September 9, 2016


The Green Hornet made it's television debut on this day in 1966! The ABC network had struck gold with Batman and they hoped to continue their success with a comic-style property. Just one day after Star Trek aired (on NBC), viewers tuned in to see the adventures of the Green Hornet (played by Van Williams) and his sidekick, Kato (played by the amazing Bruce Lee!). The stories were presented in a straightforward fashion, in contrast to the camp of Batman. Although the Hornet wasn't played for laughs, the show's colorful tone and fun gadgets made it a cult fave among Spy Vibers. And the Hornet and Kato even made a special appearance as anti-heroes in a two-part episode of Batman. But where fans finally got an official Batman release on DVD recently, the Hornet's 26 episodes remain unreleased. The characters originated as a radio drama in January 1936 and went on to great popularity in the comics and cliffhanger serials. Readers might enjoy seeing how the 1960s TV show inspired a manga series in Japan! Continues below.

A number of Mystery/Adventure and Pulp properties were licensed in Japan in the 1960s to be adapted into manga. Saito's pre-Golgo 13 work on James Bond and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is legendary (and remains untranslated), and Kuwata's Batman has had a resurgence due to the loving efforts of designer Chip Kidd (the complete collection was finally released last year). Adventures of The Green Hornet and his Karate-master chauffeur, Kato, were released in Japanese by Toru Yamazaki in 1967 (a contemporary creator named "Toru Yamazaki" published Octopus Girl). Few images of the Hornet manga have surfaced outside of the collector's market, but here are some samples that might spark your interest. The Green Hornet has also appeared in the pages of Harvey, Gold Key, Now, DC, and Dynamite Comics. Kevin Smith, Ralph Garman, and Ty Templeton published a series through DC that continued the Batman/Green Hornet TV crossover from March, 1967. You can read my interview with the creative team here. Related posts: Interview with Green Hornet writer Win Scott EckertSolo by SaitoUNCLE and Batman manga. Learn more about the history of The Green Hornet. Happy weekend, Spy Vibers!

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