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The Green Hornet Golden Age Remastered #1

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The Green Hornet Golden Age Remastered #1

Credits

  • Words: Fran Striker
  • Art: Bert Whitman Associates
  • Inks: Bert Whitman Associates
  • Colors: Bert Whitman Associates
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 4, 2010

A lot’s changed in comic books in the last 70 years. The artwork is far more refined, for one thing. Plots and scripts are much more sophisticated and complex, for another. Production values have dramatically improved with the advent of new printing methods and digital technology. Things should be great in the wonderful, wacky world of the funny books, right?

Then why is it we spend so much time complaining about this or that dangling plot thread, which editor we’d like to see strung up like holiday turkey, or how so-and-so is a good-for-nothing swiper? Remember when the most pressing debate in comics was who would win in a fight between the Hulk and the Thing?

As comics have grown as an industry and matured as a medium, so too has our critical analysis of the end product. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily but I for one welcome the opportunity to consider a title free of all the petty politics, market-watching, and insider gossip. Godsakes people, they’re comics! They’re supposed to be fun!

This month, Dynamite Entertainment reminds fans everywhere of what got us all hooked on comics in the first place with The Green Hornet Golden Age Remastered. Weighing in at a whopping forty pages, this first issue reprints the four stories from the Green Hornet #1 produced by Helnit Publishing back in 1940. Featuring tales based on the original stories by Green Hornet creator Fran Striker, each strip recounts a mission in Britt Reid’s ongoing war on crime and corruption in the Big City.

The plots are simple and straightforward; the art pretty basic, though good for the times. What’s really striking about these old Green Hornet tales is the character development. Striker’s touch is very evident in every story, his intimate knowledge of each cast member played out in their easy interactions with one another. These are well-defined, archetypal characters brought to life by the man who knew them best.

The interior art is surprisingly good in places, the visual storytelling clear and easy to follow. It’s easy to say that by today’s standards, the work of Bert Whitman Associates is rudimentary at best but I was struck by the quality of the inking. There’s a weight and texture in the line art absent from a lot of comics today, as more artists trade their brush in for markers – or worse, computer software.

One of my concerns about all of the Green Hornet hype was that Dynamite would focus on the character’s present and future foisting on the public yet another revamped classic. With books like The Green Hornet: Year One and this remastered edition of the original comics, Dynamite should be applauded for paying tribute to the property’s rich history and reminding us why we started reading these colorful collections of words and pictures in the first place.

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