybe the line would’ve had the chance to build a fanbase, and slowly grow over time to the point where it could support multiple titles. As it is, I can’t help but feel that Dynamite have not only doomed the franchise, but also made themselves look at worst greedy and best naive in pushing out so much product at once. Shame, really.