Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, writers of Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini # 3, talk with Justin Gray about The Lone Ranger: Vindicated #3, both on sale January 14th. Cover art by Mark Laming, interior pages by Rey Villegas.
Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery: First off, I enjoyed this issue and enjoyed the conflict within the Lone Ranger (loyalty to Tonto and developing feelings for Fiona). What was your inspiration for Fiona's character? Why do you think she's a good fit for the Ranger? Why isn't she?
Justin Gray: Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was thinking about a different angle to take with the Lone Ranger, something we haven't seen much of and that angle was his relationship to women. He has this very specific moral code that romanticizes the American West and yet outside of Tonto and his horse Silver there's little to challenge him emotionally. Fiona is the kind of progressive and aggressive feminine force that rejects stereotypes in a lot of ways. It is hard to say if she is a good fit or not. The relationship has several more dynamics to go through in the story.
A&C: The Lone Ranger character was created with a very strict moral code. Do you find it difficult to work within this, when so many of today's heroes are "anti-heroes" or flawed characters? How far is too far for the Ranger?
JG: Truthfully I found it refreshing and liberating in the context of the story and the character. Having written numerous western anti-hero stories that were often dark and brutal, it was an interesting challenge to set aside any habits I developed in that mode of thinking. This stood out as a more romanticized picture of the west. There are still dark elements and western tropes, but Lone Ranger is a very sympathetic character.
A&C: How is your interpretation of the Lone Ranger different from any others before you? Do you place an importance in setting it apart from the others?
JG: I did want to distance myself from the previous works published by Dynamite only out of respect for the creators that were there before me. Their work stands on its own and is quite enjoyable for different reasons. I felt it was important to come at it from a different perspective at least in the sense of giving readers a chance to see Ranger in a different light.
A&C: What is your favorite part of writing Westerns? Your least favorite part?
JG: I love the genre for dozens of reasons, some of which are probably deep-rooted in my experiences having driven across the country numerous times and living in the South West. I also appreciate the sense of rugged individualism that era romanticizes, the films and how westerns have evolved over the last 70 plus years. My least favorite part is not enough people read them.
A&C: I don't want to reveal too much for those that haven't read the issue yet, but the Lone Ranger makes a pretty big confession to Fiona in this issue. It's a great contrast to the action here as well. What do you find easier to write – action scenes or emotional/romantic ones?
JG: I think they both hold an allure for different reasons and strangely they are written much the same way where I might have an action sequence in mind, like the idea of using a water tower to avoid a bloody gunfight, and build it from there. With a romantic exchange, I like to pick a topic and use contrasting points of view to address it.
For more on The Lone Ranger: Vindicated #3, click here.