The Dynamite Report # 3

Welcome back to The Dynamite Report, a special feature here at CraveOnline that focuses exclusively on Dynamite Entertainment.

Dynamite is one of the largest comic book companies in America, with titles including Red Sonja, Flash Gordon, Vampirella, Army of Darkness, The Twilight Zone, A Game of Thrones, Zorro, The Lone Ranger, Lord of the Jungle, John Carter of Mars, Dejah Thoris and several others.

The company is also well known for its stellar lineup of comic book creators including Gail Simone, Jeff Parker, Nancy Collins, Steve Niles, J. Michael Straczynski, Tim Seeley, Mark Waid, Greg Pak, Marc Andreyko, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Duane Swierczynski, Peter Milligan, Alex Ross, Jae Lee, Gabriel Hardman, Joseph Michael Linsner, Amanda Conner, Francesco Francavilla, Terry Dodson and Emanuela Luppachino.

Joining me for our latest column are Dynamite Senior Editor Joseph Rybandt along with Associate Editors Molly Mahan and Hannah Gorfinkel Elder.

CraveOnline: As a classic comic strip fan, I’m really looking forward to your new King line of comics. In particular, Prince Valiant by Nate Cosby and Ron Salas. Will that comic be told in the classic illustration style of the Prince Valiant strip?

Joseph Rybandt: No, it will be interpreted by Ron in his own way, under the direction of writer/editor Nate Cosby, but owing, of course to the art that inspired so many to love the character of course. I think, as a whole, we’ve proven we can be “modern” and stay respectful to what came before with these classic characters…

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Is the Flash Gordon relaunch a continuation of Jeff Parker and Doc Shaner’s run on the book?

Rybandt: The five “king” mini-series events are a bridge from the work begun in both the King’s Watch series and Flash Gordon, continuing the overall story, but being open to new readers as well.

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Mandrake and The Phantom are also very intriguing to me, especially since Lothar is the new Phantom. But it does beg the question: what happened to the last Phantom?

Rybandt: Not to be coy, but keep reading!

Molly Mahan: Also check out King’s Watch, now available in trade paperback.

I’m less familiar with Jungle Jim, aside from some recent reprints. What made you decide to revive this character?

Rybandt: Including Jim and Valiant alongside Flash, Mandrake and Phantom mark the first time all of these classic characters have shared the same publishing “universe.” So, from a business stand-point, that was a driving factor, and then putting the creative together allowed us to make that shared experience a reality.

One of the biggest news items lately is that Dynamite is bringing James Bond back to comics in a big way. How long have you guys been looking to do James Bond comics?

Rybandt: The business stuff has been in the works a LONG time… these things take a lot longer than people realize. We’re happy it all came together and excited to release Bond comics in 2015.

What’s your favorite Bond movie and why?

Rybandt: That’s tough because I came to each of them at different times, and have a different spot in my nostalgic heart for them. The [Sean] Connery films are classic (I think I prefer Dr. No of all those), but the Moore films are more fun and I have great nostalgia for them due to the age I was when I saw them, on TV… Octopussy was the first one I ever saw in a theater, so for a lot of reasons, even though it’s not the best, it might have the most emotional/nostalgic resonance for me. Moonraker is pretty great on that level as well, being a kid seeing it for the first time. The [Daniel] Craig films are all excellent and really, the only ones I won’t seek out to re-watch are the [Pierce] Brosnan or [Timothy] Dalton ones…

Mahan: It’s certainly hard to pick one, but I think all elements considered, I’d have to go with Goldfinger. Shirley Bassey belting out the theme… it’s Connery’s third film, so he has the character down pat, and as far as Bond girls go, there’s no beating Pussy Galore (though May Day, Vesper, and Xenia rank high marks on my personal list). Plus so many scenes are truly iconic, to the point that the modern Bond movies reference it more than I (think) any of the others. The car in Skyfall, oil-covered Ms. Fields in Quantum of Solace, and I’m sure there’s something from Casino Royale, too, it’s just been so long since I saw that one to point it out off the top of my head.

And who is your favorite Bond?

Rybandt: See above!

Mahan: I am definitely going to be showing my lack of age here, but Daniel Craig. He brings the character’s darkness to the surface, and makes the character more palatable to the a modern film audience (the first Bond I saw in theaters was GoldenEye when I was 8 or 9. The camp worked for me as a kid, but became a bit hard to swallow as an adult).

I feel kind of mean saying that, since they’re all products of their time (great products!), but even Connery had some rough spots (Diamonds are Forever? Not even a Shirley Bassey tune could save that one!). I think he and [Roger] Moore both just played the character too long for it to be interesting to either of them after a while, same with Brosnan, I think, and then Dalton … I don’t think those were necessarily his fault, but a Bond story is much more than just the man. It’s the women, the locations, the villains …

George Lazenby’s highly underrated, but it’s hard to call a man THE BEST BOND! When he only got one shot. I would have liked to have seen another with him in it, for sure, but alas and alack, and so I must return the blond Bond of my generation.

Will the comics be using all of the different Bonds? ’60s era Bond, ’90s Bond, Modern Bond, etc…

Rybandt: The comics will be using the Ian Fleming material as the basis, and we’re sorting out the timeline with creative direction now…

Which Bond villain are you most looking forward to exploring?

Rybandt: Personally, I love the whole idea of exploring SPECTRE…

Mahan: The girls! All of ‘em, not just the villains.

There’s a new Army of Darkness series coming up in December with Cullen Bunn and Larry Watts featuring Ash in space. What brings Ash to outer space in this series? And is that a long term story for AoD or just for the first arc of the new book?

Rybandt: How Ash gets to space is set up in our over-sized 1992.1 special! And we were looking for new and exciting challenges for our resident idiot and this fit the bill nicely.

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Hannah Gorfinkel Elder: Ash comes to outer space in typical Ash-fashion— he does something hilariously stupid. But of course, in the act of doing something stupid, he’s stumbled upon a big insidious plot that only a chainsaw-weilding hero with lots of Deadite-slaying work experience on his resume could take on. It’s classic Ash…in space, which makes it a thousand times better. What’s great about the new story in space is that fans get a peek at where the story is going (and how Ash initially got there), in the 10-page prologue in the one-shot Army of Darkness 1992.1, which is also done by Cullen and Larry. 

Does this Army of Darkness series follow up on anything from Steve Niles’ run?

Rybandt: it’s a continuation…

Elder: The story picks up directly where Niles left off— no rest for the wicked! Ash catapults himself right from the end to a brand new start, which is detailed nicely in the Army of Darkness 1992.1 one-shot.

Another December comic book is a new adaptation of Shaft. What was it about David Walker’s Shaft pitch that sold you on his take? Will the comic book Shaft differ from his cinematic counterpart or stay fairly close to the source material?

Rybandt: The books fueled the movie, and we’re fueled by the books, dig? Walker just sold himself to us, he was part of our discussion before we had the license and his take was pitch –perfect… he’s a force of nature and we’re happy to have him.

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Finally, the Django Zorro crossover is just around the corner. Do you have any interior pages that you can share with us?

Mahan: Alright, twist my arm …

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Can you share any stories the collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and Matt Wagner on the story?

Rybandt: They spent a lot of time together at the start, face-to-face getting the thing beat into shape. Now, we spend a lot of time on email, back and forth giving little notes here and there, but Matt’s the one who had the face-to-face and I think their mutual admiration and respect came across when we all did our panel at Comic-Con this past summer…

Mahan: I’ve been going through a personal renaissance on Zorro since we started getting the book together, and Matt’s been really helpful. I grew up watching the Disney TV show with Guy Williams, and Matt dove right in to correct that error sending me TONS of suggestions, from Tyrone Power (my mother’s favorite! Dad’s more of a George Hamilton fellow) to Douglas Fairbanks (the original!) in film to oodles of books and comics that I have to catch up on. It’s fantastic.

What’s next for Zorro after the crossover?

Rybandt: Nothing set in stone, yet…

That’s all for this installment of The Dynamite Report here at CraveOnline! But if you want to send us questions for the next Dynamite Report, you can tweet your questions to @BlairMarnell or @CraveOnline!