Beginner's Guide to the Green Hornet

Posted by No_name_here (1223 posts) - - Show Bio
Step back! They're coming atchya!    

After what feels like more than a solid, straight decade of development, THE GREEN HORNET movie debuts today and I figure the occasion’s appropriate from me to give you Comic Vine maniacs a primer on this classic masked man. Like Conan and the Shadow, the Green Hornet is what I like to call an unofficial comics character - - a superhero who debuted in another medium but has nevertheless appeared in enough sequential art to warrant inclusion here. Actually, since his radio debut in 1936 (predating Superman by about two years!) he’s starred in pretty much every conceivable medium you can tell crime fighting stories in, from movie serials to pulp magazines to one highly-memorable TV show.  

So why don’t you throw on your favorite lime-colored jacket and hop into the passenger’s seat of the Black Beauty so we can go for a short little drive around the Green Hornet's block? == TEASER ==                     
 
 Look at 'em. Gangsters with unorthodox fashion choices.

THE BASICS  

The character’s most unique quality amongst crime-fighters is that he’s a hero who actually pretends to be a criminal, letting the resultant bad reputation get mobsters thinking he’s one of them so he can gain access to their criminal underworld. As you’d expect, that puts him at odds with the police and probably makes him one of the earliest costumed anti-heroes of the modern fictional era. As for all the usual super hero criteria? Green Hornet has no powers, but he packs a high-tech arsenal that include tranquilizer dartguns and a supped-up, tricked-out and weaponized car, the Black Beauty (a sort-of stylish Batmobile.) A number of sons and nephews have been Green Hornets in the comics over the years, but the classic one is Britt Reid, a wealthy newspaper owner whose day-job, I suppose, is somewhat between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent's. 


 Kato's a gamer, and his is the game of death.

KATO, HIS TRUSTY VALET  

The Green Hornet might be one of the only heroes whose fame is arguably eclipsed by his sidekick's. Reid’s valet Kato, a martial arts and automotive expert, was immortalized by the legendary Bruce Lee on the 60s TV show (which was more-or-less a response to the campy BATMAN show with Adam West.) THE GREEN HORNET was even retitled THE KATO SHOW in Hong Kong! Initially described as a Japanese, he was alternately retconed into a Filipino, Korean or simply an Oriental on the radio show and movie serials after the onset of World War II. Interestingly, later comics reconciled all those nationalities as cover stories Reid concocted to keep Kato from getting sent to an internment camp. 


Notice any similarities?    

WHAT ABOUT THE LONE RANGER?  

The first bit of trivia that inevitability comes up about the Green Hornet is that Britt Reid is actually the grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger (both characters being creations of George W. Trendle and Fran Striker.) At it would happen, both of these masked viglitantes have classical music themes (“Flight of the Bumblee” for Green Hornet and “William Tell Overture” for the Lone Ranger) and both have decidedly non-WASPy partners-in-justice (Tonto and Kato.) Because the characters’ rights are owned sepearately, their familial connection has rarely been acknowledge beyond some sly nods. For example, a recent issue of Dynamite’s LONE RANGER comic showed the Ranger's nephew Dan (Reid’s grandfather) thwarting a villain by riling a hornet’s nest on him (an act that gave him ideas for a legacy, obviously.) 


CURRENT COMICS  

Dynamite’s running several GREEN HORNET titles, now. Some are based off of the script for Kevin Smith’s earlier, unrealized movie version, with the original crime-fighting duo handing their mantles off to their children (one of which happens to be a female Kato.) Others star the classic characters, with Kato even having his own title.

So there - - you’ve just gotten through Green Hornet 101. Now you can take this new flick in with some savy and understanding your fellow movie-goers will most surely lack! 

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

#1 Posted by batman_is_god (1185 posts) - - Show Bio

As if this Green Hornet movie does not openly mock this character. GH is a total loser in this movie, and anyone who has seen a trailer will say the same.
#2 Posted by THEgreenARROW13 (12 posts) - - Show Bio
@batman_is_god:
dude that movie will be cooler than mr. freeze a.k.a(arnold schwartzenager from that batman and robin the movie)
#3 Posted by batman_is_god (1185 posts) - - Show Bio
@THEgreenARROW13:
While a bad effort, at least Schumacher tried to make it cool. This movie just mocks Green Hornet, similiarly to how the Starsky & Hutch movie mocked that show.
#4 Edited by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio

I am going to agree with batman is god,. at first I wanted to give this movie the benefit of the doubt hearing all the talk that they are going to be taking it serious. Yet when I saw the first trailer I knew right away this movie was going to have more jokes and lame one liners then any real fighting. Its a shame that such a great character is being used like this. I can only hope this spurns a second, not a sequel but a reboot by someone who wants to right the wrong that is this movie and give the Green Hornet and Kato their appropriate respect.
 
PS: Seth Rogan should have his face smashed in and his Jewfro set on fire for this movie.

#5 Posted by ImperiousRix (1069 posts) - - Show Bio

I might actually end up checking out the movie this weekend.  Don't have high expectations, but if it manages to be somewhat entertaining, I'll be satisfied.

#6 Posted by dondasch (926 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article Tom.  Glad I won't be interrupting its vision by going to see the movie with Seth "Epic Fail" Rogen.

#7 Posted by skaarason (683 posts) - - Show Bio

from what ive heard they should of went with kevin smiths idea !

#8 Posted by moffattbooks (139 posts) - - Show Bio

sorry but after using Bruce Lee, somehow I don't see how you can top that, pass

#9 Posted by aouric (188 posts) - - Show Bio

As soon as people heard Seth was taking this role of GH the anticipation for this movie got dropped like a hot patato. I remember quite a few comments here on ComicVine and other 
comic book movie related sites that expressed a big disappointment.
 
Seth is a great actor well known for his comedy roles, and yes it will be hard to take him serious
in a role like Green Hornet, but remember this,  Robin Williams?(Insomnia, One Hour Photo) He turned out to be a great actor in some serious roles and no one ever thought he could pull it off. 
 
I'll give Seth a chance but he has only one chance in a role like this because it could mean disaster for anything else outside of the comedy realm for him. Good luck Seth!

#10 Posted by Aetheldod (51 posts) - - Show Bio

I fondly remember when The Green Hornet would appear in Batman and they would duke it out , obviously Robin was never a match against Kato

#11 Posted by Grim (2079 posts) - - Show Bio

movies great.
#12 Posted by Kamen Rider Kajiki (1388 posts) - - Show Bio

So he pre-dated Superman, Seriously not something to be surprised about. G-man already even made article discussion that :P lol
 
I loved the few older works I managed to pick up, and because of that I refuse to watch the movie.

#13 Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme (315 posts) - - Show Bio
@batman_is_god said:
" @THEgreenARROW13: While a bad effort, at least Schumacher tried to make it cool. This movie just mocks Green Hornet, similiarly to how the Starsky & Hutch movie mocked that show. "
@batman_is_god said:
" As if this Green Hornet movie does not openly mock this character. GH is a total loser in this movie, and anyone who has seen a trailer will say the same. "
#14 Edited by Fantasgasmic (1071 posts) - - Show Bio

Technically, the Green Hornet theme (on TV at least) wasn't a straight version of Flight of the Bumblebee that most people are familiar with. I believe it was called "Green Bee" by Al Hirt and was used in Kill Bill part 1 when Uma is flying into Japan before she fights those guys with the Kato masks. 
 
Another thing I never got was this. Green Hornet and Kato appeared on a crossover episode of the Batman tv show. But in one episode of the Green Hornet (it was my day off and Sci Fi had a marathon)  some thug is watching a tv with the very familar Batman fight music coming from it, and his boss yells at him "you gonna get to work or just sit around watching Batman?"

#15 Posted by longbowhunter (6712 posts) - - Show Bio

I havent seen the movie yet and I'm not expecting it to be great. But I'm loving Green Hornet and Green Hornet: Year One over at Dynamite. I'm a sucker for pulp characters.
#16 Posted by GothamBat (644 posts) - - Show Bio

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm not too thrilled about it. Though I do love the comics that are coming out.

#17 Posted by NightFang (9852 posts) - - Show Bio

Hopefully the movie well be enjoyable and give old heroes, like the Shadow and the Phantom another chance at the big screen.

#18 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1221 posts) - - Show Bio
#19 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@batman_is_god said:
" As if this Green Hornet movie does not openly mock this character. GH is a total loser in this movie, and anyone who has seen a trailer will say the same. "
That was my assumption too. I've never read any GH stuff, but I'm assuming he's not an incompetent twit; which is how he appears in the film. I would be extremely annoyed if I was a fan of his character.
#20 Posted by Bruce Vain (1869 posts) - - Show Bio

This Green Hornet makes the Son of the Mask movie look good. So being a huge fan of the Green Hornet and Van Williams being my first celeb I've met and being a hardcore Bruce Lee fan. I'll be avoiding this like the plague just like I've avoided watching Catwoman. I like Seth Rogen but I'm sorry that's not the Green Hornet, and the guy playing Kato isn't even a martial artist . He's just singer in his native country. It should've been George Clooney and Jet Li. You know it's one thing if Seth did it like Keaton did with Batman. All serious and hardcore. I might've given the movie a chance. Like how he was a badass in Observe and Report , but he's just being his goofy self. Only thing I'm loving is how great the Black Beauty looks.
#21 Posted by ecm1285 (92 posts) - - Show Bio

I just got back from seeing it and I still don't really know what to think of it. 
I freaked out when I saw the Lone Ranger posters in the background of Britt's room, none of my friends understood...

#22 Posted by jakob187 (998 posts) - - Show Bio

Man, bummer.  I was thinking I'd click this and find a link to my recently worked-on Green Hornet page for the current Dynamite run. 
 
Nonetheless, it's a good write-up for beginners.  A bit more about how closely related the new Green Hornet is to the style of the current Dynamite run would've been cool (as Britt Reid in the movie and Britt Reid in the comics are essentially the same character in many ways).  However, beggars can't be choosers.

#23 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio
@aouric: Except those movies Robin Williams took serious and if I am sure you've seen the trailer for this movie and it totally looks like Seth isn't even trying to be serious.
#24 Posted by batman_is_god (1185 posts) - - Show Bio
@Bruce Vain said:
"This Green Hornet makes the Son of the Mask movie look good. So being a huge fan of the Green Hornet and Van Williams being my first celeb I've met and being a hardcore Bruce Lee fan. I'll be avoiding this like the plague just like I've avoided watching Catwoman. I like Seth Rogen but I'm sorry that's not the Green Hornet, and the guy playing Kato isn't even a martial artist . He's just singer in his native country. It should've been George Clooney and Jet Li. You know it's one thing if Seth did it like Keaton did with Batman. All serious and hardcore. I might've given the movie a chance. Like how he was a badass in Observe and Report , but he's just being his goofy self. Only thing I'm loving is how great the Black Beauty looks. "


Cast of the gods. Clooney is a little old though, the main guy from Mad Men would be a better call for Britt.
#25 Posted by DTheory777 (40 posts) - - Show Bio

So when does Hollywood ever come close to what a real comic should be, 

#26 Posted by Bruce Vain (1869 posts) - - Show Bio
@batman_is_god:
You know what Jon Hamm would've been good too. 
 
You know Greg Kinnear - who was Captain Amazing in Mystery Men. Looks a little like Van Williams lol
#27 Posted by Trodorne (2572 posts) - - Show Bio

NO! NO! NO! NO! 
Schumacher did not make a good movie out of those batman titles. Bat-nipples on the suits? and really a BAT-CREDIT CARD?  Schumacher's movies sucked period. this green hornet movies i think despite being different from what the character should have been, at least this was pretty good and was not a colored movie with plot holes the size of texas. 
 
 really a bat-credit card? that man should go die.

#28 Posted by dewboy01 (1876 posts) - - Show Bio

crime fighters that does criminal stuff is because we call that "UNDERCOVER!" like  jonah jameson, always blame spiderman for  those heroic things, because he believes those heroic things are just setups, just to get attention, respect, fortune and fame. ( Crime fighters/ Vigilantes) goes disguises just to keep the laws and crime off their tracks. heroes sometimes do bad things but not really just to get respect by syndicates and get a lot of accesses to their operation/  business, and after that, "Busted"!!! The syndicates are done, out the picture, throwed in the slammer, throw away the key, and careful not to try and drop the soap.
#29 Edited by positronic (42 posts) - - Show Bio

 Two errors in this article.  One, The Green Hornet never appeared in pulp magazines.  

Two, the character of young Dan Reid (nephew of the Lone Ranger) who appeared on The Lone Ranger radio program was not Britt Reid's grandfather, but his father!   Although dates were rarely if ever mentioned on the show, the Lone Ranger's adventures were taking place in the period between the end of the Civil War and 1890.  And Britt Reid began his career as the Hornet in 1936, as mentioned, so this was still within the realm of plausibility.

 The Lone Ranger's silver mine was actually the seed from which the fortune and publishing empire of Dan Reid grew -- and after founding the Daily Sentinel he passed the publisher's reins to his son Britt.  One thing that most people won't have heard, however, is that the character of Dan Reid was only added to the Lone Ranger program (which first appeared in 1932) AFTER he had appeared as an adult on the Green Hornet radio program, so the “generational connection” was actually created in hindsight.  Of course, with the end of both radio series this generational connection was never referred to overtly again (due to both characters having been sold off to different owners).  
#30 Edited by churrific (60 posts) - - Show Bio

I knew nothing about Green Hornet except that Bruce Lee was Kato. So colored me surprised to find out that GH is related to the Lone Ranger. Always learning something new on this awesomesauce of a site.

#31 Posted by Jondan (8 posts) - - Show Bio

Jon Hamm would have been good for this, but now that I think about it, I'm struggling to think up a role he wouldn't totally own.

#32 Posted by jakob187 (998 posts) - - Show Bio
@batman_is_god said:
" @Bruce Vain said:
"This Green Hornet makes the Son of the Mask movie look good. So being a huge fan of the Green Hornet and Van Williams being my first celeb I've met and being a hardcore Bruce Lee fan. I'll be avoiding this like the plague just like I've avoided watching Catwoman. I like Seth Rogen but I'm sorry that's not the Green Hornet, and the guy playing Kato isn't even a martial artist . He's just singer in his native country. It should've been George Clooney and Jet Li. You know it's one thing if Seth did it like Keaton did with Batman. All serious and hardcore. I might've given the movie a chance. Like how he was a badass in Observe and Report , but he's just being his goofy self. Only thing I'm loving is how great the Black Beauty looks. "
Cast of the gods. Clooney is a little old though, the main guy from Mad Men would be a better call for Britt. "
Have you both read the recent Dynamite run?  I understand that people will be upset that this isn't the old school Green Hornet, but we can't expect everything to be old school.  Moreover, we also can't expect comic movies...and especially that of pulp characters like GH...to be perfectly in line with the comic book. 
 
@Bruce Vain:  You haven't even seen the movie, and you are saying it's worse than Son of the Mask?  SERIOUSLY?  Again, it's understandable to be a fan of Green Hornet and have qualms with the movie from your distant eagle's eye viewpoint at the moment, but to compare it to a travesty like Son of the Mask...whose fellow company includes Catwoman and Jonah Hex?  I mean, I'm sorry...but the previews look enough like the new comic run for me to be satiated.
#33 Edited by sweatboy (786 posts) - - Show Bio
"  and both have decidedly non-WASPy partners" 
 
oh wow, so it's unusual for anyone non-white to be a hero? thanks! 
 
and 
@batman_is_god
said:
" @Bruce Vain said:

Cast of the gods. Clooney is a little old though, the main guy from Mad Men would be a better call for Britt. "
Batman talking to himslef? HAHAHAHA!
#34 Posted by origene (1 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sorry, who exactly is the Green Hornet? Guess when you're playing with the Big Boys like Iron Man/Spiderman, its not surprise Green Insect dude got lost at the end of a very long list of superhero's. But I guess he can just be happy he even made the list

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