As the spinoffs of Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure continues, we get to see more and more of the Big City and Daryl Gregory has been especially focused on fleshing out the world these characters live in. Byron Brewer talked to the writer of Legenderry: Green Hornet about the series and how artist Brent Peeples may not talk to him once its all done.
BYRON BREWER: As the Green Hornet's steampunk adventure continues, Daryl, is there a special challenge in writing a hero, even here in the realm of Legenderry, that IS a hero but wraps himself in a cloak of villainy?
DARYL GREGORY: It may be a challenge to Green Hornet and Kato, but it's not a challenge for me, it's a gift– my whole story depends on it! One reason the Hornet is drawn into the gang war is that everyone else thinks he's a contender. And once he takes out a couple of gangs, they're sure that he's trying to be king of the hill, and hilarity and violence ensue. But on a practical level it's a huge problem for them to be seen by everyone as the bad guys. Yes, you get invited to all the Bad Guy parties, but they don't trust you and are going to try to kill you anyway… and now the cops hate you too.
BB: What can you tell us about the Clockwork Cathedral?
DG: One of the mandates of the series is to flesh out Big City. I wondered what a steampunk cult would look like, and how it would fit into the "gang economy." Most importantly, who would run it? One of the great things about Bill's universe is the use of public domain characters, so I decided to put Tik-Tok of Oz in charge of the church. He's the most steampunk of the Oz characters, even more so than Tin Man, and I couldn't resist making him into a wind-up teapot brimming with evil. Plus, Tik-Tok would have to have a bunch of steampunk-flavored henchmen, right? And henchwomen? And maybe a couple of henchthings?
BB: What exactly is the Hornet's "take" on the Big City gang war? He has been known to use such upheavals for his own means.
DG: At first he's just trying to figure out why the gang leaders are suddenly at each others' throats. Once he becomes a target, he becomes highly motivated to find out who's behind it all. But you're exactly right — this kind of upheaval is useful, and he's starting to wonder, Why didn't I think of this? The whole criminal underworld is tearing itself apart — which is fine as long as no innocents are caught in the crossfire. And we all know how often we get a crossfire-free war.
BB: Like the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the relationship between the Hornet and Kato is very interesting. Tell us how you perceive same here in the Legenderry realm.
DG: Well, that's the key to the whole series. These two guys, riding around in their cool vehicles, kicking ass. But why do they do it? What keeps them together? If this were a more serious comic, we might get into some serious issues about class, race, male bonding. But this is Legenderry Green Hornet. There is no hugging, no learning. The Hornet is a guy having a blast, and I think Kato is charmed by him.
BB: What is it like working with Brent Peeples? Is he bringing the steampunk to GH?
DG: Poor Brent. I keep throwing the most ridiculous characters and set pieces at him. But he's fabulous at both design and action, and I think people are going to love the finished pages. Brent may never talk to me again, but people will love his pages.
BB: As these Legenderry minis play out, are we looking at a giant crossover at the end of the #5s?
DG: That would be awesome. But Legenderry actually started as a crossover. After Bill Willingham's kickoff series, I think the commandment is to go forth and tell lots of stories. I'm sure Bill is at home cooking up ideas for how to bring every back together for the next stage in the war against BlackMass, Ming the Merciless, and the others in the council of bad guys.
For more on Legenderry: Green Hornet #2, click here.